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Hillrock Solera

Nose: Very light and a little medicinal. There isn’t much going on, scent-wise. I get a tiny amount of sweetness and fruitiness, maybe some apricot. Overall, sweet, but on the light side. Palate: This feels and taste very rich. The first sip brings out some cherry and raisin notes. Towards the finish, it has hints of spiciness. Between the two, it has a very nice balance. The mouthfeel is just a tad over medium but nice and soft. The finish is also medium and has a nice easy warmth to it. Not harsh and no burn. It leaves a taste in the back of your throat for a few seconds. It is a nice reminder of the sip that lingers but isn’t overpowering. This guy is somewhat complex and seems to blend a lot of different flavors. It is fun to drink and fun to try to figure out (even if I don’t do a great job of doing so!). I like it. Comments: This is a New York bourbon and probably the only one that I like from that state (although…..some of their whiskey IS sourced…but from where?). It clocks in at 92.6 proof. This has been one of my favorites since I first got it, and I’ve put it in my top 10 for a while. BUT…it is also one that I probably have the most disagreements about. There’s just something about it that appeals to me, but I realize that it might not be the thing for everyone. That said, I don’t think anyone will “hate” it….they just may not agree with how much I like it. The bad news is, this is expensive. Even I think it is TOO expensive. The price has SLOWLY been coming down, but you still pay almost $90 a bottle for it. DEFINITELY a good candidate for a dollar days purchase where you might get it in the $70 range. I’m willing to pay the price, but I get that others may not. So….try it at the Flying Aces the next time you’re there. So…the deal with this Hillrock (be careful, because they make other stuff like rye and single malt) is that it is made through the “solera” process. This involves a pyramid of barrels where a small portion of whiskey is removed periodically from the lowest tier of barrels and an equal amount of new whiskey is added to the top barrels. No barrel is ever emptied and, over time, the older whiskey mingles with the younger whiskies to create what you see here. Hillrock is finished in 20 year old Oloroso Sherry casks. Dave Pickerell (formerly of Makers Mark and currently involved in Whistlepig) is involved in this whole process, so if you like what he’s done at Whistlepig, you might like this. One of the reviews indicated that there is 37% rye in the mash bill. I definitely see that, but it isn’t overwhelming spicy, despite that.

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