3x Hooghoudt Genevers

I think it was last year that Hooghoudt revamped their entire line of products. An entire series was made available with all kinds of cask maturations and a widely varying age range. Of this range, I got to try three of the new products, courtesy of Drinks and Gifts in my hometown.

Hooghoudt is a Dutch genever distiller that has been around for 140 years, based in the city of Groningen. It still is family run and the distillery has set its eyes on international markets, and has spread to America since 2021. Taking notes from the whisky industry, sherry matured versions and bourbon casks are used now, and even a peated product is available.

Hooghoudt Sweet Spiced Genever, 30%

Sweet indeed, with sugary notes and baking spices. Cinnamon, vanilla. Sweet notes of candied lemon and orange. Grains too.

Oh my, it’s almost a jawbreaker. Lots of spices, a bit warm (not hot), with loads of sugary sweetness. Pithy orange, lemon.

The finish is very much the same as the palate. It’s insanely sweet.

I guess this is very much oriented at liqueur drinkers. From that perspective, it’s pretty decent. From a whisky drinker’s view, it’s just sweet and flavored. I feel the genever base hardly matters.

Hooghoudt Oloroso Cask Aged Genever, 40%

The sherry is noticeable, but the grainy genever is the core. Lots of wood, lots of grain spirit. Leafy herbs, a bit of dried fruits.

The palate is a bit more sweet than I expected. Dry oak, dried powdered spices, clove, cinnamon. Grains, oak shavings. Lemon pith and a nutty bitterness.

Again, lots of oak shavings with a sweet, fruity note. A long finish, with more and more leafy herbs.

Quite a tasty thing, this. A lovely combination of cask and spirit.

Available at Drinks & Gifts for € 30

Hooghoudt 6 years old, Oloroso Cask Aged Genever, 40%

Very similar to the NAS version, but slightly more wood forward. Still quite spirity and in that spiritiness, rather different from whisky. A different approach to grains, and the juniper and spices make the distillate stand out more.

The palate is very gentle and arrives with lots of soft woody notes and dried fruit. It’s dry after a few seconds with more spices and wood. Dry grains too.

The finish is a bit more spirity than the palate. Somehow it seems the flavors don’t really cooperate here.

It’s really fun to compare a couple of months in oak to 6 years in oak. The difference is definitely noticeable. Strangely, though, the integration between spirit and cask doesn’t really seem to hold here. Not sure what that is, but it’s weird.

Available at Drinks & Gifts for € 37.50

As you might have noticed, there aren’t any ratings given. That’s because I don’t have much to compare it to. Especially the Sweet Spiced version is very far out of my comfort zone and I wouldn’t feel able to rate it. I know I’m not in the demography that the product is targeted at, but it was fun to give it a go!

The other two, if I would have to rate them, I would set at 83 and 80 points respectively. The non-age statement feels a bit better in my book.

Fun to try, and it certainly makes me interested in trying a couple more genevers. Let’s see if that’s going to happen anytime soon…


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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