- Brand: The Dead Rabbit
- ABV: 44%
Awhile back I was contacted by a marketing specialist, or "communications expert" named Pam, who asked if I would be interested in sampling and reviewing The Dead Rabbit, a new blended Irish Whiskey. Free whiskey? Yes please! Of course, many of my friends voiced concerns that this might compromise the objectivity of my review, but by disclosing this fact to everyone I feel as though I'm being transparent. No Jedi mind tricks here. I'm not being paid for my views, and I'm as unapologetically honest as Dr. House.
For those who don't know, The Dead Rabbit is the result of a collaboration between the Dublin Liberties Distillery and the owners of New York's Dead Rabbit Saloon. I'm not sure if Liam Neeson or Leonardo DiCaprio were involved in the creation of this whiskey. Probably not. The Dead Rabbit is bottled at a very respectable 44% abv. Pam was kind enough to answer all my questions about The Dead Rabbit's DNA, as it were. So, here's what I know about The Dead Rabbit :
- a mix of Malt and Grain in the ratio of 30% Malt and 70% Grain.
- The Malt Component: is 100% Malted Barley and put through Pot Stills
- The Grain Component: is a mix of Barley and Maize (corn) through Continuous Distillation Column Stills
- Fermentation times are typically between 58-66 hours.
- Maturated for 5 years in ex-Bourbon Casks and then finished in 1/2 Size Virgin American Oak.
The 1/2 size Virgin American Oak casks are what many companies commonly refer to as Quarter Casks. They're generally about 100-125 litres, half the size of typical bourbon casks (about 200 litres), and a quarter of the size of typical sherry butts (about 475-500 litres).
- Nose (undiluted): very oak forward, plenty of sweet malty notes, and lots of vanilla and toffee punching through, spices like cinnamon and cardamom, perhaps a touch of green apple in the background
- Palate (undiluted): gentle arrival, then getting very bourbon-esque and a bit punchy (in a good way), loads of toasted oak, cinnamon, and vanilla
- Finish: medium length, honey, oak, vanilla, a bit of buttery croissant flavour near the end, which is pleasantly drying.
With water and a bit of time, the nose becomes apple pie! Lots of baked honeycrisp apples (I'm not trying to be pretentious, I promise), cinnamon and some rich, dark toffee. The palate loses some punch with water, and the finish is a bit less oaky. So adding water is going to be a personal choice; the nose is better with water, but the palate and finish are better neat. Of course, it may be time and not water that changed the nose. Although this was only a 50 ml sample, I tried it twice, 25 ml at a time, about 2 weeks apart.
This is an unapologetic, oak-forward whiskey. I can see The Dead Rabbit polarizing whiskey drinkers. The Dead Rabbit is oak-driven without making you feel like you're gnawing on a table. The pleasant, drying finish is exactly what I want in this type of whiskey. The Dead Rabbit is great on its own, but I can also picture a bottle of this whiskey on my table at a Saint Patrick's day gathering, poured into rocks tumblers and sipped - responsibly, of course - alongside a pint of Guinness or Kilkenny.