Review: Rabbit Hole Distillery PX Finished Bourbon and Rye Finished Gin (2019)
We first reviewed Rabbit Hole Distillery (then known as Rabbit Hole Distilling) back in 2017 before their distillery in Louisville had even opened. At that time, we sampled their inaugural bourbon and rye offerings but missed two other spirits that followed not long after: a bourbon finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels and a London dry gin finished in rye whiskey barrels. Both are part of the distillery’s Fingerprint Edition series which is intended to showcase different barrel finishes. We finally tracked those two down to round out our take on the entire Rabbit Hole portfolio. Thoughts follow.
Rabbit Hole PX Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon – This is a six-year-old bourbon, and like the other two Rabbit Hole whiskeys we’ve already reviewed, it’s contract distilled. Unlike the unique four grain recipe used in their standard bourbon, this one is a more common wheated mashbill (18% wheat) that spends on average 6 months finishing in 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. On the nose, I get hints of caramel sauce, vanilla, and a slight popcorn note, all of which struggle against burlier notes of leather and barn wood. The wine finish contributes fig and black raisin, as well as earthy tree nuts and a sweetness that helps to temper some of the dryer oak notes. The palate is surprisingly light, especially for a whiskey finished in PX casks. Like the nose, things are slightly out of balance with initial butterscotch, vanilla, and caramel corn succumbing early on to big, saccharine notes of cinnamon stick, cherry candies, and dark berry pie filling. The wood arrives, a little musty, at the conclusion of it all on a somewhat drying, medium-length finish. 93 proof. B / $80 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Rabbit Hole Rye Barrel Finished London Dry Gin (2019) – Rabbit Hole’s only non-whiskey offering is a gin that’s finished for an unspecified amount of time in used rye whiskey barrels from an unspecified Kentucky distillery, and to my knowledge it’s one of the few, if only, barrel-finished gins on the market that uses rye instead of bourbon in that equation. Initially, it’s whiskey heavy on the nose with more caramel, vanilla, and baking spice than juniper or other botanicals, but with air time, black pepper, lemon, and pine are coaxed from the glass. It’s sweet and syrupy on the palate with a sizable body for a gin. The fruit and spice notes from the rye barrel really complement the herbal and citrus components in the base spirit, and the finish is lengthy with caramel and a mix of bright spice cabinet notes. I’m not exactly sure how to best use this one in a cocktail, but it’s definitely a fun gin, especially for the whiskey lover who needs something to sip during the hotter summer months. 89 proof. A- / $33