This post sponsored by the Glencairn Whisky Glass

Pinhook Bourbon is being contract distilled at the Castle & Key Distillery. Contract distilling allows the brand owner to have control over how the whiskey is made and not to settle for whatever barrels happen to be on the market at the time. The people at Pinhook control the mash bill – in this case it is 75% corn, 15% rye and 10% malted barley. It allows them to send their own person in to oversee the distillation – in this case, Sean Josephs, the Master Blender at Castle & Key. Distillation proof and barrel entry proof are then controlled by the person they chose to oversee the distillation. I suspect a low barrel entry proof as there are lots of sweet notes from the barrel. 

The Pinhook brands are all named for race horses. This expression is named for the horse “Bourbon Heist”, a horse that is 16 hands tall. The whiskey is three years old as are the horses eligible for the Kentucky Derby. Like Derby horses, this brand will get better as it ages. The Pinhook brands have a great future in front of them.

Pinhook Bourbon Heist Bourbon

Proof: 98

Age: Three Years Old


  • Mike: Corn, vanilla, dried apricots, cinnamon spice and sweet, smoky oak wood.
  • Matt: Caramel, smoky oak char and dried apricots.


  • Mike: Corn and vanilla up front with dried apricots and cinnamon spice mid-palate leading into sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the cinnamon spice is enhanced. Tasted with a pecan and the oak becomes more intense.
  • Matt: Caramel, apricots and pumpkin pie spice. The dried cranberry intensified the apricot and pumpkin pie spice flavors. The pecan brought out toasted oak wood and cinnamon and nutmeg spices.


  • Mike: Long and dry with oak wood and a bit of baking spice. The dried cranberry brought out the spices in the finish. The pecan made the finish very much like a slice of cinnamon toast with a hint of sweetness from the oak.
  • Matt: Long with oak and red pepper spice. The cranberry enhanced the red pepper spice and made the finish even longer. The pecan made the oak wood a little more tannic and gave it a dried finish.

I would pair this Bourbon with a NUB Maduro cigar. I think the vanilla and caramel in the smoke would balance some of the spice in the Bourbon.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller