RD1 Spirits: Flagship, French Oak, Double Finish, and Amburana Finish Review & Tasting Notes


Being first can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. There is a sense of adventure. There may also be a tinge of impending doom. Regardless, when you’re first, you get bragging rights.


The year was 1865, and the Ashland Distillery became the first federally licensed distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. It was assigned RD#1 (not to be confused with DSP-KY-1, registered to Beargrass Distillery, now Heaven Hill). In 1871, it was sold to William Tarr. In 1879, a fire broke out and destroyed the facility. It was rebuilt and called the William Tarr Distillery. This new, upgraded operation became one of Kentucky’s most prolific.


In 1901, Kentucky Distilling & Warehouse Co.. also known as The Whiskey Trust, purchased the William Tarr Distillery. Tarr and his family re-acquired the distillery. In 1892, he bought the neighboring Lexington Distillery, took its entire inventory, and demolished it.


In 1897, Tarr’s financial troubles became problematic. In 1899, the Willaim Tarr Distillery was sold at auction and purchased by a straw bidder for the Stoll family, who were also involved in The Whiskey Trust. They sold off all of its assets after paying only $60,001 for it. Then, in 1902, Stoll & Company was incorporated and acquired multiple distilleries. In 1909, Maurice Greenbaum, also part of The Whiskey Trust, purchased all of the whiskey inventory held in Tarr’s warehouses.


In 1919, Prohibition passed and forced the distillery to shutter. But that wasn’t the end of the story. In 1920, “unknown” thieves overpowered the warehouse guards and stole the remaining whiskey barrels. Fires and repurposing took care of what was left of the distillery.


In 2020, RD1 Spirits was founded to revive the history behind the distillery bearing RD#1. It released whiskeys bearing Old Wm Tarr and Manchester Reserve labels. Then, in 2022, it began selling RD One as its core Bourbon offering.


Today, we’re exploring four expressions: the RD One Kentucky Straight Bourbon, RD One Finished With French Oak, RD One Double Finished in Oak and Maple Barrels, and RD One Finished With Brazilian Amburana Wood.


This should be an exciting #DrinkCurious opportunity. I thank RD One Spirits for providing me with samples of each whiskey in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


For the record, I sipped each of these neat in a fresh Glencairn glass and clean palate.


Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Flagship)



This is the base of all the RD One Bourbons. It begins with a mashbill of 70% all Kentucky-grown corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley and utilized Kentucky limestone well water. Packaged at 49% ABV (98°), it has a suggested price of $59.99.


Appearance: The liquid inside my glass looked like a new copper penny. A medium rim created a watery curtain of tears.


Nose: I smelled buttercream, vanilla, cedar, and almonds. Inhaling through my lips offered more buttercream.  


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and oily. I found clover honey, vanilla, and roasted almonds on the front of my palate. The middle had cinnamon, toasted oak, and orange zest. On the back, I tasted white pepper, candied ginger, and clove.


Finish: The finish was long and lingering with candied ginger, white pepper, corn, toasted oak, and cinnamon spice.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: RD One Kentucky Straight Bourbon is proofed correctly and flavorful.  It has enough character to keep things interesting. It is priced correctly for its age and proof.  As such, this one is rated a Bottle.




Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished With French Oak



RD One took its flagship Bourbon and finished it with French oak staves. At 50% ABV (100°), you can expect to pay about $69.99 for a 750ml package. It, too, carries a 4+ year age statement.


Appearance: This whiskey was the color of caramel. It formed a husky rim and produced long, thick tears.


Nose: The aroma comprised rich caramel, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and berries. Drawing the air through my lips, I found milk chocolate.


Palate: This Boubon’s texture had a medium weight and was watery. I tasted heavy caramel, cocoa powder, and almonds. The middle featured tobacco leaf and berry fruit, while the back had bold oak and clove flavors.


Finish: Shockingly, the finish was shorter than its flagship sibling. It started strong but fell off quickly with smoked oak, tobacco leaf, and dark chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This incarnation of RD One was less intriguing than the Flagship whiskey. I enjoy French oak finishes. For whatever reason, it didn’t pull through on this Bourbon. Perhaps it wasn’t first-fill staves? I can only guess. This is a challenging sell at $69.99, lacking a wow factor. I’m giving this a Bar rating as well.  



Kentucky Straight Bourbon Double Finish in Oak and Maple Barrels



RD One took the French oak-finishing staves and steeped them in a second finish, this time in former maple syrup barrels. It weighs in at 49.95% ABV (99.9°), and a 750ml bottle has a suggested price of $69.99. The 4+ year age statement carried through.


Appearance: This Bourbon had a bronze color. The massively thick rim unloaded slow, sticky droplets.


Nose: If there was any question that maple syrup staves were used, those were thrown out the window. Even while the whiskey was resting in the glass, that aroma filled the air of my whiskey library. When I brought the glass closer to my face, I smelled molasses, maple syrup, and butterscotch. It was a heavenly combination. Drawing that air into my mouth brought pure molasses.  


Palate: I encountered a thinner mouthfeel and tasted maple syrup, brown sugar, and corn on the front of my palate. The middle offered mocha and charred oak, while the back included black pepper, caramel, and butterscotch.


Finish: Long and lingering, the finish included black pepper, butterscotch, mocha, and charred oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The French oak finish was okay, but I enjoyed this Double Finished Bourbon. Several layers of flavors added complexity that held my interest. Would I pay $69.99 for it? I believe this is justified and am happy to crown it with my Bottle rating.  




Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished With Brazilian Amburana Wood



Once fully matured, the flagship Bourbon was finished with Amburana wood staves that were honeycomb drilled to provide as much interaction between the whiskey and wood as possible. At 55% ABV (110°), a 750ml package can be acquired for about $69.99. This Bourbon also has a 4+ year age statement.


Appearance: We’re back to a Bourbon possessing a copper color. The thinner rim released thick, wavy legs that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: Any whiskey finished in Aburana wood should carry a smell of cinnamon. RD One was no different. It was joined by caramel, apples, and cooked peaches. The nose was enchanting. When I inhaled the vapor into my mouth, I encountered a wave of crème brulee.  


Palate: The texture was medium-thin, and cinnamon was the first note I picked up. The front also included apples and vanilla. I tasted candied corn, ginger, and almonds at mid-palate. The back tasted of charred oak, peaches, and brown sugar.


Finish: The Amburana wood finish held on the longest of the four. Apples and cinnamon dominated – that was pretty much expected. But I also found almonds, peaches, candied corn, and ginger. It was a long finish, yet not as long as the flagship.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This expression is, by far, my favorite of the four. I tasted a plethora of flavors, all of which complimented the next. It was perfectly proofed, allowing me to taste everything without being overwhelmed. I loved this Bourbon. I don’t care what it costs; it earns my Bottle rating. 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 to do so responsibly.



  1. Great review, definitely agree with the Amburana. It's a must have for me.


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