DSR – KY – 009: Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Rabbit Hole Distillery
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 70% Corn, 10% Malted Wheat, 10% Malted Barley and 10% Honey Malted Barley
Age Statement: Over 3 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 95 Proof/47.5% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon is chestnut in color. It has a dense appearance in the glass. This whiskey produces a razor thin viscous line. Legs start as perforated beads that are delayed in developing. Once established, the legs drip gently down into the belly of the tasting vessel.
Purchase Price: $63.99 in West Virginia – July 2020. This bottled was graciously provided to us by a friend, affectionately known to us as The Singing Cowboy, for review. Thanks, Randy, for graciously allowing us to taste your bottle of Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey!
Bottle Label Information:
“Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
Left Side Label
“4 Grain Small Batch”
“This BOURBON consists of 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% malted barley, & 10% honey malted barley. NEVER chill filtered, as it SHOULD be.”
“Aged in hand-crafted casks by Kelvin Cooperage”
“Zamanian – Founder & Whiskey Maker”
Right Side Label
“Rabbit Hole | Est. 2012 | Louisville, KY”
Rabbit Hole Distillery
Rabbit Hole Distillery, located in Louisville, Kentucky, was founded in 2012 by Kaveh Zamanian. Mr. Zamanian had enjoyed a career as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst when he met his soon to be bride, Heather. Heather was from Louisville, Kentucky and would go on to help Kaveh uncover a deep appreciation for bourbon. This rapidly developed appreciation would soon become a passion, causing Mr. Zamanian to leave the world of psychology and dive head first into the world of distilling.
What made Zamanian make the jump in the distilling world of Kentucky? In a 2019 interview with Kyle Swartz of Beveragedynamics.com, Zamanian expressed a frustration with the glut of sourced whiskey on the market. Like many whiskey enthusiasts, Zamanian realized that many of the distilleries pushing products at the time were not making the whiskey they were selling. Mr. Zamanian set out to buck the trend and develop his own recipes, eventually leading to a line of whiskey, all distilled in-house. Zamanian would launch the brand by utilizing contract production in 2014. Contract production would allow Rabbit Hole time to get their own distillery up and running, while entering into a contract with a seasoned distillery to make their recipes, until they could take over the operations on their own. Rabbit Hole Distillery would accomplish that task in May 2018, when they would take over the production of all distilling at their brand new, state of the art, $18 million, and a 55,000 square foot distillery in Louisville.
After all of that, Zamanian was ready to rest easy and enjoy the run his newfound distillery had at the start. Instead, he had his sights set on the distribution of his products across the entire United States. In order to achieve this goal, in June 2019, Rabbit Hole Distillery would sell a majority stake in the company Pernod Ricard. Zamanian retained his position of overseeing the everyday operations at the distillery as well as most employee matters. As a result, Rabbit Hole continues to see rapid growth and distribution as it continues to grow its footprint right from the front door of Kentucky’s bourbon country.
Rabbit Hole Distillery product line includes Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey High Rye, Rabbit Hole Dareringer Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in PX Sherry Casks, Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Rabbit Hole Bespoke Gin, and Liddel Vodka. For more information on Rabbit Hole Distillery and their process you can visit https://www.rabbitholedistillery.com/.
Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Rabbit Hole Distillery prides itself on its unique recipes developed in-house in Louisville, Kentucky. Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey is no exception. Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a nod to the whiskey pioneers who came before and paved the way for Rabbit Hole Distillery. This 4-grain recipe was developed using a mash bill of 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% honey malted barley, and 10% malted barley. After distillation, this bourbon is stored in gently toasted then charred new American white oak barrels produced by Kelvin Cooperage. The bourbon is aged a minimum of 3 years before being bottled using small batches of no more than 15 barrels, non-chill filtered, and at a proof of 95.
Tasting Date/Vessel: August 18, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few added drops of distilled water.
Christian: Nosing Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the bottle unleashes an unexpected and stout aroma of a freshly cut bouquet of flowers. A punch of floral notes jumps out of the bottle. As we allow the bottle to open up with air, a second pass brings forward a touch of fresh caramel corn and butter. A really unique aroma in the bottle. In my Glencarin glass, I quickly notice that the floral aroma, much like rose petals, has carried over from the bottle. Again, I am getting fresh blossoms with a touch of honey, like recently bloomed honeysuckle. A light swirl allows a touch of brown sugar and fresh breakfast pastry begin to become evident. This is quite an interesting nose. I can detect a richness in the aromas but also a touch of sourness and yeast. It is very reminiscent of the smell of distiller’s beer cooking in a distillery. Adding distilled water into the mix really tames down the floral notes, although they are still present in a lesser extent, and allows a touch of spice (perhaps clove) and light brown sugar to be showcased a bit more.
