Ben Holladay Missouri Straight Rickhouse Proof Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


The Holladay brothers, Ben and David, founded a distillery in 1856 at a limestone well discovered by Lewis and Clark. It was named Blue Springs Distillery. It changed hands several times - first to George Shawhan, whose family named it the Shawhan Distillery in 1900. It changed in 1936 and was called the Old Weston Distillery before becoming McCormick Distilling Company in 1942. In 1993, the business was purchased by Ed Pechar and Mike Griesser.


McCormick Distilling is the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi River that still operates at its original location. During Prohibition, the distillery was also one of the few allowed to remain open to bottle medicinal whiskey. Now, the Holladay Distillery operates as part of McCormick Distilling.


This past June, I had an opportunity to review Holladay Soft Red Wheat Rickhouse Proof Bourbon. Today, I’m exploring Ben Holladay Missouri Straight Rickhouse Proof Bourbon. The first is a wheated Bourbon mash, while the latter is a traditional mash of corn, rye, and malted barley. Rickhouse Proof refers to the Bourbon’s barrel proof when dumped.


One of the things I respect about Holladay is its transparency. The Rickhouse Proof heralds from Warehouse C, which is a seven-floor rickhouse, and is a blend of six-year-old new, charred oak barrels from the following floors:


  • Floor 7 – 0%
  • Floor 6 – 0%
  • Floor 5 – 5%
  • Floor 4 – 22%
  • Floor 3 – 58%
  • Floor 2 – 15%
  • Floor 1 – 0%


All of that boils down to a 60.05% ABV (120.1°), and a 750ml package has a suggested price of $74.99. It was bottled on August 18, 2023.


Does Holladay Distillery have another winner? We’ll #DrinkCurious to find out after I thank them for providing me with a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Bourbon into my Glencairn glass and sipped it neat. Inside, the whiskey was the color of rust. The rim that formed was medium-thick and released wide, crooked tears.


Nose: The aroma comprised cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, and cherries. When I inhaled through my lips, I found nutmeg and roasted almonds.


Palate: The first sip was airy and had a bit of heat. The airiness remained on subsequent sips, yet the heat wholly disappeared. I encountered cinnamon, vanilla, and almonds on the front of my palate. The middle featured cherries, caramel, and corn. The back had flavors of black pepper, charred oak, and rye spice.


Finish: The finish is where the cinnamon, rye, and black pepper notes took center stage. Beneath those were cherries, thick caramel, roasted almonds, and charred oak. The long duration kept my tongue and throat warm.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: At a smidge over 120°, you’d expect it to affect your palate and head. Nope! While it is a spicy Bourbon for sure, it is neither hot nor do you “feel” the alcohol content. That throws this whiskey into my dangerous category. Drink it up and then try to stand. That’s when the proof becomes evident; you’re not driving yourself home anytime soon.


The great thing about it is you can taste what’s inside the glass versus leaving your hard and soft palates sizzling. And those flavors are bold and beautiful. Holladay’s Rickhouse Proof Bourbon is something to savor slowly. This is one of my favorite Bourbons this year, and while I loved the Soft Red Wheat Rickhouse Proof, this version eclipses that. Don’t miss out on this if you see it on the shelf. Grab yourself a Bottle. You won’t be disappointed. 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.