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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey

A friend recently gifted me a bottle of Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey. I've enjoyed their bourbon; will their rye whiskey win me over, too? 



The Brand with the Funny Name


The Chicken Cock brand dates to the mid-1850s where it was first distilled in Paris, Kentucky. As bourbon grew in popularity during and following Prohibition, it peaked when it was selected as the house whiskey at the Cotton Club in Harlem - home to jazz greats of the day. The brand disappeared from shelves during the 1950s.  In 2013, Grain & Barrel resurrected the brand and sales began again. Initial releases utilized sourced bourbon from MGP. Then, in 2018, operations were moved to Bardstown Bourbon Company's Collaborative Distilling Program. 


The Tasting    


Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey is bottled at 90 proof from a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. While no age statement is present, it is labeled as "straight whiskey" and we can assume the finished product has been aged at least 4 years. Lastly, the whiskey utilizes non-chill filtration, allowing more of the natural oils and esters to remain. 


The product is branded in a pre-Prohibition-style bottle with the "Famous Old Brand" rooster and the bottle that is ribbed with simulated chicken wire fencing.


From the website, we’re told that "the first Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye in over 70 years is now available for purchase. Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey has a rich caramel color with a hue of dark orange." 


Color:  The color is spot-on - a lovely sunlit orange. Legs of whiskey are tightly spaced around the inside of my Bardstown Bourbon Company Glencairn glass.


Nose: Warm vanilla, brown sugar and honey are present.


Palate:  Vanilla and orange peel, with spearmint on the backside. For 95% rye, this is very  smooth and creamy.   

 

Finish:  Vanilla and citrus ending in a medium-long finish of oak char and rye spice.


Overall: Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey is priced at $49 at a big-box regional liquor store. While there are other, less-expensive rye whiskeys, I love the story and the brand - and the whiskey. This is not super complex, but the bottle does look great and makes an interesting story to share with friends. While many rye whiskeys are the foundation for a cocktail, I'd probably save this for a neat pour. I'd fear the smoothness and lower-proof would be drowned-out in a cocktail.

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