Mike: Nosing this bourbon from the bottle, I’m struck with beautiful floral notes. I get hints of soft rose petals and honeysuckle that transition to buttery caramel. Nosing from the glass, I detect aromas of ripening bananas and a hint of roasted peanuts. Touches of honey permeate as I swirl the whiskey in the glass. Somewhat distinguishable are characteristics of melon, perhaps a subtle sweetness of cantaloupe that seeps through the rind. Letting the whiskey settle and then nosing again allows gentle suggestions of brown sugar and browned butter.
Christian: This bourbon has a mouthfeel that is light and thin on my tongue. There is a sweetness on the tip of my tongue, but this quickly succumbs to more earthy flavors. I get a decent dose of leather in this pour that really stands out the most. There is a sweetness there that tries to come forward, but cannot quite develop fully. It shows itself in the form of toasted brown sugar and just a touch of caramel sauce. You really have to concentrate hard to find some of the flavors in this one. The distilled water softens the mouth fell of this bourbon even more. The whiskey becomes less sweet to me, bringing forward a touch nuttiness to the fold. In addition, the cereal grains really stand tall now, in the form of something similar to honey wheat bread and oatmeal.
Mike: Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon has a thin and soft mouthfeel. This whiskey is semi-sweet from the front back to the mid-palate, then transitions to delicate leather. Brown sugar and black pepper intertwine in the back of the mouth. A second pass reveals a more honeyed sweetness accompanied with a touch of cinnamon pizazz.
Christian: This bourbon has a short to medium finish that is smooth and a little lifeless. A bitterness develops quickly and I really get a taste of charred oak and grilled street corn. There is a touch of spice in the backend that shows itself as the slight hug wells up from my chest. As the flavors begin to dissipate, I notice a very light hint of hay which transitions to a medicinal quality, similar to the aftertaste in a kids cough syrup or artificial cherry flavoring aftertaste. I honestly don’t notice much change in the finish with the addition of water. The spirit does lose some of the bitterness, however, there is still a toasted oak note present long after the whiskey has been swallowed.
Mike: This whiskey drinks spicier than 95 proof. It has a medium to long finish with a burn that recedes then rekindles at the top of your sternum and becomes rather persistent. The sweetness lingers in the mouth, opening with floral honey as it shifts to a candied cinnamon.
Christian: Where do I begin on this Rabbit Hole Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey? First and foremost, I really appreciate what Mr. Zamanian has set out to accomplish in opening a new distillery in “bourbon country” with creative, house-made recipes. When sourcing has become the flavor of the month in the industry, it is always nice to see the distilleries doing it all in house. For me, this Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey slightly misses the mark. At first we are given an aromatic nose that is unique and atypical to most. From there, things just seem to become a little one note, lacking an overall complexity or wow factor. At a price point of over $60, I am really looking for a whiskey that sets itself apart from the $30-50 range whiskey offerings that fill the shelves. This whiskey just doesn’t do that for me. There are lots of options at a lower price point that pack more of a punch, flavor wise, and leave me feeling fulfilled for the amount of money spent. In the future, I am much more likely to seek out those alternatives before I drop the money on this particular offering.
Rating: 2.50 Rickhouses
Mike: Rabbit Hole Cavehill Straight Bourbon boasts a 3 year age statement and advertises itself as a 4 grain whiskey. This offering is very high in corn at 70% with 10% each malted wheat, barley and a very interesting honey malted barley. I’m not normally one to contend, but I’d wouldn’t classify this as 4 grain whiskey, considering 20% of the mash bill is a form of barley. Nevertheless, this whiskey provides a sweet and soft profile with just enough spice, while offering traditional bourbon flavors. My first impression left me wanting more depth, but letting this sit, the flavors opened up. I find this whiskey slightly above average in overall flavor, but I take exception with its $64 price tag, considering the age and proof.
Rating: 3.00 Rickhouses