Review: Forbidden Bourbon

Forbidden bourbon bottle on its side.

Forbidden bourbon is the bold and elegant next chapter in the storied career of Kentucky’s first titled female Master Distiller since prohibition, Marianne Eaves. Eaves, who has previously served as Master Taster for Brown-Forman, Master Blender for Sweetens Cove, as well as the inaugural Master Distiller at Castle & Key, enters her new role unfettered by the dictates of others. “Total creativity involves a certain degree of rebellion. To be completely creative, I tend to do things that are a little bit forbidden,” Eaves said in a press release, “while creating Forbidden, I have had the freedom to cross deep into uncharted territory by using nontraditional ingredients and techniques. The resulting bourbon, on my palate, is perfection.”

Those nontraditional ingredients include white corn and white winter wheat, and as for the unconventional technique Forbidden is produced using fermentation at a low temperature. That process typically involves a longer fermentation time, and though the length isn’t specified here what one can expect from low temperature and a longer fermentation time is the development of more flavors during that period. Let’s give it a taste, shall we?

Initial aromas are light and pleasant with notes of wheat toast, ripe tayberries, and chocolate covered almonds leading the charge. After spending a bit more time in the glass, the nose evolves to include cinnamon bark and sassafras along with a faint bit of hazelnut, nutmeg, and creamy custard making for an inviting and balanced bouquet.

Once the liquid passes the lips and hits the palate, chocolate covered almond notes arrive in spades. Soon to follow are other nosing callbacks such as sassafras, along with cinnamon cookie batter and nutmeg which all sashay on the tip of the tongue with only the nutmeg holding steady through the finish. A bit of chewing exposes the more grain-forward flavors indicating a bit of youth – Forbidden carries no age statement but is said to be aged for 5 years – and intriguingly there’s a note of grilled nopales with gentle spice that lingers on the unexpectedly lengthy finish.

All told, Forbidden bourbon is emblematic of Marianne Eaves’ deft blending touch making for an exceedingly enjoyable and perfectly proofed whiskey. Distilled, aged, and bottled at Bardstown Bourbon Company, those who are anxious to give this one a go can expect the allocated release to initially hit four states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina, with limited availability online as well.

95.2 proof.

A- / $130 /

Forbidden Bourbon




Frank Dobbins is a writer for Drinkhacker.


  1. Black Bourbon Maverick on July 26, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    That signature creamy custard note from Frank definitely means this a banger!!

  2. Dorita on July 26, 2023 at 7:20 pm

    Sounds like a winner, hope I’ll get to try it

  3. Mike Wade on September 8, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    This was a great Bourbon. I shared with 5 other Bourbon drinkers and all were impressed. Read one review that called it hot on the front end. Not the bottle we shared. The finish just got better. Really enjoyed it.

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