In the quest to find this quarter’s American Whiskey Club selection, we just couldn’t help but be intrigued by Hooker's House 12 Year Bourbon from Prohibition Spirits. This anniversary release spent its first nine years resting in American oak, followed by an additional 3+ years in chateau Éclat French oak wine casks, giving it an undeniably unique profile that is easy to enjoy. The finishing of bourbon whiskey in secondary casks is still an uncommon practice in America, but in Scotland the technique has been used for ages. This trend is likely to continue in the U.S. as craft producers look to impart more flavor into their products with less time and age.
Cheers! Joshua Thinnes, Whisk(e)y Evangelist
The Prohibition Spirits story is a quintessential tale of pursuing your passion and realization of the California dream. Led by husband and wife team Fred and Amy Groth, this little operation began in 2008 when the couple took a vacation in Sonoma, CA. Tired of the grind from their day jobs, they always dreamed of starting a business together. Their love for travel, Italy and Limoncello inspired them to follow their dream and setup shop in California. Soon they were releasing their own Limoncello, followed by a local favorite, Fig Cello, only to catch the whiskey bug shortly after. Now they struggle to keep up with the demand on their line of more than 30 different products.
They chose the name Hooker’s House to brand their whiskey line, after the infamous General Joseph Hooker who enjoyed his retirement in Sonoma. According to their site, General Hooker was known to be a ladies man and quite fond of the drink. The story goes that Gen. Hooker began arranging visitations for his soldier friends from a posse of ladies who later became known as the Hooker’s Brigade. You see where this is going… According to that legend, it was this that gave way to the term ‘Hooker’. If you dig a little deeper into U.S. history though you’ll find that Gen. Hooker is more famous for his defeat by Gen. Robert E. Lee in the battle of Chancellorsville.
Though the origin of the bourbon may be unknown, it is likely either Heaven Hill or MGP distillate. It was brought to Sonoma still in barrel before being transferred to Chateau Éclat casks for an additional three years of aging. The French oak which previously held wine imparts a round texture, gentle spice and dried fruit flavors that would be impossible to imbibe without this secondary maturation.
The color pours a beautiful dark chestnut hue. Aromas of dried fruits like raisins, cherries and prunes are prominent. The palate delivers a medium-bodied, balanced spirit with subtle flavors of fruit intertwined with caramel, vanilla, chestnut and cinnamon. Delicious on its own, you’d be hard pressed to mess up a Old Fashioned or Manhattan cocktail when using Hooker’s House ‘General Reserve’.
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