Review: Rabbit Hole Founder’s Collection Amburana

Review: Rabbit Hole Founder’s Collection Amburana

While it’s predominantly associated with cachaca or barrel-aged beers, a few American distilleries (maybe more than a few) have experimented recently with finishing their whiskeys in Brazilian oak (also called Amburana). None, however, has offered such a luxe rendition as Kentucky’s Rabbit Hole. The distillery’s Founder’s Collection, where this latest offering is housed, is the tip top of the Rabbit Hole line, showcasing their rarest and frequently their most exotic whiskeys with healthy prices to match; some, like this one, healthier than others. For the latest edition to this elite line, Rabbit Hole has blended a sourced 12-year-old bourbon and finished it for an unspecified amount of time in these unusual casks, which are notoriously tricky to work with given the big, intense flavors they impart. Let’s see how it all turned out.

The nose is predictably bold, heavily perfumed with Ceylon cinnamon, bergamot, cedar closet, and sticky vanilla pods. As it opens candied ginger arrives and the aroma warms a little, becoming almost buttery like a Snickerdoodle fresh from the oven and heavy on the baking spice. The palate is sweet and bright and packed full of holiday spices. More floral ginger root, Graham cracker, cardamom pods, and sandalwood give way to warmer notes of rich simple syrup and black tea with lemon. The oak feels like it should be punchier than it is with all those dusty, dark spices, especially at cask strength, but it’s impressively balanced from sip to swallow with a long, warm finish of chai spice and dark caramels. While I’ve yet to explore every amburana-finished bourbon hitting the market, I can confidently say this is my favorite so far. Worth all that cheddar? That’s a debate for another day.

125.4 proof.

A- / $1100 /

Rabbit Hole Founder's Collection Amburana




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.

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