A K&L Exclusive Bourbon Cask from the Cult-Collectible Estate Hillrock – American Whiskey News

A Rare, Single Cask Exclusive from a Cult Distiller
Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($139.99)
“Almost no craft producers have achieved such an innovative and well-polished product.”
— David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

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We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, Hillrock Estate is making some of the very best bottlings in the world of craft spirits. Full stop. The pinnacle of Dave Pickerell’s illustrious career, this project is his crowning achievement and serves as a memory of his remarkable and prodigious talents. Crafted using the solera method, this bourbon blends several different whiskeys at different ages in a network of casks, not unlike a fine oloroso sherry. The resulting spirit is nothing short of sublime. Calling this single barrel exclusive complex doesn’t do it justice, as it unfolds with a mind-boggling array of scents and flavors. Not a single expense was spared in the crafting of this singular spirit, and it shows. Its unique style, coupled with the mellowing influence of the sherry casks that finish this spirit, results in a whiskey that’s all but impossible to resist. We count ourselves lucky to have exclusive access to such a remarkable cask. Based on the quality of the whiskey and the estate’s pedigree, we’d expect this to sell for twice the price, making it one of the top buys in craft bourbon. This would make an excellent addition to your own collection or as a gift to the whiskey enthusiast in your life. As with previous releases, we expect our allocation to disappear quickly, so make sure you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) ($139.99)

The Hillrock Estate is an historic farm in the Hudson Valley. The Victorian house that sits at the apex of the site overlooks the gorgeous Berkshire mountains in the distance and fields of grain that once produced more than half of the nation’s barley and rye stocks. In the 1800s, the Hudson Valley was home to over 1,000 farm distillers who converted their crops to spirit form when the selling season was over. Jeff Baker, who owns the estate and established its successful sustainable beef operation, tapped the illustrious Dave Pickerell to build a world-class distillery on the exceptional property. Their dream of producing a truly estate-made whiskey was made possible by the ingenious incorporation of a solera aging system. This successive aging process allows for the estate to gradually move from sourced spirit to their own distilled stocks while continually improving quality and average age of the product. The complex system begins with 4 year old straight bourbon sourced from high-quality established distillers before seeing time in American oak, Port, Madeira, and Cognac barrels. The final stage of the process is a long finishing step in very old sherry casks which offer an incredible mellowing effect. By the time the whiskey has reached this step the average weighted age is close to ten years and it will include much older whiskies in the blend. We’ve loved the Hillrock from the start, but jumped at the chance to offer their excellent product at full strength.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 05, 2020

There are few American whiskies that transcend the category’s gruff persona. Sure, there are expensive whiskies being made at craft and industrial distilleries alike, but only a tiny handful capture that nuanced space that could be considered “luxury.” The Hillrock Estate achieves that feeling without even trying. They’ve put so much time, money, energy and thoughtfulness into these products — the inherent quality seeps from the glass with almost perfect restraint. Dave Pickerell (RIP) had a field day making Hillrock. I’d never seen him more proud or excited about one of his products than when he talked about Hillrock. But nothing about the story explicitly implies that it’s a luxury product. After all the “Estate” is actually a farm, but the quality derives directly from a commitment to produce the absolute best regardless of cost. That is true luxury. Almost no craft producers have achieved such an innovative and well-polished product, so when we had the chance to buy this little cask we knew we wanted to pick a good one.

Illya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 14, 2019

Our friends at Hillrock pull off a very cool way of making a cask strength bourbon. They use the solera method which is traditionally done in Spain and Portugal. Basically, one transfers a liquid from barrel to barrel, older vintages into younger vintages, etc, the oldest mixtures being in the barrel right “on the ground.” In this case, you wind up with a great mixture of 4 year old to 13 year old wonderful whiskeys blended together. A whiff from the glass expresses a mixture of earth, vanilla bean, and cinnamon. There’s a nice touch of heat with a complex blend of wood spice, sweet corn, and caramel. The finish is long and smooth with notes of butterscotch and brown sugar. If you are looking for an adventurous and fun gift for the bourbon drinker in your life…look no further!

Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 11, 2019

A wave of sticky nectars and brown sugar rushes from the glass, betraying the decadence therein. Looking past that, however, one finds subtler aromas akin to fine Armagnac, and perhaps a whiff of flor as though from serious aged sherry. Stewed peaches, cherry compote and crème brûlée achieve an effortless harmony without feeling too heavy. A youthful undercurrent of sweet corn and fresh grass does remind you that this is, in fact, bourbon, but one could easily mistake this for fine brandy. Be sure to pick up this one-of-a-kind bottle before they’re gone.

Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 11, 2019

What a standout! This is one of the most polished cask strength bourbons I have tasted in some time. The aromas of spice cake and dried fruits abound with an underlying subtle grain note. The average aggregated age of 13 years gives this a distinct creaminess on the palate and subdues all of the heat from the high proof. This is a superb single cask that could reach cult status down the road.

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