Bourbon
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Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel

by on November 1, 2018
Details
 
Class

Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Average Price

$55-70 US Retail

Positives

Bold and balanced array of fruits and sweets. Great thick mouthfeel.

Negatives

The flavors don't pop enough for this to be truly exceptional.

Editor Rating
 
Nose
83%

 
Palate
86%

 
Finish
84%

Total Score
85%

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Bottom Line
 

Buy it now! This is the best of the Mash Bill #2 line that is available in the United States, and is worth it's retail price.

 

Many bourbon fans know that the Buffalo Trace Distillery uses a unique “high rye” mash bill for creating its famous Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee bourbon brands.  What some may not know is that there is an entire line of bourbons that Buffalo trace distills from “mash bill #2”, including Ancient Age, Hancock’s Reserve, and Rock Hill Farms.  While on the “shelf tier” spectrum, Ancient Age and Hancock’s Reserve would both be considered more bottom shelf than Blanton’s or Elmer, Rock Hill Farms actually sits near the top – a sort of “premium” version of Blanton’s, bottled at a higher proof and often retailing for a slightly higher price.  (This is in relationship to the regular U.S. release of Blanton’s only, not any of the international labels).

Like Blanton’s, Elmer T Lee, and Hancock’s Reserve, Rock Hill Farms is also bottled a single barrel at a time, which means any bottle could taste a bit different from another bottle if they are the products of different barrels.  Unfortunately, no barrel information is given on the label, so there is no way of knowing if any two bottles are from the same barrel.

Notes:

  • Distilled, aged, and bottled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfurt, KY
  • Mash Bill:  Undisclosed “high rye mash bill #2”
  • Cask:  New charred American oak barrel
  • Age:  No Age Statement
  • ABV:  50%

Nose:  Sweet honey and butterscotch lay the ground work before a plume of rich toffee and a fruity wave of cherries and crisp apple burst through.  Rounding out the aroma is an undercurrent of fresh cut oak.

Palate:  Warm, fruity and rich.  Lush cherry notes stand out with a touch of apple tartness.  As a whole, the dram is sweet and full of butterscotch and vanilla, with great accenting notes of brown sugar and toffee.

Finish:  Creamy vanilla and sweet black cherry verge towards fruit punch with subtle citrus notes.  As the finish lingers, a wisp of toffee fades to light caramel.

Buying Recommendation:  Buy it now! (if you can…).  In my opinion, excluding the non-US Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel, Rock Hill Farms sits firmly at the top of the mash bill #2 list.  The notes are bold but not overpowering, and the balance is commendable.  The flavors don’t quite pop enough to boost the score into the 90’s, but it’s easy to see why these bottles disappear from shelves so fast.

With its bevy of sweet and fruit flavors and spectacular balance, this really is a gem of a bourbon.  It’s thicker and bolder than Blanton’s, and the sweetness is cut well by the higher proof.  If anyone can snag one around the lower end of the retail price range, it’s definitely not a bourbon to pass up.

The Rating Scale

At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:

1-49: Varying degrees of bad
55: Average
60-69: Better than average
70-79: Solid/Good
80-89: Excellent
90+: Truly Exceptional

All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

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