A lot of the whiskey we drink and review simply comes from walking down the aisle at our local liquor store and picking something that looks good or sounds good. Sometimes it ends up costing us, but most of the time it doesn’t. This time around, Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold caught our eye. It was just days before Christmas, so we were okay going for something a little more expensive, and I’m glad we did.
In this Rabbit Hole Bourbon review we’ll discuss some of the basic history and make-up of Rabbit Hole whiskey, as well as cover the price and tasting notes of their Heigold Bourbon.
Rabbit Hole Whiskey History
Kaveh Zamanian, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, left the field of ‘medicine’ and science in 2012 to create Rabbit Hole. Zamanian, an emigrant of Iran as a child, fell in love with his now wife, Heather, who is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. It was through her that he found a passion for bourbon. “After finding monotony in the Bourbon landscape”, Zamanian decided it was time to create his own whiskey.
In 2019, Pernod Ricard purchased Rabbit Hole and are now majority holders of the whiskey company and distillery.
Rabbit Hole Selection
Rabbit Hole offers 4 whiskeys as part of their standard selection, each of which is named after or for something or someone. Below are the four selections.
- Cavehill – A four grain bourbon with 70% corn, 10% malted wheat, 10% malted barley, 10% honey malted barley. The name pays homage to the original immigrants who began distilling American whiskey in Kentucky. Cavehill is a cemetery located in Louisville.
- Dareringer – A bourbon finished in PX Sherry casks with 68% corn, 18% wheat, 14% malted barley. This whiskey is inspired by Zamanian’s wife, who introduced him to whiskey and sparked his passion into it.
- Boxergrail – A straight rye whiskey distilled from a sour mash uses 95% rye and 5% malted barley. Named after the boxing culture of Louisville.
- Heigold – A high rye bourbon named after Christian Heigold, a German immigrant and stonecutter who used his profession and ability to carve statues of his family, American heroes, and other symbols of patriotism. We’ll touch a lot more on this whiskey below as we dive into our full review.
Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold Overview
- Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
- Owned By: Pernod Ricard
- Distilled By: Undisclosed distillery
- Aged: Minimum 3 years
- ABV: 47.5%, 95 Proof
- Mashbill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley
- Price: $50-70
There are a couple notable things from this that need further explanation. First, who is distilling Rabbit Hole Whiskey? The bottle we have uses whiskey sourced from an unknown distillery, but that is likely to change. Rabbit Hole opened up their own distillery in 2018 in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, so more and more of their whiskey will be distilled in-house as time goes on. Rabbit Hole is very forthcoming about their mashbill, distilling process, and the barrels they use (Kelvin Cooperage), so they are open about pretty much everything.
The next thing to discuss is the mashbill of Rabbit Hole Heigold. It is clearly printed on the side of the bottle and uses a high-rye bourbon mash. Per the Rabbit Hole website, they (and Zamanian) didn’t like that so many whiskeys are sourced from the same distilleries using the same mashbills. (Think MGP rye’s that almost exclusively use a 95%/5% rye/malted barley mash). Even though they started out sourcing whiskey, Zamanian wanted personal and unique mashbills for his whiskey.
Lastly, price is an interesting factor here because it has such a wide range. We like to buy our whiskey from Total Wine as they usually have the best prices. However, a bottle of Heigold was $68 from Total Wine but only $58 at our local mom & pop store. Price here can vary drastically depending on your store and location.
Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold Tasting Notes
Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, we can pour ourselves a glass.
Nose: Candied apples, cherry, brown sugar. An old oakiness that is reminiscent of paint-coated wood. Reminds me of coffee cake, specifically the crumbles on top. Lightly floral. Smells like a cross between a bakery and a candy store. Gingerbread.
Palate: A touch thin. Brown sugar and oak seem most apparent with a lot of butterscotch and caramel as well.
Finish: Medium finish in length. The rye spice is very prominent at the end with some pepper, burnt oak, and a touch mint.
Immediately, I was a fan of this whiskey just based upon the nosing. Perhaps it was a touch of nostalgia as it reminded me of an old-school candy shop I used to go to. Not one of those with white tile and marble and all the different gummies and sour patch kids, but the rock candy, caramel apple, chocolate and butterscotch, cake and pie type of candy store. There was a touch of paint, or wood coating, in there but not enough to ruin it.
The palate had a strong brown sugar and burnt oak flavor as well as caramel and butterscotch, but it was thinner than I would like; although, not entirely surprising based on the 3 yr age statement and the paint on the nose. The rye shines on the finish with some spice and mint that I typically enjoy.
Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold Value
Now that we’ve discussed the taste and price, we can talk about the value of Rabbit Hole Bourbon. The biggest factor here is price, of course. Not many people are willing, or like to, pay $60+ for a bottle of whiskey, so that may completely rule it out for you in the first place. However, if you’re someone who spends $50 on a daily drinker, the extra $10 is worth spending on a bottle of Rabbit Hole.
Rabbit Hole Heigold isn’t the most complex and rich whiskey out there for it’s price. The 3 year age statement is young for a bottle of this price, and it shows a little bit with the thinness and light ethanol notes on the nose.
I like a good high rye bourbon, and Heigold hits it on the nose for me. The nose and palate is the best of what bourbon has to offer with loads of brown sugar, butterscotch, burnt oak, and a candy sweetness. While there was a glimpse of rye on the nose with some floral notes, the rye shines on the finish with pepper and mint. Another good high rye bourbon I really like is Breckenridge Bourbon!
Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold Summary
Rabbit Hole Bourbon and Distillery is a good story. Zamanian loved bourbon and wanted to create his own, so he did. And he did it using custom mash bills which eventually led to the construction of his own distillery in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky.
Yes, Rabbit Hole Bourbon may be a touch pricier than so many others, but that’s the price of building a new distillery and experimenting with mashbills. He could’ve done what thousands of others have done – source whiskey from the big dogs and bottle it with a different name – but he wanted to build and create something of his own. I can respect that.
The whiskey itself is very tasteful. It may be one of my favorite whiskeys to smell, and the palate is sweet, flavorful, and easy. If you like rye whiskey, the finish is also very pleasant. The one knock on this whiskey is the youthfulness of it.
At the end of the day, I’m a fan of Rabbit Hole Bourbon Heigold for both the whiskey and the story behind rabbit Hole. If spending $60 on a bottle isn’t a huge issue for you, give it a try.