Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The number of distilleries in the United States has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. According to the American Distilling Institute, numbers have gone from 75 in 2006 to over 2,000 by 2020. Those that had the funding for getting the best facilities and equipment are only few and far between. Rabbit Hole distillery is among those that really had the funding to meet their vision.
Rabbit Hole was founded in 2012 by Kaveh Zamanian. Zamanian got his start as a clinical psychologist before “going down the rabbit hole” to start his own distillery. His vision for Rabbit Hole was to make a modern bourbon with a unique recipe and traditional techniques. The Rabbit Hole Distillery is located in downtown Louisville. They produce 1.7 million proof gallons a year. Their line up consists of six core products and a number of special releases, including what is called the Founder’s Collection. They are partnered with Pernod Ricard to allow them to push the boundaries a bit, experiment and reach a larger audience (you can read a bit about this partnership in an interview here).
The Founder’s Collection consists of four unique products. Nevallier, a bourbon finished in French Oak. Mizunara, a bourbon finished in Japanese Oak. Boxergrail, Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. And Raceking, a double chocolate malt bourbon. The re-release of Rabbit Hole Raceking Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is what I am reviewing here.
Rabbit Hole Raceking Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a cask strength, double chocolate malt bourbon. The double chocolate malt refers to the use of a chocolate malted wheat from Germany and a chocolate malted barley from the United Kingdom. While named for this malt, it only accounts for 7% of the mash bill. The full mash bill is 70% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted rye, 4% chocolate malted wheat and 3% chocolate malted barley.
The name Raceking is to honor the tradition of horse racing in Kentucky.
This is made in very limited batches – this release consists of only 1,335 bottles. And if you are able to get a hold of one even close to suggested retail price I would recommend it, as the original 2021 release is currently going for prices upward of $2000. While the cask strength on this packs a punch, it really holds a lot of flavor. I did my tasting notes before reading about the chocolate malt, and found myself surprised that the tasting notes lined up with that. Read on for the rest of my notes.
Tasting Notes: Rabbit Hole Raceking Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Vital Stats:Bottled at 54.9% ABV. Mash bill of 70% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted rye, 4% chocolate malted wheat and 3% chocolate malted barley. Suggested retail price of $395 per 750ml bottle. 1,335 bottles released for the U.S.
Appearance: This is a lovely caramel color. It creates a thin coat on the glass and forms thick tears that fall pretty quickly.
Nose: This smells like spiced vanilla custard. Hints of cinnamon and nutmeg with brown sugar.
Palate: This starts off reminding me of a sweet honey brushed pastry. Moves into a mid palate of black tea, cinnamon, and malted chocolate. On the finish I get notes of caramel, black pepper, dry oak, and a little acidity.
Whiskey Review: Rabbit Hole Raceking Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
This is an excellent release of Rabbit Hole whiskey, and a great example of bourbon with a non-standard mash bill. It has bold flavors, and while staying in the realm of a bourbon flavor profile, brings a new combination of flavors to the glass. While certainly worth the price Rabbit Hole has put on the bottle, you will likely pay more than the suggested retail price if you manage to find it. I can’t say if it is worth the additional markup or not.
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Ian Arnold was a bartender for 8 years. Having worked in California, Australia, and Portland, he last bartended at the Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library. He was part of the Oregon Bartenders' Guild's leadership and was a judge for multiple cocktail competitions. He now works in the IT field and continues to...