Whiskey Review: Square 6 High Rye Whiskey

, | March 4, 2023

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. 

Heaven Hill’s portfolio of whiskeys is impressive. Really. Check the link – it’s basically a list of bourbons that are worth your time. I have to imagine that I’m not alone among whiskey enthusiasts who continue to have a soft spot for Evan Williams in particular, even among this impressive array of premium brands.

It was a revelation to me at 22 years old that I could comfortably afford a bottle of whiskey that tasted good, and that accessibility in both price and flavor of the standard Evan Williams Bourbon was instrumental in the shaky first steps of developing a taste for whiskey.

All that’s to say, you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me to visit the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in downtown Louisville, near the original location where Welsh immigrant Evan Williams opened his distillery. The Bourbon Experience offers tastings and tours featuring a working copper pot still that produces a single barrel daily. After years spent maturing, the whiskey produced at the Bourbon Experience is being made available as Evan Williams Square 6. They explain it much better than I would:

“Square 6 pays homage to the original plot of land that housed Kentucky’s first commercial distillery, on part of which the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience sits. Since the building of the craft distillery, Heaven Hill has been patiently waiting as the barrels quietly age to maturation. During this aging process, a team of master tasters samples each recipe at various stages until that specific mash bill has been deemed to have achieved a taste profile worthy of bottling”. 

Fall of 2022 marked the second release of whiskey produced from the barrels distilled daily at the Bourbon Experience’s pot still and features a mash bill of 63% rye, 23% corn and 13% malted barley that makes the previous High Rye Bourbon (52% corn, 35% rye and 13% malted barley) look downright moderate. The displacement of corn in the mash bill means that this bottle cannot be classified as a bourbon, and really this high rye, copper-pot still  juice is sort of a genre-bender.

Square 6 High-Rye Rye Whiskey review

We review Square 6 High-Rye Rye Whiskey, made at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. (image via Heaven Hill)

Tasting Notes: Square 6 High Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: No age statement given, 95 proof, $90 MSRP

Appearance: Light body, noticeable clarity, and a mild red hue giving the pour an amber or copper color.

Nose: Strongly bread-y aromas. A mild tingle of rye spice combines with a noticeable but not unpleasant hint of ethanol adding up to buttered corn bread alongside yeasty, rising bread dough.

Palate: Slightly oily mouthfeel. The impression of unbaked bread dough persists but now within a slight oak and vanilla context that fades into chewing-gum cinnamon spice. 

Whiskey Review: Square 6 High Rye Whiskey


Conceptually there’s a lot to like in the idea of a big producer like Evan Williams releasing bottles from modest, basically craft-distiller’s hardware. It’s sort of a similar feeling to when you see your favorite pop star walk onto the stage alone with an acoustic guitar. Evan Williams fans and aficionados in particular will find value and interest in tasting what Artisanal Distiller Jodie Filiatreau is up to here.

Because time is strange, there is something quite innovative in a return to traditional methodologies in 2023. This bottle has some unique and interesting moments that make it worth a pour, though it will be hard to find anywhere except the Bourbon Experience so the price is, to my mind, most reflective of the intrigue and scarcity resulting from the process.

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Jacob Wirt

Jacob Wirt’s past lives as a cook and cultural studies researcher continue to inform his appreciation of fermented grain beverages- not (only) because these professions might drive one to drink, but because they offer a reminder of the knowledge, work, and history that makes every glass possible. His first love...