By Kurt Maitland
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel is another of Buffalo Trace’s distinctive offerings and joins Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, and my beloved Pappy Van Winkle as yet another of that distillery’s varied releases to seek out at your local whiskey bar or liquor store.
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel comes in a bottle that looks like it could hold a fine cognac or brandy with a distinctive stopper big enough that it could double as an 1890s glass door knob. It starts out square at the bottom and each corner tapers into a curve that flows nicely into the neck.
The bourbon is bottled at 50% abv (100 proof), and greets your eyes with a warm copper-bronze glow. The Rock Hill Single Barrel has a hint of honey and molasses in its early aroma. The taste is of orange peel, clove, plum brandy with a hint of cherry tobacco and cocoa. Even though Rock Hill is listed as a “Rye Recipe” bourbon, it doesn’t have the suggestive mouth burn that a high rye hits one with on first contact. Instead the rye works to tie the other flavors together instead of dominating them like some more aggressive rye offerings do.
The Rock Hill Single Barrel, like some of its sister bourbons (Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee in particular), has a dry, crisp mouth feel. Where the Rock Hill differs is that it appears that “Rye Recipe” gives it a slow building burn that evolves into a dry, crisp almost wine-finish.
With a little ice or a few drops of water, the dry crispness I’ve mention comes more to the fore and instead of evolving at the end as it does when sampled neat, it permeates the entire drinking experience.
Rock Hill Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey retails for between $37 and $53 in U.S. liquor stores. If you are looking for a distinctive bourbon that will make an impression with fellow bourbon lovers, be sure to add Rock Hill to your list.