Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey celebrates the celebration of celebrities. Named after a Beverly Hills estate famous for being a place where “celebrities can be themselves”. It’s a place that few people will ever see and possibly the only home those ridiculous “Star Maps” will ever get right. Pompous pretense? Sure. Ridiculous rhetoric? Absolutely. A good whiskey? We’ll see.
As most folks who read this blog know I don’t give two toots about story, I just want to know what I’m drinking. When I read that Diageo was billing Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey as a “product with the heritage of the Hollywood of the 1920s and 1930s… and the glamour it represents” I performed an eye roll that would have impressed even the most dispassionate of today’s youth. So let’s do that, let’s just talk about the whiskey and throw the story out the window.
Per the marketing materials, Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey is “crafted from exceptional American whiskeys from three distinct decades as aged bourbon, rye, and Tennessee whiskeys combine for a rich and flavorful spirit.” Knowing which brands Diageo has easy access to made it simple to figure out what might be in the bottle.
Tennessee obviously means George Dickel, there’s no way they reached out of the portfolio to grab some Jack Daniels. For Diageo rye means Bulleit Rye which is MGP 95/5 rye. The one conundrum I had until tasting it was who did they source the bourbon from. They could have used Orphan Barrel stocks, but it’s hard to believe they’d do that an not make a huge fuss – so that leaves Bulleit Bourbon. Which I believe is currently being sourced from Jim Beam and is really just Old Grand-Dad.
This bourbon question leads me to the part of Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey I’m having the hardest time reconciling. Diageo says the whiskies in here are from “three distinct decades”. Old MGP rye basically doesn’t exist any more so I’m thinking that represents the 2010s, but if anyone did have old MGP sitting around it’d be Diageo. Dickel No. 12 is made from 8-10 year old whiskey so I’m thinking that represents the 2000s. So does that mean theBourbon (Old Grand-Dad / Bulleit) is from the 90s making it at least 17 year old OGD?
Alternatively they could indeed have pillaged something from their Orphan Barrel Stocks. That or they have some MGP rye the 90s. Though that’s hard to believe since the price on old rye right now is crazy. Which leads me back to thinking the bourbon has to be the 90s. I don’t know the answer, but it’s definitely the aspect of the Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey I’m the most intrigued to know more about.
Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey Info
Distiller: George Dickel, Jim Beam and MGP (my guesses)
Blender & Bottler: T.H.L. Whisky Co. (Diageo)
Mashbill: Rye Whiskey (MGP) + Tennessee Whiskey (George Dickel) + Bourbon (Jim Beam) <- My guesses
Cask: New Charred Oak
Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey Review
Caramel, vanilla, dilly spice, lemony citrus, cherries, dry olde time candy and nuts with light notes of honied graham, banana and an herbal nature. The overall aroma reminds me a bit of George Dickel with a dash of dilly MGP rye whiskey.
Caramel, vanilla, oak, dilly spice, dark fruit, orange peels, peanuts and a bit of yeast get sprinkled with light notes of Twizzlers, olde time candy and an herbal nature. It’s a perfectly pleasant sipper. The peanuts has me thinking it really is Bulleit / OGD… but at 17 years?
Long fade of waxy licorice, oak, spice, banana and olde time candy.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, medium body and a watery texture.
Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey is actually quite good. I wanted to hate on it and as many of you know I have no problem ragging on releases that deserve it, but this one is actually done quite well and priced well. I just wish they had given it some balls and had at least bottled it at 46% and non-chill filtered. Seriously, you give this thing a bit more of kick and it would be a fantastic blend of American Whiskies.
This blend of Tennessee Whiskey (George Dickel), Rye (MGP) and Bourbon (either OGD or an Orphan) is well executed and pleasing. It has a decent complexity to it across the senses and I’ve enjoyed every minute of drinking through this sample. In all seriousness, that watery texture is the only reason I’m not jumping out of my seat about the Hilhaven Lodge American Whiskey. We all know celebrities are known to get a little wild and I feel like a whiskey that’s meant to celebrate celebrities should be a little wild too.
SCORE: 86/100 (B)
*Disclosure: This sample of Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 87
- Palate - 86
- Finish - 86
- Balance, Body & Feel - 85
Hilhaven Lodge American Whiskey is pretty damn good.