What happens when you mix Hollywood with whiskey? Well, you get a one of a kind American whiskey unlike no other of course. By one of a kind, I mean a whiskey that is bringing blends of bourbon from the 2000’s, Tennesee Whiskey from the 1990’s, and a rye whiskey from the 1980’s called The Hilhaven Lodge. Like most whiskey enthusiasts, you’re probably thinking here’s another hyped up marketing ploy to sale an underrated whiskey at a high price. In this case, you’re certainly right about the unique marketing strategy behind the whiskey, but I’ll argue that the taste relative price is reasonable and is not overblown. So let’s get started with the story first and then I’ll share some of the specifics about the whiskey. It actually is interesting to hear.
The whiskey is named after The Hilhaven Lodge, which is nestled deep in Beverly Hills. This home was established in 1927 as the exclusive entertainment escape of an American real estate mogul. The lodge then became the home of numerous celebrities, such as Allan Carr, the producer of Grease. Today, the tradition continues with filmmaker Brett Ratner, director of Rush Hour as the one carrying on the celebration that the home has been known for over the past several decades. Partnered with giant spirits producer Diageo, Ratner has set out to create a whiskey that encapsulates and honors the historical vibe and spirit of the lodge. That’s quite the marketing story right? To add to the marketing, the bottle and labeling is actually really eye catching and elegant. Again, you’re probably thinking, stories and excellent bottle designs are great, but let’s get to what matters most, the actual whiskey itself.
To start, The Hilhaven Lodge is considered an American blended whiskey. As mentioned earlier, this whiskey is comprised of three distinct types of whiskey from three different decades. It consists of bourbon from the 2000’s, Tennessee whiskey from the 1990’s, and a rye whiskey from the 1980’s. In other words, there’s some old juice in this whiskey. The source of the whiskey has not been disclosed, but The Whiskey Jug has some interesting insight as to where some of the sources may come from. One thing I was able to get that I haven’t seen anywhere else was the actual mash bill of the whiskey courtesy of Brett Ratner. It is 26% Rye, 68% corn, 6% Barley Malt. The whiskey is hand-bottled at Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, Kentucky and is at a mild 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).
Now that we have a little knowledge on the whiskey itself, let’s discuss some of the tasting notes. Overall, I found it to taste more in line with the general characteristics of a bourbon, which seems to be consistent with the mash bill now that we know what that is. The nose brought hints of fruit with sweet oak. The taste was rich in candied fruit and caramel notes, with a smooth finish that is somewhat silky and had a subtle sweetness towards the end. Overall, I was pleased with the whiskey itself. At a retail price of $45, the quality of the whiskey in both age and taste is in not grossly out of line. This is not the typical hype story. It’s actually a decent whiskey. In fact, it received a double gold medal from the San Francisco world spirits competition. Though it’s up for you to decide whether this is another story or a quality whiskey, I would have no problem having a friend give this a try relative to the price they’re paying. If anything, I think it may be a quality whiskey that acts as a bridge to bring a new demographic into the world of whiskey lovers.
“I must disclose that I was provided a bottle from Brett Ratner, but all tasting notes and content is objective and my own.”