This review might strike some people as odd because it’s for a bourbon that was first released over 20 years ago; 1990 to be exact – Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Bourbon.
I don’t know if it was due to a perceived lack of audience, or if it had to do with red tape (Louisiana is famous for that), but either way, the bottle shop I work for didn’t receive Rock Hill until this past spring, and we’ve had difficulty getting restock shipments ever since. Additionally, I’ve yet to see it at another store in north Louisiana. Having read about Rock Hill online over the past couple years, I was eager to purchase a bottle once it arrived. Here’s what GreatBourbon.com had to say:
Named for the rich farmland along the Kentucky River, this 100 proof Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey honors its Bluegrass roots, defined by rich tradition and smooth bourbon.
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Bourbon is named after the home of former Buffalo Trace President Albert Blanton and shares the same mash bill (Buffalo Trace Mash #2) as a few other famous bourbons: Elmer T. Lee, Hancock’s President’s Reserve and Blanton’s, all of which happen to be single barrel releases. I love Elmer T. Lee and believe it to be one of the best values in bourbon today, and Blanton’s practically established the current market for single barrel bourbon. Acquiring that bit of knowledge was all it took to push me over the edge and purchase a bottle of Rock Hill.
My Nose Noticed: Sweet, spicy, slightly astringent. Some leather and a hint of roasted marshmallow on the end.
First Sip: Not as sweet as the nose implied; dark chocolate and tobacco. Dry.
The Burn: Upon my first sip I didn’t get much of a burn, however, after a few seconds I noticed a slight burn traveling in reverse, from my chest back up my throat, where it sat until my second sip. Makes me think this would be a good cold weather bourbon.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: Adding a splash of water took away the astringency in the nose and brought out aromas of vanilla and fruit cake, but it diluted the flavors a bit too much for my enjoyment, and it killed the burn. I say keep it neat.
Share With: Friends on a cold evening as the burn will help keep them warm, and Scotch drinkers who are new to bourbon, as the dryness and darker tasting notes remind me of a good Single Malt, but without the peat.
Worth The Price: It’s a tossup. I don’t regret paying what I did (close to $50), but at that price I will likely recommend other bourbons ahead of it.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Also a tossup. Personally, I say bar. Rock Hill Farms is a good bourbon, but at nearly $50 there are other bourbons in that price range I enjoy more.
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel is a good bourbon; it just isn’t $50 of good to me – at that price it should be great. I enjoyed drinking it, however, I get the same flavor profile from Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, but at nearly half the price.
Being from Louisiana, food and booze aren't just pastimes, they're a way of life. Jonathan considers himself to be a late bloomer to the world of libations, as he didn't have his first drink until he was 25, but he has spent much of his time since then trying to catch up. Since 2011 he has worked in retail alcohol sales, and more recently he has dove head first into the culinary world. When he isn't working, Jonathan enjoys cooking and sitting on the porch with good friends, fine whiskey, and a nice cigar.