Hooker’s House bourbon is exactly what you would expect – it’s a bourbon that has been distilled, aged, and bottled inside a brothel in Louisville, Kentucky. Please disregard the opening sentence – it is not the truth.
The truth about Hooker’s House bourbon is that it is a bourbon bottled by Prohibition Spirits out of Sonoma, California, and the name is derived from Civil War General Joseph Hooker (but the double entendre works, too). The bourbon in the bottle is a very high rye bourbon (rumored around 45% rye) that has been finished in Pinot Noir casks. From what I have been able to find out, the bourbon is at least 6 years old, and the bourbon was sourced from a now-abandoned start-up distillery. I’ve had some difficulty nailing down the details on this, so if you’ve got the skinny, let me know! For now, Hooker’s House is an unfiltered bourbon coming in at 100 proof (50% abv).
The color of Hooker’s House in the glass is beautiful, more orange than amber. On the nose, there is sweet mandarin orange, white chocolate, vanilla, and rich blackberry jam. There is no way I would ever guess that this is high-rye bourbon. The palate is wonderfully full with big sweet oranges, berries, and cherry vanilla. The finish is long and finally gets around some spices from the rye. There is some sawdust, oak, and cinnamon mixed in with the sweet blood orange. Especially on the palate, there is a definite sense of red wine running through the wine.
Overall, this is a unique bourbon, and it really does not taste a lot like a bourbon to me, but that’s not a bad thing because its pretty damn tasty whatever it is. However, in my opinion, if you like bourbon, you will very much enjoy Hooker’s House bourbon, even though it might not be what you are expecting. There is a deep sweetness to the whiskey, but it resonates somewhere between a bourbon and heavily sherried Scotch, and that’s a flavor profile I can get behind. My grade: B/B+. Price: $35-40/750ml. This is definitely a unique bourbon, but its reasonably priced for its proof, age, and finish, which makes it a worthwhile bottle to put in the cabinet this winter.