When people talk bourbon, it’s often a combination of process, history, and myth. But Rabbit Hole is a little different…without any of that old-timey history, it leans into its modern origins and looks to create its own stories.
As crazy as it sounds, Rabbit Hole was my first distillery visit since moving to Louisville two years previously that *wasn’t* work-related. As my job is in the spirits industry, I get to visit many of our distilleries regularly (including a couple in Louisville), so it was cool to branch out and try something new.
I’d been dying to get out and explore more of the Louisville distilleries, and planned to do one every few weeks, starting with Rabbit Hole on March 10th, 2020…well, you might remember what happened in mid-March. Yep, a couple days before everything shut down. This was my last “normal” experience out in the world before masks, thermometers, and quarantines.
I’d been planning to visit with a few co-workers, but ended up solo at the last minute. I was able to easily find street parking and walked inside. After perusing the retail shop for a few minutes, they called the group over and gave us a little welcome cocktail.
COVID Caveat: As any human knows these days, what’s open and what’s allowed can change at a moment’s notice. Make sure you visit their official website for opening times and to understand what the experience will really be like, and I recommend booking ahead for now.
I’ll dive in more, but here are my quick hit thoughts on the Rabbit Hole experience:
- Pros: Small tour groups (10 max), a brand-new beautiful industrial distillery, and a cool bar with a nice view.
- Cons: I think for me it felt a bit…empty? I can’t quite find the right word, but just kind of light. It was built specifically with tourism in mind but there didn’t feel like much to see and not much of a story besides that.
A group of maybe 8 of us gathered around Adam and got started. The tour schpiel talks a lot about “transparency and authenticity”.
The tour is structured through the stages of distilling and maturation, with little glimpses of the process from time to time.
I do always love a good mash tub…that smell is *kisses fingers, compliments to the chef*.
One of the biggest things Rabbit Hole Distillery talks about that makes them different is that they don’t have a master distiller. Instead, they use a committee. It’s a really interesting idea. I don’t have a good enough palate myself to tell whether it makes any difference, but it makes me curious about how it works (and how you achieve the consistency needed).
They have a large spirit safe on display, created as a showpiece (they’re not legally required anymore). What’s a spirit safe, you ask? Well, they don’t normally look like this, but basically it was a way to control and measure a distillery’s production for taxes. Gotta pay The Man.
It’s got a mesmerizing fountain feel to it. Fountain of alcohol…
The inside of the main portion of the distillery is very open and industrial, and really cool looking. I’m a complete sucker for those tall copper column stills—just so beautiful!
Finally, Adam led us up to the top floor for our tasting. It was well done and Adam was knowledgeable about the different expressions. It was a pretty quick tasting, and then we were on our own.
The top floor of the distillery is a beautiful bar, called OverLook. It has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Butchertown neighborhood and looking out at the Big Four Bridge. The vibe is very cool, with beautiful decor, eclectic art, and a cocktail menu designed by the famous Death and Co bar team.
Even if you don’t have time for a full tour, or if you just want to have a drink with a friend, you can visit the bar itself without a tour ticket. After my tasting I stayed to enjoy the view and try out an interesting-sounding tiki cocktail. Little did I know (on March 10th, 2020) it would by my last cocktail at a bar for a very long time…
Other boozy adventures you’ll love:
- Touring Ireland’s Jameson Distillery
- On the Scotch Whisky Trail: GlenDronach, BenRiach, Glenglassaugh
- Wineries to Visit in Sonoma County, California
- A Weekend of Wine in Willamette Valley
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