Kentucky’s Rabbit Hole Distillery is back with yet another cask strength limited edition from their Founder’s Collection series. For those counting at home, this is the third such release since fall of 2020. This release, named in honor of Kentucky’s horse racing tradition, showcases a unique five-grain recipe that includes chocolate wheat from Germany and chocolate barley from the United Kingdom. Founder and whisky-maker Kaveh Zamanian apparently has a real fascination with grain. Per Mr. Zamanian:
Malting, like whiskey, is part art, part science. Each malting house has standard techniques, along with individual master maltsters who bring their own creativity to the process. I tasted chocolate grains from two malting houses, was impressed by the flavors, and immediately knew I wanted to translate those unique qualities to our whiskey. Of course, there’s always an element of uncertainty but the potential reward is worth the risk. So, we made the whiskey, laid down barrels, and waited to see how it turned out. I have to say four years later, it is a truly unique and simply outstanding expression. I’m especially proud of Raceking because it represents our passion for creativity and innovation, and our commitment to redefining the standard of American whiskey.
Let’s see what American whiskey redefined tastes like!
Well, it’s definitely chocolaty. The aroma is dry and mildly sweet with cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and baking chocolate. There’s a bit of pipe tobacco in the mix and a well-toasted edge of campfire smoke and S’mores. On the palate, the chocolate malts dominate with a punchy grain note that evokes sweet barbecue and evolves across the tongue to something bordering on bitter with dark roasted coffee and pencil shavings. There’s a significant amount of oak here that helps to balance some of the more chocolate-heavy notes, especially into the finish, with a lacing of vanilla fudge and roasted nuts. A bit of dark cherry arrives on the generous finish, which smolders with incense, cinnamon sticks, and, of course, more chocolate. Unique and engaging, to be sure. Probably best enjoyed as an after-dinner bourbon.
B+ / $295 / rabbitholedistillery.com