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Category Archives: Hooker’s House

Review: Hooker’s House Bourbon

Whew, sorry for the layoff folks. Appreciate your patience with me. Let’s get things started off with a review of a reasonably new small batch product called Hooker’s House Bourbon.

Hooker’s House is bottled by Prohibition Spirits, which is affiliated (owned actually) with HelloCello, a Sonoma, CA based company producing limoncello. Hooker’s is named after Joseph Hooker, a civil war general that was known to help lift soldier morale (shall we say) with the help of some of his finest ladies. The term we use as a slang reference to prostitutes can be credited to Hooker. Hooker’s home now serves as a Sonoma, CA museum of sorts.

But that’s only the name. What about the bourbon in the bottle? First off, this is four year old sourced bourbon whiskey from Kentucky. According to Prohibition Spirits, the whiskey is a mashbill of 54% corn and 46% rye. A search across the internet will prove fruitless in determining the origin distillery of such a grain recipe. According to Sku over at Recent Eats, Prohibition Spirits procured the barrels from a pilot program that never got off the ground. The bourbon was then placed in Pinot Noir barrels for 9 months before bottling. In a year where we’ve seen Port and Cognac barrel-finished bourbon, this is quite unique.

For the record, i’m a big fan of the finishing “craze”. It’s really hard to call it a craze because only a few are doing it, but I think it’s building towards that. I’ve found most of these products, like the 2011 Parker’s Heritage Collection and Angel’s Envy, to be quite good. Let’s see how Hooker’s House fares.

Hooker’s House Bourbon, 50% abv (100 Proof), $36

Color: Medium Amber

Nose: Rich toffee and fig and plum jam overcome much of the rye spice at first. Eventually the bright rye spices emerge (cloves), but the overall impression is soft and rich with a touch of sun dried hay and toasted oak on the back end.

Palate: Much bigger and bolder than the nose indicated with a lovely, coating viscosity. Ripe, sweet cherry syrup, vanilla toffee, chili, spicy cinnamon, clove, and razor sharp rye. This is a very entertaining sip with loads of spice and fruit.

Finish: You actually can make out the winey notes on the finish, but it’s minor. Again fruity with remains of the cherry and spice flavors. Some developing oak as well.

Overall: Hooker’s House is a winner with great fruit and spice balance. The finishing process is well integrated, making something greater than the sum of its parts. In the end that’s what you look for in a well executed finished whiskey. The 100 proof also helps to accentuate the rich fruit and still keep things zippy with spice. I find this a more interesting whiskey than Angel’s Envy, which would have been a good notch better at 95-100 proof. Well done Prohibition Spirits! If you can find this whiskey online, grab it.

Sour Mash Manifesto Ranking: 9.2 (Outstanding/Superb)