Rabbit Hole Distillery was founded in 2012 by Kaveh Zamanian and his wife, after 20 years in academia, with a goal of making unique whiskeys and experimenting with unique recipes. He’s collaborated with a number of former head distillers for the largest spirit companies in the world to develop his recipes. We received these samples from the distillery, as they wanted some reviews on the web to increase their exposure. After seeing them use some cool mashbills, some interesting finishes, and aging everything 2 years, we figured this isn’t yet another run of the mill craft distillery and they’re taking the time to do it right, so it’s worth reviewing.
Note: at the Toronto Whisky Society, our scores aren’t influenced by free samples or discussions with company owners. We rate every whisky according to our own subjective enjoyment of it! Sometimes this means scores will be lower than distilleries hope, but it’s the only way we can remain credible!
Rabbit Hole Distillery Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – 47.5%
This Rye is 95% rye and 5% malted barley, aged 2+ years in char #3 wood-fired barrels from Kelvin Cooperage. The spirit goes in the barrel at 110 proof and is bottled at 95 proof.
- Appearance: amber-orange, thin legs on the glass
- Nose: lots of spice on the nose, including cinnamon, pepper, some oak, but not a ton. Some anise. Slight dill, some fir.
- Palate: much more woody on the palate and lighter on the spice. Fresh wood chips, some dill, cinnamon, allspice, dried fruit, caramel. The small bit of malt comes through nicely too.
- Finish: medium length, spicy, oaky, and an interesting touch of cocoa at the end.
- Score: 79
it’s got some nice depth to it for a young rye, and the choice of proof was solid vs a 40/43% bottling. One of the better new craft ryes I’ve tried. Goes to show 2+yrs is important.
- Nose: Mint, oak, vanilla, dill, hay, pepper
- Palate: Floral, really floral, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, dry wood/saw dust
- Finish: Finish is shorter than the bourbon, which is a shame. Herbal, mint, cinnamon, pepper dry oak, ends with slight bitter note.
- Score: 74
The palate really shines on this rye compared to the nose and finish which are a little muted in comparison. This really would have benefited from more time, great floral notes for a rye, but lacking some of the other ideal characteristics at 2 years of age. This rye has some potential going forward, if they release an older and higher proof version, I would hunt some down to try.
Rabbit Hole Distillery Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 47.5%
The bourbon has a very cool mashbill: 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% honey malted barley and 10% malted barley. It’s 2+ years old, aged in #3 char barrels. Entered the barrel at 110 proof and bottled at 95 proof. Never heard of honey malted barley before and very curious to see how the 3 malts influence this!
- Appearance: slightly darker than the rye, similarly thin legs.
- Nose: fresh wood, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, light fruitiness. Some spices.
- Palate: interesting. Creamy body, but light still. Tons of fresh oak and caramel, very grain forward with the wheat and malt really showing themselves. Brown sugar, honey, some fruit. Quite nice for a young bourbon.
- Finish: longer than the rye, but not long. Honey, oak.
- Score: 78
not bad. It showed its young ‘craft’ nature more than the rye, but compares well vs other craft bourbons I’ve tried. It definitely has me curious about their PX Finished Bourbon as I feel it would take on a sherry cask very nicely. Also would love to try their rye cask aged Gin, as I love barrel aged gins/ginevers!
- Nose: Floral, sweet, vanilla, young, cinnamon are the dominant notes.
- Palate: Saw dust, vanilla, caramel, oak, grain forward, cinnamon and pepper. The youthful nature makes itself known here.
- Finish: Bitter oak notes on the tail end, brown sugar, floral, vanilla, saw dust, warm. Medium in length.
- Score: 76
Overall I enjoyed the Rabbit Hole Bourbon, the unique mashbill is a nice touch, and for a 2 year old bourbon it has some nice facets. The floral notes throughout were nice to see, and I have had far worse young bourbon. Curious to see how this bourbon does with additional maturation. The 47.5% ABV was a wise choice for this release, at cask strength some of the youthful and wood flavors may have dominated.
Overall thoughts on Rabbit Hole, they are producing some good stuff for the age it is, and it really seems that with more time it will make for some great bourbon and rye. We’ve had far worse in terms of young bourbon and rye. Kudos to them for the unique mashbill on the bourbon, always nice to see experimentation, and not just sourcing of the same old recipes. Hoping that when their distillery produces its first releases in-house, they maintain some of the unique flavor profiles. We look forward to seeing what kind of niche they carve out in the craft whiskey landscape!