Nose: Quite bright and chipper. A strong pop of crème brûlée that’s nicely mingled with notes of almond, and even slight hints of bubble gum. I would have liked the aromas to be a bit stronger mainly because of my enjoyment factor here. If you’re partial to crème brûlée, this nose is going to be hard to dislike since it plays such a prominent part of the flavor.
Palate: Minor notes of crème brûlée and almond from the nose continue into the palate, which are reinforced by slightly stronger notes of butterscotch and oak. The nose and palate work well blending complementary flavors together. Much like the nose, I would have liked a deeper, more prevalent breadth of flavors. As a result this whiskey is somewhat curbed by its thin palate. However, there is a chance that a stronger array of flavors might overpower the notable influence the nose contributes to this whiskey’s palate.
Finish: Medium length with the slightest of burns. Minor oak notes swell then mellow, which complements this whiskey’s palate well. No hint of youth on the finish despite containing 2 and 4 year old whiskeys. Faint hints of leather, toffee, and dried fruit on the backend, but not enough to make a lasting impact. There’s also a faint hint of custard on the tail end of the finish, but I wonder if it’s a lingering aroma influencing my tastebuds.
Uniqueness: Crème brûlée is not unheard of as an element of a whiskey’s flavor profile. I just can’t think of any other whiskey that has it at such the forefront. It may turn some people off, but that could be said of any dominant flavor in a whiskey. In this case, I find it a refreshing departure and was certainly surprised by it. It is notable that this whiskey smells unlike any whiskey I’ve had before, and for many the custard aromas will probably be hard to dislike.
Value: Before learning the price of this whiskey, I figured being a sourced whiskey from a company not widely known for their own brands, it would most likely command a higher-than-expected price. Few companies selling sourced whiskey are able to sell it at competitive prices against the big Kentucky distilleries. Priced at $30, Old Hickory Whiskey Black Label is within the realm of acceptability and in some ways can be applauded for its competitive pricing. It certainly has some stiff competition, both in comparative pricing and overall quality from the big distilleries’ brands, but at least it has a fair chance at this price.
Overall: By far this whiskey’s standout trait is that it’s an incredibly easy drinker. The proof is a contributing factor, but it’s also the whiskey’s sweet custard-like nose, followed by a light palate and tame oak notes that steer it in this direction. It may not be for a whiskey connoisseur looking for a deep and developed palate, but more so for the connoisseur’s friends and family. At an affordable price, containing easy-to-like flavors and a low proofpoint, this whiskey can be perfect for certain occasions. Knowing those occasions and your audience will be key to getting the most out of this whiskey.
To sum it up: An easy drinker thanks to an array of sweet and agreeable flavors and a competitive price.
-Eric - Reviewed: 1/2016
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