Chicken Cock may have a funny name for a whiskey; however, what’s inside the bottle is no joke. It is one of the oldest Bourbon labels around. Founded in 1856 in Paris, Kentucky, the label survived Prohibition before a fire devastated the distillery in the 1950s. Then, in 2013, the brand was relaunched by Grain and Barrel Spirits.
Grain and Barrel Spirits entered into a collaborative distilling agreement with Bardstown Bourbon Company in 2017, bottling Chicken Cock ever since.
Today I’m exploring Chicken Cock Island Rooster. The mashbill is 95% rye and 5% malted barley. So, what’s Island Rooster all about?
“Island Rooster is a limited edition Kentucky Straight Rye finished in rum barrels. Inspired by a trip to the Caribbean, where roosters announce the coming day, we decided to finish 25 barrels of our Signature Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey in Caribbean rum casks. The result is a relaxing blend of spicy notes from the rye with candied molasses notes from the rum barrels. Sun and sand meets the Bluegrass state.” – Chicken Cock Whiskey
It carries no age statement, but we know that’s at least two years because it is straight. And, because of the lack of the statement, we know that’s a minimum of four. We do know the finishing process was six months. This Rye is bottled at 95°, and a 750ml package runs $199.99. It is an apothecary-style embossed bottle that comes with a metal cap.
Distribution is limited to CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, NY, SC, TN, TX, and WI, but if you’re not in those states, you can acquire it from the distillery, its website, or ReserveBar.
I’ve reviewed Chicken Cock whiskeys before. Of the standard releases, I preferred the Rye over the Bourbon. Finishing, of course, takes this into another realm altogether.
Before I start tasting this whiskey, I must thank Grain and Barrel Spirits for providing me with this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and dive deep.
Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, Island Rooster presented as copper. A micro-thin rim created tiny, sticky droplets that clung to the wall.
Nose: Despite the finishing process, the first thing I smelled was dill. It was dominating, making it difficult to nail down others. However, after effort, my olfactory sense plucked floral perfume, brown sugar, and freshly cut grass. Oak was buried beneath all those notes. When I pulled the air into my mouth, I discovered molasses, obviously due to the rum casks.
Palate: A silky texture led to various flavors, including molasses, toasted oak, and vanilla on the front, while butterscotch, maple syrup, and candied orange slices formed the middle. The back became spicy with black pepper, nutmeg, and more oak.
Finish: What remained was in no rush to leave. Butterscotch and black pepper made most of the finish, making it pleasantly sweet and spicy.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Island Rooster comes across as young. There’s not any sort of harshness to it as can occur with some younger Ryes, yet nothing has mellowed as older Ryes do. It is enjoyable, but what’s there doesn’t justify the price. I would highly recommend buying a pour at a good whiskey Bar first. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.