Rabbit Hole Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
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.
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.
We would like to thank Rabbit Hole for providing us with a sample for review.