The Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville has been distilling long enough to release whiskeys that they have distilled themselves. Before now, their whiskey had been contract-distilled at the New Riff distillery. These whiskeys are based upon the recipe and yeasts that they used in the contract distilling, but even so, I will say that there has been some flavor drift. That is to be expected with a new distillery.
Rabbit Hole does not have a “Master Distiller”. They have a still operator, a person in charge of fermentation and a person in charge of maturation, but the production decisions are a group effort. Castle & Key has followed this example as well, since Marianne Eaves left their distillery and it seems to work well in both cases. Rabbit Hole does have an excellent tour with a bar and kitchen that is a great place to do the tasting at the end of the tour, or just go for a drink on a warm evening and sit outside on their deck and enjoy the view.
Matt and I will be tasting the “Cave Hill” Bourbon, named for Cave Hill Cemetery, a Louisville landmark worth visiting while doing the Bourbon Trail in Louisville. We are also tasting the “Boxergrail” Rye whiskey. We enjoyed them both even though they are still young whiskeys. They are both only three years old. We are looking forward to tasting them as they get older.
Rabbit Hole Cave Hill Bourbon
Age: Three Years Old
- Mike: Caramel and pears with some oak and a hint of hazelnuts.
- Matt: Caramel and chocolate with some raspberry fruit and charred oak smokiness.
- Mike: Caramel and pears with some allspice and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and much of the flavor is washed out leaving a little fruitiness and a hint of oak. Tasted with a pecan and the caramel is enhanced and a little chocolate does come through with lots of oak.
- Matt: Chocolate and caramel bordering on brown sugar with a little allspice and oak. The dried cranberry brings the raspberry forward with a little caramel. The pecan brought out rich chocolate and brown sugar with a hint of raspberry.
- Mike: Long and lingering with oak and spice. The dried cranberry made the finish very dry with lots of oak. The pecan also made the finish long and dry but with lingering notes of caramel.
- Matt: A short finish with hints of oak and spice. The dried cranberry made the finish longer with more oak than spice. The pecan made the finish allspice-forward with a little oak.
I would pair this Bourbon with a My Father “The Judge”, a cigar with rich notes of chocolate fudge in the smoke.
Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Rye
Age: Three Years Old
- Mike: Rye grass and fruit – blackberries and raspberries, with a hint of sweet oak.
- Matt: Rye grass and earthy oak wood.
- Mike: A thin mouth-feel. Rye grass, mint, berries and oak tannins. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the mint becomes stronger. Tasted with a pecan and strong vanilla and pepper notes come out with some oak tannins.
- Matt: Very herbal with rye grass and mint. The dried cranberry brought out notes of cherries and berries with mint, oak and rye grass. The pecan brought out notes of a “Starlight” peppermint candy and some pepper.
- Mike: Medium long with oak and mint. The dried cranberry strengthened the mint and made the finish longer. The pecan made the finish long and dry with oak and white pepper spice.
- Matt: Hot and peppery with a little oak. The dried cranberry brought out notes of cayenne pepper and made the oak more tannic. The pecan made the finish short and mild – it washed out much of the flavor.
I would pair this Rye whiskey with a mild cigar like a Nat Sherman Metropolitan Connecticut wrapper with its mild smoke that hints of vanilla and cedar spice.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller