Review: Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon

Review: Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon

Kentucky Peerless has released its share of specialty finishes and single barrels over the years, but the Louisville-based distillery hasn’t added a new recipe to the portfolio since its first small batch bourbon debuted in the summer of 2019. Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon is, as the name implies, a higher rye version of their standard straight bourbon. How much higher, you ask? Well, Peerless has never disclosed their exact recipes, but it reportedly contains more than twice as much rye as the original grainbill. Other than that, this bourbon has been made in the same way as every other Peerless whiskey, distilled in-house using their unique sweet mash technique and bottled at barrel proof without chill-filtration. Let’s give it a go, shall we?

The aroma is more expressive than the standard bourbon with an initial fruity bouquet of black cherry and dark raisin. Thick notes of overcooked caramel and well-baked brownies add a toasty depth that builds as things open. Eventually, the fruit blossoms into high tones of fresh orange slice and cocktail cherry with that dark caramel and chocolaty barrel char dimension binding it all together. The palate is, at first approach, peppery and dry with seasoned oak, baking chocolate, and new leather; a departure from the syrupy, apple pie profile of the standard offering. A layer of subtle toffee sweetness and orange peel undergirds the experience with lively top notes of spicy clove and cinnamon sugar, all steeped in strong black tea. The finish is a long, warming crescendo of spice and fruit with lingering notes of Demerara syrup and birch beer. A very different bourbon from its other Peerless sibling, and a memorable one at that. Available, for now, only at the gift shop in downtown Louisville and shipping to select states (including Alaska!).

110.5 proof.

A- / $135 /

Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.