Pinhook is a relatively new bourbon to the Big Bend area, although they have been producing spirits out of Versailles, Kentucky since 2014. They specialize in very small batch bourbon and rye whiskeys that are released each Fall and named in honor of thoroughbred horses that are bred, raised, and sold through the “pinhooking” process. Pinhook adheres to the spirit of this process in selecting bourbon and rye for their annual releases.
I had the opportunity to try both of these releases in Lexington this past August, and I was really surprised by both of them (in a good way). The bourbon and the rye offer very light and unique flavor profiles that make both of them great conversation, sipping whiskeys. And at only $40/bottle, these will not break the bank. Suffice to say I was thrilled to see them show up in liquor stores in the Big Bend!
This bourbon was distilled at the MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was blended and proofed by Marianne Barnes and Sean Josephs, and aged more than 3 years at Castle and Key Distillery in Millville, KY. The mashbill consists of 75% corn, 20.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley. This bourbon comes in at 93.5 proof (46.75 abv).
Appearance – light amber.
Nose – oak, vanilla, and cereal, with the sweetness of pear and some rye spice. The pear becomes much more pronounced over time.
Palate – the pear continues onto the palate along with light rye spiciness, oak, and leather. There are also remnants of dried fruit, mainly apricot.
Finish – this bourbon has a medium finish, with some rye spiciness remaining, but it fades quickly leaving sweet cereal, more pear, and light vanilla and cinnamon.
Bourbon N Rye
Bourbon N Rye is the 8th release from Pinhook and apparently the first rye produced by the brand. This rye was distilled by the MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and has “over 24 months of barrel age on it.” This rye was blended by Sean Josephs at Castle & Key Distillery in Millville, KY and the mashbill consists of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. This rye comes in at 93.5 proof (46.75 abv).
Appearance – light amber.
Nose – the typical caramel, oak, and rye spice notes are there but it is also loaded with lime zest, apple, and heavy floral notes.
Palate – this rye presents with a very soft and mild spice and notes of light peppercorn. There is a lot of sweetness of dried fruit, heavy floral notes, and notes of orange peel developing.
Finish – there is a medium finish that is very dry, with soft, mild spice and some peppercorn. The sweetness dissipates and you are left with notes of cinnamon, lemon zest, soft spice, and very mild floral notes.
Bourbon Country and Bourbon N Rye are welcomed additions to the Big Bend bourbon market. These whiskeys are unique and flavorful, and priced just right for all whiskey aficionados. If you see these on the shelves, I highly recommend both of them!