Rabbit Hole Bourbon

Rabbit Hole Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
47.5% ABV

What the Distiller Says
Bourbon is an act of faith. The barrel builds a strong foundation of vanilla and wood. Atop that, we bet on an unorthodox, four-grain mash promising spice and honey and a fresh apple breeze. When we first poked the thief into the darkness of the barrel, our faith was rewarded: a whiskey of remarkable maturity and self-possession, with spice on the front and custard in the finish.

Mash Bill:
70% Corn
10% Malted Wheat
10% Honey Malted Barley
10% Malted Barley

What Gary Says
Nose: Young, corn sweet with sour oak and a hint of cinnamon.
Palate: Sweet entry – caramel, vanilla, corn syrup – with a bit of a spike kick at the end.
Finish: Short and drying.
Comments: I wasn’t familiar with Rabbit Hole when I first tasted it. On my initial nosing, I have to admit I wrote it off as another craft whiskey producer using small barrels – as it smelled young, but more oak influence than you’d expect (a combination I often find as a tell-tale sign that small barrels were used). That isn’t the case – they verified that they are using 53 gallon barrels (although they are done to a lower char than some others, and are wood fired). On the palate, it hits me much better delivering the quintessential “bourbon” highlights of caramel, vanilla and a bit of a kick. While still young, it fares better on the palate than on the nose. When I’m evaluating a new, typically young (craft) bourbon – I ask myself “Do I like this better than Evan Williams Black Label?” (and yes, I talk to myself – the whiskey is strictly medicinal). For almost all new/craft bourbon, I find the answer is “Nope”. Rabbit Hole is definitely a step up, as I’m not quite sure the answer is no (although not a clear “Yes!” either). While better than most new stuff in that regards, I couldn’t justify shelling out the money for this. I do think this has the potential to be really tasty down the road, and will keep an eye out on future releases. But for $50 – I’d be pretty disappointed, and don’t expect offerings with more age to be priced more reasonably. Although I would love to be disappointed on that note in the future!
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says
Nose: There is a general lightness to the nose more reminiscent of grain alcohol than a bourbon.
Palate: It comes forward very aggressively with black pepper, cinnamon, corn pudding, and malted milk balls.
Finish: Hot. More pepper, oak, and general heat.
Comments: The youth of the spirit shows in the aggressiveness of it. However, hot and peppery flavors and finishes are not exclusive to the young. The lack of depth in the nose really shows that this needs more time in the barrel.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Rabbit Hole for providing us with a sample for review.

Glengoyne 21 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 21 Years
43% ABV
$130 to $170

What the Distillery Says
Sultanas and hazelnuts; dried fruits and rich spice

Christmas cake, honey, and rich fruit – with a long cinnamon finish. Matured exclusively in hand-selected sherry casks for 21 years. Perfect after dinner or, frankly, anytime.

What Richard Says
Nose: Baked raisins, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a big meaty dose of sherry.
Palate: Oozing with fruity honey and apple cider centering around a big chunk of oak. Revisiting comes back to a chocolate orange and well worn cedar.
Finish: Hot cinnamon kicks you in the mouth and then settles into a lingering black pepper and oak.
Comments: Sherry bomb? Check! If you don’t have a predilection toward sherry malts then this isn’t going to be some kind of “damn, this is what I’ve been missing” malt moment. It is going to be a damn fine dram and for sherry malt drinkers this is a definite must try.
Rating: Must Try

Glengoyne 18 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 18 Years
43% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Fresh, malty and spicy

Spicy vanilla fruit, ripe apples and a rich, luxurious mouthfeel. This is the result of eighteen long years and a generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks.

What Richard Says
Nose: Heavy sherry forward with lots of under ripe apples, cocoa, citrus rind, and vanilla.
Palate: Creamy butterscotch, baking spices, mounds of sherry, and more citrus.
Finish: The spices and wood linger.
Comments: This is a great example of a classic sherry forward well aged single malt. Are you tired of paying nearly $200 for that bottle of Macallan 18? Then you should definitely give the Glengoyne 18 a try.
Rating: Must Try

Glengoyne 15 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 15 Years
43% ABV

What the Distillery Says
The depth and sweetness of dried fruit
Complex depths and bright tropical notes – with a spicy oak finish. Hints of candied lemon and pineapple reveal the influence of first-fill bourbon casks, balanced by the rich intensity of our signature sherry wood.

What Richard Says
Nose: Rich, meaty, and sherry forward.
Palate: Stewed dark fruits and raisins with a deep nutty framework.
Finish: A nice balance of peppery heat and solid oak with a lingering sherry backbone. When all else fades a sprinkling of cocoa powder remains.
Comments: Of many “double wood” single malts blending sherry and bourbon wood that I’ve tried, this Glengoyne stands out with more robust strength and backbone than similar whiskies. The nose and palate are very enjoyable but the lingering finish keeps me coming back.
Rating: Stands Out

Glengoyne 10 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 10 Years
40% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Smooth, fruity and incredibly moreish. Fresh green apples, toffee and a hint of nuttiness. This is the taste of distilling slower than anyone else in Scotland, of barley we dry by air – never peat – and of hand-selected sherry casks crafted from European and American oak.

What Richard Says
Nose: Malty and crisp with notes of fresh apples, leather, and malted barely.
Palate: Green apple sweetness.
Finish: Short and clean with a hint of nutmeg.
Comments: The 10 year old is by no means an exemplary bottle of Glengoyne but it is a very enjoyable malt none the less. It offers a very good sub-$50 alternative when you go to the liquor store seeking Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, or Glenmorangie.
Rating: Stand Out