Forever ago, back in 2019, when we reviewed Rabbit Hole’s Heigold Bourbon, we updated you on the distillery’s rebranding earlier that year in which the original bourbon, rye, and PX finished bourbon each received some new duds along with a brand-new name. At a recent sit-down with Rabbit Hole’s founder, Kaveh Zamanian, we tasted through fresh bottlings of the core lineup and discovered that far more than packaging had changed since our initial reviews in 2017. Those earliest products had been contract distilled and bottled at just over two years old. But since opening the doors to their own distillery in downtown Louisville in 2018, Rabbit Hole has been producing in-house and as of this year, everything is being bottled at just under four years old. We thought that warranted a fresh look at the original lineup. Thoughts follow.
Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2022) – As a refresher, this is a four grain, triple malt bourbon made from 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% malted barley, and 10% honey malted barley. Not nearly as restrained and thankfully now missing that menthol character, the aroma here is more fully-formed with bready notes of raw honey and baked apples. The grain still lurks a bit underneath it all with sweet cornflakes, but the richness of the malt and baking spice make it almost irrelevant. The palate still maintains a youthful, rustic edge, but a honeyed texture and some wood-driven spice help to distract from that. Notes of orange marmalade and buttery cinnamon toast reveal a complexity lacking in the older bottlings, while notes of tobacco and dark baking chocolate linger on the finish with a bit more tannic grip, suggesting age has been a friend to this one but could also take it even further. 95 proof. B+ / $46 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Rabbit Hole Dareringer Straight Bourbon Finished in PX Sherry Casks (2022) – When we first encountered this one in 2019, it was a sourced six-year-old product, but the aroma on this younger, house-distilled version somehow shows more rounded maturity with silky caramel notes, marzipan, and sultry dark fruits that intensify as things open in the glass. The palate is considerably richer and better balanced than its predecessor with an initial burst of juicy raisin and dark berries joined eventually by some slivered almonds and dried orange peel. Things remain pretty lush until the finish where all that fruit begins to dry out with lingering notes of cocktail cherry and damp oak. 93 proof. A- / $80 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (2022) – Rabbit Hole’s Kentucky take on the venerable 95/5 rye recipe, this whiskey is perhaps the most unchanged from the earliest lineup. Which is a good thing. A little less brash on the nose, the extra years of aging have clearly given the aroma more wood-driven sweetness with notes of caramel-kissed rye spice, muddled mint, and torched sugar. The palate is perhaps a touch less sweet than the original with more woody spice adding a nice contrast to the sweeter, fruitier notes, banana chips, candy apple, and lemon peel among them. The finish is a touch dry but lingers with spicy gingerbread, tea leaves, and cool wintergreen. 95 proof. A- / $59 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]