Orphan Barrel Indigo’s Hour


Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Diageo/Orphan Barrel Whiskey Co.

Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed Indiana distillery(ies)

Release Date: April 2024

Proof: 90

Age: 18 Years

Mashbill: 68% Corn, 28% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley

Color: Light Gold

MSRP: $225 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release


Indigo’s Hour is the latest release in the ongoing Orphan Barrel project, which was launched by Diageo in 2013. From the company’s initial press release they stated it was “A new project determined to locate lost and forgotten barrels of whiskey from around the world..

According to the company, “The bottle design pays homage to the spirit's origin story - drawing inspiration from the crops, flora and fauna native to the heartlands of America's whiskey regions. The spirit animal is the Pipevine Swallowtail, the most colorful butterfly to call Indiana home, where this rare whiskey is distilled. Part of the label was inspired by The Witches Tree, a legendary maple tree found in Louisville, KY just a few minutes away from where Indigo's Hour was aged. The landscapes depicted in the background were inspired by the creek that sits amongst the rivers and marshlands in Cascade Hollow, Tullahoma, Tennessee, where Indigo's Hour was bottled.”


Bright and vibrant considering its age, scents of red raspberry, peach, and strawberry are the standouts. The aroma as a whole has a degree of maturity to it thanks to light mustiness in the form of aged oak. Further fruity scents of pear, kiwi, and black cherry come out adding more complexity. Orphan Barrel aromas rarely disappoint, and Indigo Hour’s continues the trend of balancing age and vibrancy.


The palate presents creamy vanilla as its initial flavor before layering in an array of red fruits. The concoction is delicate and very approachable, easily onboarding anyone to what it offers. Honey graham cracker, nougat, and almond provide an agreeable contrast to the bourbon’s fruity side, but once again it's the aged oak that ties it all together.


The whiskey’s age comes out the most on its finish, with an approachable yet potent amount of aged oak mustiness. Given the bourbon’s proof point, it’s never overreaching, but still impossible to ignore. This is welcomed as the bourbon’s age is on full display and its lingering creaminess makes for a soft close to its sip. Additional flavors are on the light side, with only soft strawberry cream, a touch of plum, and a pepper pop blending in with its aged oak. The result is effective, and even elegant, but far from complex.


Distilled in Indiana, aged in Kentucky, bottled in Tennessee. Indigo’s Hour bourbon is well traveled for a whiskey that was “forgotten.” While that marketing spiel may have been partially true with the brand’s original releases, it seems highly unlikely at this point that any of their past few releases were anything but planned. Yet by now, it doesn’t matter so much, as Orphan Barrel releases have managed to stay relevant. What they offer tends to feature a decent degree of uniqueness and quality coupled with a relatively high age statement that makes them worth your attention.

Breaking down Indigo’s Hour’s distilling origin and aging location is what makes it noteworthy. It’s highly unlikely Indigo’s Hour’s bourbon was recently purchased, as it was likely acquired over a decade ago from MGP, and was left to age far longer than MGP bourbon typically ever does. Yes, MGP has high aged stock, but rarely does it ever reach consumer’s hands and in the numbers Indigo’s Hour bottle numbers will likely reach. And while age doesn’t necessarily transform it into a completely different tasting MGP bourbon from what you've had before, adding a high age component to it offers a chance to try an MGP bourbon in a way most have never had before.

Its Kentucky aging location is slightly harder to pin down. There is a good chance this was aged at the Stitzel Weller Distillery given the company’s press release mentions the bourbon was aged minutes from the historic Witches’ Tree in Old Louisville, and past Orphan Barrel releases have been said to have aged there due to Diageo’s ownership. How much value that actually brings to the bourbon is in the eye of the beholder. In the end, it's still Kentucky aged MGP. Indigo’s Hour’s array of red fruits will be instantly familiar, though it doesn’t reinvent what it means to be an MGP bourbon, but the extra age allows you to taste it in a new light.


Indigo’s Hour carries with it a big price tag, especially when you compare it to where the Orphan Barrel brand started out. Each release typically carries with it a double digit age statement which helps justify its ever-increasing, but often reasonable price point. Indigo’s Hour’s crossing the $200 mark for a non-scotch Orphan Barrel release definitely feels bigger this time out. With many big Kentucky distillery limited releases still flirting with the $200 threshold, it does feel like Orphan Barrel is pushing their luck here somewhat - especially when Elijah Craig 18 Year carries a $150 price tag.

There’s also the idea of paying $225 for MGP bourbon, which is plentiful and can struggle to command a high price from consumers who have grown apathetic towards it. But with Indigo’s Hour, it's all about that age statement. High, double-digit aged bourbon from MGP is a rarity. The company hardly ever offers it to non-distilling producers and even Penelope Bourbon, a brand that they purchased in 2023, currently has no announced plans for a release in this age range. This means, to get such a high age statement from MGP, you have to buy barrels and sit on them for a long, long time. And it appears Diageo did just that. Yes, you are paying a premium for 18 year old presumably MGP bourbon, but where else are you going to get it from? Bourbon hitting near the two decade mark are still increasingly rare, but when they do hit, a $225 price tag isn’t as crazy sounding as it at first seems.


Indigo’s Hour’s enjoyable flavor profile and high age goes a long way to justify its big price tag.

It’s a simple fact that there aren’t a lot of high aged bourbons on the market over 15 years old. Love the brand or despise it, Diageo’s Orphan Barrel line is filling a large gap in the high aged whiskey market. Though Orphan Barrel proofs remain annoyingly low and their price continues to creep ever higher, the brand has had a pretty good track record with the overall quality of their releases. The company’s whiskey’s can have an over-filtered quality to them, which results in whiskeys that seem to have their edges worn off, but they remain satisfying pours nevertheless. At the end of the day, Indigo’s Hour is a welcomed offering in the 18 year old whiskey space that for once isn’t Elijah Craig or George Dickel. Being able to sip on an MGP bourbon at 18 years old will be a treat for many and for good reason. Their bourbon consistently hits a good quality mark and to know this bourbon was distilled in 2006 (or earlier), is a fascinating glimpse into MGP’s past.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Eric Hasman

June 7, 2024
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