Review – The Hilhaven Lodge Blended American Whiskey

I don’t really know much about American whiskies – which probably means I probably shouldn’t write about them.

Or perhaps it means I should write about them?

Either way, here is a review of some juice from across the pond…

Hilhaven Lodge Blended American Whiskey is named after a private estate in Beverly Hills that was built in the late 1920s and (according to the official information) was “an escape and playground for those who lived in the spotlight and is a living, breathing representation of Hollywood’s heyday.”


The lodge is owned by Hollywood Director Brett Ratner and the whiskey was a joint project with Diageo. Allegations of sexual misconduct against Ratner led to the project being terminated and the whisky discontinued. This was only available within the US market in limited quantities and had a retail price of around $50.

The constituent liquid was produced at Stizel-Weller distillery in Kentucky and is a blend of Bourbon from the 2000’s, a Tennessee Whisky from the 1990’s and a Rye Whisky from the 1980s. Maybe the more educated in American Whiskies will be able to guess what the components may be, I’d assume that all would be from the Diageo stable of US distilleries but I am liable (and quite likely) to be wrong…

The Hillhaven Lodge, (American Whiskey), 40%, sample from a friends collection (discontinued/ unavailable)


The nose is immediately full of herby notes. Dill and thyme are quite prominent which I assume is the rye making its presence known. There is an intense sweetness underneath these elements, saccharin, popcorn and a big dollop of melted butter infused with vanilla pods. There are touches of black pepper and the interplay between the dry, spiced notes amongst the sweeter elements makes for an intriguing and beguiling nose, very pleasant indeed.

After the excitement on the nose the palate is rather mild – pleasant – yet mild. The herb notes still remain but fade to give way to the sweeter elements within, it is incredibly buttery and has a rather pleasant viscosity to it.

What there is of a finish is admittedly somewhat of a cliff edge as it just disappears from underneath you. It is much more of a continuance of the mild palate rather than unearthing anything new.

Spending time with it brings more of the drying rye notes which really integrate well into the dram as a whole.

In summary? Interesting nose worthy of contemplation but underneath it is quite a simple sipper – the palate definitely left me a little disappointed after spending some time picking out the intricacies of the nose

You can find more of my tasting notes in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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