Scotch VS Scotch : Michter’s Sour Mash Toasted Barrel VS Rabbit Hole Heigold

I know this head-to-head doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense on the surface but let me explain why I’m reviewing these two bottles together. Reason number one? I received both of these bottles for free in the mail. Full disclosure, that’s what’s up. Reason number two? Low entry proofs. Both of these companies throw their hooch into the barrel well below the classic 125 proof. It’s a guideline, not a requirement. And reason number three? Convenience, really lol. Just kidding! Both of these have a classic rival (for the rabbit hole, there’s the four grain and for the sour mash toasted barrel, there’s the classic sour mash) that’s worth mentioning. I love the “classic rivals” as I just called them but every bottle really should be judged on its own merits.

It’s CNPF time! Let’s do this!!

Michter’s Sour Mash Toasted Barrel (MSMTB) at 43% ABV versus the Rabbit Hole Heigold (RHH) at 47.5% ABV.

The MSMTB is the classic sour mash, finished in toasted barrels.

The RHH is a new high rye mashbill out of Rabbit Hole to celebrate immigrant Christian Heigold.

COLOR
The RHH is a dirty, oiled gold versus the cleaner gold color of the MSMTB.

NOSE
Rich vanilla with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of oak rise from the MSMTB versus the more spearmint caramel I’m getting from the RHH. That’s an interesting smashup of flavors in the RHH. With water, the MSMTB has vanilla blasting forward and it’s smells rounder, softer, and sweeter. With that same water, the RHH nose becomes super subdued.

PALATE
The MSMTB is drier than the rich nose on the palate with a smattering of baking spices jumping to the front of the palate. With water, the palate gets softer and is not as sweet as the nose though the baking spice relaxes quite a bit. The RHH is made from a mashbill that includes 25% rye and really smacks a rye spice pie in your face with just a hint of dill hiding in the background. With water, the rye mellows a bit but really isn’t as strongly affected as the sweetness in the MSMTB.

FINISH
The MSMTB finishes with a handful of astringent mint and is light and a bit short. The RHH is a freshly baked loaf of rye bread and still finishes like toasted rye bread with water.

I was hoping the MSMTB would be a souped up version of the Sour Mash but the flavors added by the toasted barrel aren’t really so amazing that I’d seek it out over the classic Sour Mash. And the RHH isn’t really my jam. I’m not a heavy rye spice person and tend to love much sweeter ryes. This bottle will be fantastic for folks who love MWND and the like. In contrast, I tend to enjoy rye bottlings like Wilderness Trail Rye, High West Rendezvous Rye, and the Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye. Hopefully that gives you a better picture of where my palate is coming from.

So it looks like I’ll be sticking to the Rabbit Hole four grain and PX finish and the Michter’s Sour Mash.

What do you think? πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend!!

-Sniff