Maker: R.S. Lipman, Nashville, Tennesee, USA
Distiller: MGPI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA
Style: Blended bourbon (100% whiskey but not a blend of straights)
Age: 2 y/o (89% 4 y/o, 11% 2 y/o)
Proof: 80 (40% ABV)
Note: I received complementary bottles of this and the straight bourbon from Double Diamond Marketing & Communications. Also, coloring and flavoring additives are used in this blended bourbon.
Appearance: Shiny auburn.
Nose: Mild. Alcohol, roasted corn, caramel.
Palate: Sweet and mild with some heat on the back end. Vanilla, caramel, pinch of cocoa.
Finish: Vanilla extract.
Mixed: Did poorly in cocktails with citrus mixers, like a whiskey sour or a Holdfast. Did very well in just about everything else. Perfect eggnog bourbon. Also makes an excellent Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and boulevardier. Gets a little lost with soda but did fine on the rocks.
Parting words: There aren’t a lot of blended bourbons on the market and the ones that are aren’t very good. One of the reasons for that is that they use Grain Neutral Spirits (GNS, basically vodka) to fill out the non-bourbon portion of the blend. The makers of Old Hickory blended use another type of whiskey instead of GNS. I’m guessing it’s a young corn or wheat whiskey, but they don’t say. OH blended does use flavoring and coloring additives as noted above, but this is perfectly legal and expected for any type of blend. While straight bourbon doesn’t use additives, many styles of whiskey do. Coloring is very common in Scotch and flavoring additives are allowed in Canadian whisky, of course. The vanilla extract flavor is overbearing in the finish when drinking neat, but complements most mixers.
I think more small producers should be making blended bourbons or ryes or other types. Low or no GNS blends might be a good way to give the consumer true-to-type whiskey flavor at a lower price than an NDP or micro-distilled straight might go for. Unfortunately, Old Hickory blended isn’t at a lower price than a straight of similar quality. Selling this at $30 seems to defeat the whole purpose of offering a blended bourbon. Evan Williams, Very Old Barton, and Old Grand Dad are all cheaper than OHBB by $13 or more in this state. At $20 or even $25 Old Hickory Blended Bourbon Whiskey might be recommended but at current MSRP, it is only mildly recommended.