HULING STATION BLEND
small batch blend of bourbon and wheat whiskey
MASH BILL – 50% bourbon (52% corn, 44% rye, 4% malted barley) and 50% wheat whiskey (83% wheat, 12% corn, 5% malted barley)
PROOF – 100
AGE – NAS (4+ years)
DISTILLERY – Old Dominick
PRICE – $50 (includes shipping)
WORTH BUYING? – If you’ve already tried and enjoyed other Old Dominick offerings, absolutely. Otherwise I’d suggest starting with their standard bourbon release or a store-pick thereof.
My introduction to Old Dominick was their standard Huling Station Bourbon release, which impressed me with its dominant mint medley. It had a kind of “medicinal” quality that was not at all a pejorative. More like a restorative.
I followed that bottle up with a single barrel variation selected by Seelbach’s, which amped up the sweeter caramel aspects, achieving an incredible balance with the drier, herbal notes. That bottle went fast!
So this is my third outing with Old Dominick. This blend of their high-rye bourbon and wheat whiskey really should have been fourth in line, after the wheat whiskey itself. That would have been the more orderly and scientific approach.
But here we are. Tasted in a traditional Glencairn, about two weeks after uncorking and three pours into the bottle, here are some notes in brief.
COLOR – russet orange with lemon-yellow at the edges
NOSE – cinnamon and dried mint leaf up front, fine ground black pepper, anise, rye herbs and florals, light caramel in the background, a faint whiff of something meaty like a nicely charred steak
TASTE – all those herbal, floral and spice notes front to back, with freshly cracked oak
FINISH – a nice tingly warmth, the herbal and oak notes lingering…
OVERALL – the drier herbal aspects are emphasized today, rather than the sweeter fruit and caramel notes at uncorking, suggesting this bottle might be a journey back and forth between those extremes
At uncorking, out of the gate this blend was soft and easy and interesting. It was herbal, yes, but also fruity and with a more prominent caramel layer under it. It was like an old candy store and an old bakery wrapped up in one.
Today it’s much drier and less complex overall. As I continue to sip it while writing out these notes, I do become increasingly aware of various nuances to the herbal and spice notes emerging. So the complexity of these drier notes is expanding with time. But the sweeter fruit and candy notes are still not emerging with nearly the same prominence as at uncorking.
I’m feeling very aware of the disadvantage I’m at with regard to the components of this blend. Having had two outings with the high-rye bourbon, but not yet tasted the wheat whiskey on its own, my sense memory can pick out what is familiar to me from the bourbon and I can’t know with certainty what the wheat whiskey’s impact is.
Tasted blind, I might have guessed I was sipping the bourbon. The emphasis on drier herbaceous notes is very reminiscent of the standard Huling Station Bourbon release. In this case, however, the impact for me is less “restorative,” to use that word again, less wholistic than the standard bourbon release. I miss the sweeter aspects—which themselves came across even stronger in the Seelbach’s bourbon single barrel.
I’ll be very curious to experience how this bottle continues to air out. It’s pleasant. I definitely need to be in a drier mood for it—again, based on this tasting. I’m a bit surprised by the change since uncorking. I’m also keen to pick up a bottle of the Old Dominick Wheat Whiskey so I can better understand its contribution to this blend. My guess is that it’s added the emphasis on the softer, dry notes. That’s only a guess.
So my journey with Old Dominick continues. I like what they’re doing. I appreciate how they are shaking up expectations of what a “Tennessee whiskey” can be. Under master distiller Alex Castle’s leadership, Old Dominick has established itself as a key contributer to the national craft spirits community, offering whiskeys that strike a great balance between respecting history and looking forward. From their bottle and label to the mash bills to the tasting experience, my three outings with Old Dominick have all had one foot in familiarity and the other in surprise.