BEST SMALL BATCH BOURBONS
The term "small batch bourbon" is associated with quality, a unique state, and a bit of nostalgia. While the definition of small batch bourbon is not an exact science, purchasing a bourbon from Rabbit Hole Distillery ensures a true "small batch" and an excellent bourbon...
What Is Small Batch Bourbon?
Products labeled "small batch" are known as premium liquors with layers of undiluted flavor. Technically, in the alcohol industry, there is no legal or scientific definition of what makes up a small batch of bourbon. But generally, it has a unique taste that makes it worth seeking out. Rabbit Hole Distillery only uses 15 barrels per batch. This is much lower than other distilleries and allows for the cultivation of distinct and balanced bourbons.
Triple malted means that of all the grains used in the mash bill, three of them are malted. Malted grains are grains that have been sprouted before being added to the mash. Having three grains malted makes for a complex drink with distinct tasting notes. Rabbit Hole's Cavehill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a four grain triple malt whiskey. This means there are four grains and three are malted — corn, malted wheat, honey malted barley, and malted barley. Its unique mixture of three malted grains gives off amazing flavors of fresh apples, honey, cream, and custard.
A high rye bourbon will typically have 20% to 35% rye on the mash bill. Increasing the rye content in a bourbon increases its spice level, giving it strong tasting notes of baking spices and grass. High rye bourbons have much sharper flavor notes compared to a regular bourbon. Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is such a bourbon. The malted German rye and malted barley used are toasted and then charred, giving the first sip delicious notes of caramel and butterscotch. And right after comes the peppery kick from the high rye content.
A bourbon that has been cask finished means the bourbon is transferred to a secondary barrel during its maturation process. This secondary barrel imparts its flavor to the bourbon, creating a completely unique and complex drink. Rabbit Hole's Dareringer Straight Bourbon Whiskey is finished in PX sherry casks. PX refers to Pedro Ximenez, the type of grape used to make the sherry. Finishing bourbon in a cask that once held sherry brings out hints of cherry, almond, currants, and vanilla in the bourbon.
Sour mash small batch bourbon uses leftover ingredients from previous batches. These leftovers are already fermented, which gives the newly created sour mash a sweeter flavor. A sour mash is usually made up of a fourth of an old mash. Boxergrail Kentucky Straigh Rye Whiskey contains two grains — rye and malted barley. It is primarily comprised of rye, which is why it's a whiskey and not a bourbon. The high rye content punches the drinker with strong notes of black tea and pepper. But the malted barley nicely balances it out with some butterscotch notes.
Understanding the ingredients that go into a small batch bourbon is incredibly helpful when deciding which bourbon to use in a drink. Think about whether you want a peppery Pimm's Cup or a mellow Manhattan before choosing your bourbon base.