By Richard Thomas
With Kentucky bourbon tourism booming, Louisville is becoming one of the country’s leading hotbeds of urban distilling. The latest entry is Rabbit Hole Distilling, founded in 2012 and who broke ground on their distillery in October 2016.
Rabbit Hole is the project of Dr. Kaveh Zamanian, MD, a psychologist out of Chicago. His whiskey guy, serving as Master Distiller, is Larry Ebersold, the recently retired Greg Metze’s predecessor as Master Distiller at MGP. Ebersold is also serving as Master Distiller at the northern Kentucky distillery New Riff, which is similar to Rabbit Hole in being a relatively new distillery following the now time-tested path of bottling sourced products while their in-house spirits mature.
The rye has the familiar mashbill of 95% rye, 5% malted barley, and while the whiskey is sourced, it did not come from MGP. Rabbit Hole informed me that it was instead produced on contract from an undisclosed northern Kentucky distillery. The whiskey was put in #3 char Kelvin Cooperage barrels at 110 proof. It’s labeled as a straight whiskey, so we know it is at least two years old, and it was bottled at 95 proof (47.5% ABV).
Even though the stock for Rabbit Hole Rye did not come from MGP, and there are some known technical differences from the well-known MGP stock, it was still done with Ebersold’s oversight and using a mashbill he was very familiar with from his time at the Indiana distillery, namely 95% rye and 5% malt. So, there are some similarities to be found.
For starters, in the glass it has a light copper coloring, with plenty of thick droplet legs. The nose has that now-classic cinnamon, licorice and just very slightly peppery spiciness, with a bit of an earthy wood note, much like an old log.
The whiskey has a light mouthfeel, and a flavor that is predominately dried fruits sweet, supported by notes of caramel and a lighter spiciness than is present in the nose. The finish runs long and middling warm, with the spiciness fading into an herbal aftertaste.
Rabbit Hole Rye goes for $59.99 a bottle.