Review: Chicken Cock Straight Bourbon 8 Years Old

Listen, I came to Chicken Cock via its 2013 flavored whiskeys, which came packaged in aluminum cans. The brand is an ancient one dating to the 1850s — because otherwise no one is putting “cock” on their labels — but the whiskey being put out today really has no relationship to the old stuff. The original Chicken Cock went out of business in the 1950s.

Nonetheless, Chicken Cock Whiskey is celebrating the 160th anniversary of the brand with this, a limited edition, single barrel, eight year old bourbon (with a real age statement). Did I have high expectations based on those weird flavored whiskeys? I did not. But let’s keep an open mind, OK?

For starters, this is much different stuff. Sourced spirit from MGP, it’s straight bourbon, single barrel mind you, made from a mash of 70% corn, 21% rye and 9% malted barley, “and bottled in a replica of the pre-prohibition original Chicken Cock bottle.”

Damn, this is good stuff! Very good stuff. Sure, it’s 8 year old MGP, with a solid mashbill, so it’s hard to go wrong, but Chicken Cock has — at the very least — cherry-picked some amazing barrels.

The nose is seductive. Mildly woody, a little bit of popcorn, a hint of vanilla-laced toasted marshmallow, and a lacing of herbs… there’s a lot going on but it’s all in perfect harmony. The palate is somehow even better. It starts of quietly, with a standard caramel corn character, before jumping an octave and showcasing a whole new set of flavors. Lots of cinnamon, eucalyptus, and a ton of gingerbread all punch the palate, hard — all muddled up with notes of dried apple, more caramel corn, and a vanilla soda note. The finish sees all of these things melding into a cohesive, almost Christmaslike whole, with a lingering allspice note on the finish.

It’s rare that I find a bourbon hard to put down these days, but this is a killer that fits the description… despite the price tag.

90 proof. Reviewed: Barrel #5.

A / $100 / chickencockwhiskey.com

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