By now almost everyone in the bourbon community is familiar with one of the newest additions to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: the Rabbit Hole Distillery located in the NULU District of Louisville, Kentucky.
This company created the first batch of their signature four-grain distillate in 2014 through a contract distiller, which was then dumped, bottled, and released in November 2016. Since that time, the company opened its new distillery in Louisville and has started producing its own distillate in its signature 48-foot tall copper still. If the company continues their practice of aging this bourbon for 2 years, it is anticipated that their first in-house distilled bourbon will be available in late 2020. Besides the four-grain straight bourbon I am reviewing here, Rabbit Hole also produces three other expressions: a 95% straight rye whiskey; a five year straight bourbon finished in sherry casks; and a Kentucky rye barrel finished gin.
This bourbon comes from a four-grain mashbill consisting of 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% malted barley, and 10% honey malted barley. It is aged for at least 2 years in wood-fired, #3 char white oak barrels and comes in at 95 proof (47.5% abv). This is bottle #15160 from Batch #3, and it retails for $54.99.
Appearance – Golden amber.
Nose – Soft and subtle, but inviting. There is minimal alcohol and the nose is heavy with toasted grain. I also found some anise, soft black pepper, and some citrus blending with light floral notes, particularly lavender. With time, the anise and pepper started to fade leaving a softer nose consisting of more sweet vanilla and spice.
Palate – This bourbon presents with a somewhat dry mouthfeel and it did feel a little thin. There are some sweet corn notes that try to come through, but the palate is filled primarily with toasted grain, dry vanilla, spice, and bitter orange peel, along with some very mild floral notes that transferred from the nose.
Finish – Despite the thin/dry mouthfeel, this bourbon had a longer than expected finish. A fairly sharp spice dominates the finish along with a mild bittersweet taste, reminiscent of rich, golden honey. There was also more of the toasted grain, cinnamon, perhaps some light ginger, mild citrus notes, and the same muted floral notes linger in the background.
Overall – According to the distiller this bourbon was aged for at least two years and once you start drinking it is clear that this is a young bourbon. While the flavor profile is generally pleasant, particularly the citrus and floral notes, the overall taste is not terribly complex and the flavors don’t blend as nicely as I hoped. I would have liked this bourbon to age a little longer to see how the flavors could have developed into a more cohesive pour. I also thought the price tag on this bottle ($54.99) was a little high.
Having said all of that, Rabbit Hole is producing a quality bourbon and is no doubt a welcomed addition to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. This is a young company that is already demonstrating their ingenuity and distilling prowess, so I imagine there will be a lot of good things from this company in the future. If you see a bottle of Rabbit Hole on the shelf, take it home with you and let me know what you think.