Review – Rabbit Hole Distilling, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 47.5%

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20161204_195824“Did you buy any yogurt that’s just strawberry?” Madeline asked in frustration at the opened refrigerator door. “All that’s in here are mixed berry and blackberry harvest.”

“The mixed berry has strawberries in it,” I said from across the kitchen. “Eat one of those.”

“But it also has blueberries and bananas and stuff,” she whined. “I only like the strawberry ones.”

“I thought I bought a few of the strawberry ones. Look around in there.”

“No, you didn’t,” she whined again. “There’s a whole bunch of mixed berry and blackberry harvest.”

“Sheesh, Maddy,” I started. “Give a man a break. I was just standing in the dairy section throwing yogurts into the cart. I didn’t see what they were. You should just be glad that none of them are leaking.”

She was visibly disgusted with me.

“Just pick one and eat it,” I said and waved my hand as if brushing her off.

“Can we go back and get some strawberry yogurts?”

“Girlfriend,” I said, “just eat the mixed berry. What are you, a fruit racist?”

“Huh?!”

“What, you don’t like your strawberries mixing with the other fruits, like the blueberries and bananas need to be kept in the back of the fridge?”

“What?!”

“Separate but equal, Maddy,” I said shaking my head and holding to my faux-serious tone. “Separate but equal.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” she said and put her hands on her hips while tipping her head with concern. “And anyway, what’s a ‘racist’?”

“You know what a racist is,” I said. “And it hurts me to see you acting this way with the yogurt. It’s pretty closed-minded.”

“I don’t know what a racist is,” she said firmly, this time giving a bit of a stomp.

And so I explained the term—even shedding a little light on the Civil War. The fact that I had to have this conversation says an awful lot about Madeline. As I’ve shared on so many previous occasions, Maddy is one of the sweetest, most loving young girls I’ve ever met. Her gentleness and humility is astonishing sometimes. Because of this, she makes friends with anyone and everyone. Their particulars matter little. She just wants to be friends and for them to know that she cares.

With that, Maddy is most definitely not a racist, although, after the discussion, she came clean and admitted to being one with her yogurt flavors. For her, God gave an extra bit of excellence to strawberries, and so now they are to be considered unrivaled by all other fruits. Period. Silly girl.

“Does anything come in at a close second?” I asked.

“I guess oranges are pretty cool,” she said.

“Well,” I offered with another faux-serious tone, “that makes me feel better. Since strawberries are often grown in the north and oranges are mostly grown in the south, at least we don’t have to worry about there being a fruit Civil War.”

“Whatever, Daddy,” she said and skipped along her way.

“You forgot your mixed berry yogurt, honey,” I poked. She didn’t respond.

Conversations like this, while sort of weird at first, are good. This is true because they allow for a different avenue—a more comfortable in-road—for discussing a less than comfortable topic. And I suppose that when it comes to a whiskey producer like Rabbit Hole, which at the time of this writing is pretty much a brand new distillery working to break through long-established Bourbon barriers, it fits. Whiskey racism—that is, holding to one as the best while maintaining an unwillingness to consider others—well, this will keep so many from experiencing the depth and character of something new, something that is, perhaps, more than equal and unworthy of being kept separate from the favorites.

20161204_200258Personally, I don’t think it will be difficult for Rabbit Hole to break through. I say this having been somewhat fearful of accepting the sample pack Veronica sent for review. I am brutally honest in my reviews, and I’m also not the biggest fan of Bourbon. My fear was that I’d find myself needing to say some pretty harsh things. And yet, the sample that was sent is one of the better Bourbons I’ve tried, and if they can keep this up, the only thing I can figure is that long-standing titans will eventually find themselves humbled, and household liquor cabinet commonalities will be left to rot in the corner. This is really good stuff.

The nose is an exceptional capturing of red berries—raspberries and strawberries—together and equal, although I thought I sensed in the distance a ripened plum. The nutmeg mentioned in the sample pack’s promo leaflet is definitely there, although it wasn’t overpowering. The fruit reigns supreme here.

The palate and the finish are nearly identical. No need to keep them apart. The red fruits become rich and ripened cherries, moistened with a touch of honey and rolled in oatmeal and pecan powder. This is very nearly a dessert whiskey—something, perhaps, to serve to friends at Christmas.

Although I fear that when Madeline turns 21 and becomes a fellow whiskey imbiber alongside her Dad—and I know she probably will because she loves to smell the different whiskies as well as pour them for me and test my abilities to claim the particular edition and its distillery—Madeline might just right out reject the Rabbit Hole Kentucky Straight Bourbon because of the comingled berry profile I just described.

Well, too bad for her. The little fruit bigot will just have to miss out.