The latest release from Louisville-based Rabbit Hole Distillery is their Nevallier Founder’s Collection Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in French Oak.
Nevallier is the fourth expression in Rabbit Hole Founder’s Collection, following last year’s Raceking Chocolate Malt Bourbon Whiskey.
With Nevallier, Rabbit Hole Founder and Master Distiller Kaveh Zamanian explores the impact of French oak maturation on bourbon. This limited-edition bourbon aged for 16 years, with 15 years in new charred American oak barrels before a full year of finishing in new French Oak barrels made by Tonnellerie Leroi, one of France’s top cooperages.
Nevallier began with a selection of ten Kentucky high-rye bourbons chosen by Kaveh from the private collection he began curating before he founded Rabbit Hole.
Forest of origin played a role in the choice of oak that Kaveh selected for the barrels to be used in finishing. Given that the terroir and climate of a region affect the density of the wood’s grain and the manner in which the wood imparts its oak flavors, he ultimately selected oak from the Nevers and Allier forests of central France. There, the woods are of medium-to-tight grain and release the region’s characteristic oak flavors slowly, the company says, while imparting the soft tannic structure that discerning winemakers have long favored.
“It’s not a cliché for me to say that I go down ‘rabbit holes’ to challenge what bourbon is and what it can be,” Kaveh says. “This element of exploration and a willingness to take risks is exactly what our Founder’s Collection represents. With Nevallier, I set out to explore how bourbon could be transformed by French Oak, and the result is a whiskey that is completely unique in relation to the other whiskeys I have produced. Nevallier nudges bourbon past its traditional borders and it is my hope that this one-of-a-kind spirit expands the perception of bourbon among those who have a deep appreciation for fine whiskey.”
Nevallier has aromatics of custard, orange, cherry and caramel, the company reports. On the palate is tobacco, vanilla, fig, blackcurrant, spice and cinnamon, before a finish of spice and floral notes.
Rabbit Hole Nevallier Founder’s Collection is available in June at retail shops. A total of 1,155 sequentially-numbered bottles will release for a suggested retail price of $895 per 750-ml. bottle.
This cask strength offering is 115.8 proof.
Each is bottle is individually numbered and features a gold cork inside a wooden box with magnetic front and back panels that may be removed to display the whiskey.