There is a lot to say about Hilhaven Lodge.It has a long and extremely glamorous history as one of Hollywood’s most famous houses.
Situated in Beverley Hills, it was originally built in 1927 and was a sort of hideaway for the city’s rich and famous when they got tired of the spotlight.
It became known as a kind of playground for these types and has become legendary.
The simple yet glamorous bottle, with a kind of 1920s art deco, geometric quality to it, captures the house well.
Today Hilhaven is owned by Brett Ratner, whose name may not be recognisable at first, but when you hear that he has produced such hits as The Revenant, Horrible Bosses and Prison Break, it becomes clear just how big he is in the film and TV business.
Now, alongside drinks giant Diageo, he is turning his hand to Whiskey production, and he’s doing a damn fine job of it.
The first release from Hilhaven Lodge, simply named Hilhaven Lodge, is a blend of America’s greatest creations, Bourbon, Rye and Tennesse Whiskey.
These are all from different eras as well, with the Bourbon originating in the 2000s, the Tennessee in the 1990s and the Rye in the 1980s.
This expression begins with a nose of candied citrus peels and caramel, mostly stemming from the Bourbon.
The sweet notes combine well with the citrus tang and give it well rounded character from the get go.
The caramel is rich and thick, with a nice depth to it. This is ideal for go with the wooded notes of sweet nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts that also make an appearance.
On the palate these flavours are given depth. The almonds become more marzipan in flavour and are joined by dark cherries to create an amaretto flavour.
There is a white sugar and candy appeal to the body that gives it a nice bite. This goes well with the fruitier flavours, especially as a contrast to the tangier citruses.
The oak of the wood really comes through on the palate and can be sensed in the caramel tones and in the nuts.
The wood is dry and refined, with more subtlety than the other flavours. It also has a nice cinnamon and nutmeg spice to it that warms the palate.
This mixes well with the sugary flavours, especially with the candied orange peel on the nose.
The finish is long and goes down easy, with the caramel and oak wood leaving a lasting impression.
This is a fine dram that is full of character and flavour. Now we just need to watch this space to see if it can be recreated in any further Hilhaven expressions!