This is a rabbit hole worth going down.
Review Rabbit Hole London Dry Gin
Made in: Louisville, Kentucky, USA by Rabbit Hole Distillers.
Method: Vendome Column still.
44.5% alcohol/89 proof
Botanicals 7 : Juniper, angelica, orange peel, lemon peel, licorice, coriander, orris root.
Style: Barrel aged modern gin
This review is for Fingerprint Edition Juniper Series. Batch# 4, bottle 8398
Formerly known as Rabbit Hole Bespoke gin and issued as a limited edition, Rabbit Hole has been re-released as Rabbit Hole London Dry Gin - so I suppose the release was quite successful.
The distillery is far better known for its whiskey and rye than for gin, but I suspect that is about to change. Barrel aged gin fell out of favor over 100 years ago, and young non-aged gin became the norm until after 2000 when some distillers started experimenting with it again. We are seeing more and more gins aged in barrels, either new, or flavored by a spirit that aged in it prior to the aging of the gin.
And Rabbit Hole’s London Dry gin is aged in the used oak barrels from their award winning Boxergrail rye whiskey with it’s #3 char (meaning the barrel interior was charred for 35 seconds with heat over 285 degrees Fahrenheit, creating carbon inside the barrel, something that adds both flavor from non-botanical sources, and helps to filter out undesired flavored elements.
You can taste it too.
If you like whiskey, and you like gin, this is your ideal pairing. It’s interesting neat, provided you have a clean palate - definitely enjoyable, but easily thrown off by food you might have eaten before tasting it.
The nose of Rabbit Hole is that of whiskey, the smoke, caramel, with juniper, floral notes and a touch of slightly nutty baking spice behind it.
On the palate the gin shows off the spiciness of rye, with smoke and notes of caramelized oak, with coriander, angelica, and juniper, After that comes a subtle floral note from the citrus, with hints of vanilla, black tea towards the back end. The final note is a subtle tang of licorice, which doesn’t linger on the palate, but rather like a period, tells you that the sentence, or in this case flavor profile has reached the end.
Mouthfeel is thin and tangy.
This is definitely a gin you can loosely call old tom, but like many gins aged in rye or bourbon barrels it carries a strong whiskey flavor which I suspect would be unpleasant in many drinks but go well in others.
This is definitely not a gin for those looking for a classic flavor. It was pleasant enough, but hardly outstanding in a dry martini, with a good tang and strong spice, but a hybrid of spice between those you’d expect to find in a gin and a rye. While I could clearly taste the gin botanicals, the rye added sweetness and a slight smokey layer that as a fan of rye I enjoyed,, but will certainly turn off those who don’t really enjoy whiskies.
This isn’t a wonderful gin with any tonic I tried it with. I didn’t think much of it with either Fever Tree’s Indian or Elderflower tonic. It wasn’t bad, but it lacked the crisp nature usually inherent in a G&T and it didn’t have enough flavor that really came through. The favors become muddied and in some cases discordant. The basic spice seemed sadly absent, and even the juniper, and rye flavor just felt flat.
With a more complex cocktail this gin found a few good legs. I rather liked it in a gin Old Fashioned and thought it worked very well in a Martinez in both cases due to the flavor of the rye. And while at first I thought I didn’t care much for it in a fresh lime juice Gimlet, or a Tom Collins, it grew on me more and more as I drank them.
This is a mixed application gin - like many old tom gins, I honestly found it best served on the rocks. As someone who likes both rye and gin I found it rather enjoyable. Those who lean towards whiskies will probably find this really nice, and may find it a gateway to other old tom style flavor profiles, before getting to more classic gins.
That said, if you don’t like whiskey, or baking spices, I’d probably skip it. That said, this is a Rabbit Hole I will no doubt choose to go down again.
spice 5/5 (please note I’m counting the char and smoke in this here - but the intense spiciness of rye plus the gin botanicals makes this a strong flavor).
Rating (Sipping):87 - A gin for lovers of brown spirits - it’s a good hybrid gin that has something to share and is well worth enjoying neat or on the rocks.
Rating (Mixing) 77 - I’m a bit ambivalent as to how good this gin is for mixing. It will be quite jarring in many cocktails but will work quite well in many places where Old Tom style gins are appreciated. That said, of everything I tried I liked it most in a gin old fashioned cocktail with a good bitters.
Overall rating: 82 - A niche gin, that will appeal very much to whiskey drinkers and will interest a lot of gin drinkers (especially fans of Old Tom), but it’s a bit out of left field for those who want something more classic.
What you need to know about my reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.