Review: Rock Hill Farms

I’ve only stumbled upon this bourbon in store twice.  The first time, the manager tried to sell it to me for $150, telling me that was a great deal.  Needless to say, I declined politely and went on my way.  The second time, I found it for a more reasonable $69.99 and I jumped on it.  That was six months ago.  It’s sat in my closet, untouched, waiting for a reason to open it.  While it’s not necessarily a special bottle by any means, there was something about it that I thought it should be saved for something special.  Last week a friend of mine had a bit of good fortune and with the news, we decided to crack it and see what it was all about, a celebration pour if you will.

The bottle is eye-catching to say the least.  The over-sized stopper and the square bottle with the intricate gold and white horse and the scenery that goes around the entire bottle is something that you don’t see very often with non-limited releases.  Rock Hill Farms is another allocated bottle from Buffalo Trace (then again, the list of non-allocated Buffalo Trace bottles would probably be shorter these days) and as such is rather difficult to find.  Most stores around me will get somewhere between one and six bottles if they get any at all.  I just got lucky when I found mine and they had just placed it out on the shelf a couple hours earlier.  Rock Hill Farms shares the same mash bill (#2) with Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee of which I enjoy both, but am not necessarily impressed by, so I was very interested to see how this would stack up.

The nose is very interesting with notes of leather and dark fruit with just a hint of oak.  The palate opens up with pear and berries then switches to cinnamon and oak with just a faint taste of tobacco.  The bourbon coats the palate and lingers with a warm rye spice finish, traces of mint and oak fade away slowly.  I find myself taking quite a while to finish this pour as it seems to change ever so slightly with each additional sip.

I quite enjoy this bourbon.  It’s a shame that bottles like this are so hard to find in the wild as I would probably keep this in stock as a daily drinker.  Between Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee, I’d rank this above both with Blanton’s being a close second.  It’s got a little more complexity going on than the bottles of Blanton’s I’ve had and I don’t even know if Elmer T. Lee is close enough to compare, despite being the same mash bill.  Rock Hill Farms being 100 proof would put it more in line with Blanton’s Gold which I feel is pretty similar, but unavailable in the States.  Overall a great pour and if you have the opportunity to try it or snag a bottle for less than $75, I’d say go for it.  Any more than that and you may be a little disappointed, but I seem to feel that way about most bourbons above the $50-60 price point.

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