Skip to main content

Rabbit Hole Rebrands and Launches New Whiskey

Louisville’s new Rabbit Hole distillery has been making some major moves over the past few months. In June, it was announced that French beverage company Pernod Ricard had acquired a majority stake in the distillery, adding it to a whiskey portfolio that already includes popular brands like Jameson and The Glenlivet. Now Rabbit Hole has unveiled a complete rebranding of its core lineup that gives each whiskey a new name, and a brand-new expression has been added as well.

rabbit hole rebrand lineup
Pernod Ricard

According to the brand, Rabbit Hole founder/distiller Kaveh Zamanian had all of this in the works well before the Pernod Ricard acquisition. “Knowing that the Rabbit Hole portfolio would continue to grow, we decided to give each of our spirits a distinctive name that evokes the ethos of Rabbit Hole,” said chief marketing officer Michael Motamedi in a prepared statement. The names certainly are distinctive, although perhaps a bit harder to remember from a branding perspective as they don’t exactly roll off of your tongue. The four-grain straight bourbon will now be called Cavehill after a Louisville cemetery where distillers have been buried; the straight rye will be called Boxergrail, “inspired by the greatest boxer and Louisvillian of all-time”; and the bourbon finished in sherry casks will be called Dareringer as a tribute to Zamanian’s wife.

“Knowing that the Rabbit Hole portfolio would continue to grow, we decided to give each of our spirits a distinctive name that evokes the ethos of Rabbit Hole.”

The newest product is called Heigold ($70), a high-rye bourbon with a mash bill of 70% corn, 25% malted rye, and 5% malted barley. Like the other products in the portfolio, this bourbon will be contract distilled while the distillery continues to produce and mature its whiskey. Heigold is aged for less than four years, non-chill filtered, and bottled at 95 proof. The whiskey was named after German immigrant Christian Heigold, a stonemason who achieved success in Louisville in the 19th century. The facade of his mansion is still standing today just east of downtown.

Pernod Ricard continues to invest in American whiskey — the company bought a majority stake in Smooth Ambler in 2016, and just last month acquired Texas distillery Firestone & Robertson. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the coming years, and how much time and energy is spent on these relative newcomers to the American whiskey scene.

Editors' Recommendations

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker is a freelance writer who covers booze, travel, food, and lifestyle. His work has appeared in a variety of…
The 10 Best Whiskies For Boulevardiers

Looking to up your cocktail game during quarantine, but not sure where to start? Well, say you want bourbon (because yes, bourbon is as much a summer liquor as it is a fall or winter one), and you want something boozy (because quarantine). Well, we have just the thing for you.

One of the biggest cocktail fads of the last few years has got to be the rise of the Negroni. This classic Italian aperitif combines gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and an orange slice, resulting in a refreshing and bittersweet libation ideal for warm afternoons and evenings.

Read more
Big Whiskey News: Brown-Forman Early Times is Sold to Sazerac
Whiskey in a glass

Early Times whiskey is celebrating its 160th year -- not a bad run for any brand -- but it was announced this week that Brown-Forman is selling the brand to Sazerac. Brown-Forman, which has owned Early Times since 1923, is unloading the whiskey brand along with Canadian brands Canadian Mist and Collingwood -- so it's possible that this deal is more about those than it is about Early Times. More people drink Early Times than you might think, as the brand claims that it is "the seventh-largest unflavored whiskey in the United States available in markets around the world."

“Early Times and Canadian Mist have been valued brands in our portfolio for many years, and they each have played significant roles in our company’s history,” said Lawson Whiting, president and CEO of Brown-Forman, in a prepared statement. “We are thankful to all the people who have distilled, bottled, shipped, marketed, and distributed these brands with care over the years.” Sazerac CEO and president also expressed his delight in acquiring what he called "iconic brands."

Read more
A Comparison of 3 New Batches of Barrel Strength Whiskey
Whiskey in a glass

Whiskey fans love to dissect their favorite releases, deciphering what flavors and aromas they can pick up on the nose and palate as they somberly consider just what makes the whiskey so good (or bad). And one especially fun way to do this is when whiskey is released in batches, from year to year or sometimes several times throughout the year. This way, you can really compare and contrast the difference between the casks selected to see how the differences in proof, age, and other factors affect your perception. And this is particularly when it comes to barrel proof whiskey, which truly captures the character of the liquid. Here are three recent barrel-proof whiskeys, each compared to its previous incarnation to see which comes out on top.
Templeton Rye

The difference between the 2019 and 2020 editions of Templeton's Barrel Proof Rye makes itself known with the first sip. The 2019 version of this 95% rye-sourced from MGP is slightly higher in proof -- 115.8 compared to 2020's 113.1. But the real difference is revealed on the palate. 2019 starts with a cherry blast, followed by big spice notes, with some cocoa to chase it down. 2020, on the other hand, is all about caramel and vanilla, with the baking spice flavors and even some menthol taking a supporting role. Overall, I found the 2020 to be the superior batch, with a slightly sweeter and softer palate and a silkier, more satisfying mouthfeel.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Read more