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Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Review

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Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey has a rich caramel color with a hue of dark orange. Grain & Barrel Spirits
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Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey


  • DISTILLER: Released by Grain & Barrel Spirits and made in partnership with the Bardstown Bourbon Company as part of its collaborative distilling program.
  • MASH BILL: 95% Rye  |  5% Malted Barley
  • AGE: At least 2 years old since it's a straight rye whiskey
  • YEAR: 2020
  • PROOF: 90 Proof (45% ABV)
  • MSRP: $69.99
  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSE: Spearmint and Rye Grain | White Pepper | Lemon Cake | Ripe Pineapple

TASTE: Spearmint | Sweet Corn | Toasted Rye Bread | Citrus Peel

FINISH: Short and simple

SHARE WITH: Anyone who likes rye or those not used to rye’s spiciness.

WORTH THE PRICE: No. There are better ryes at $20 to $30 less. Sixty-nine dollars is a big ask for so simple a whiskey, not to mention one so young. Bottom line is it lacks complexity. The good news is its spice character and intriguing aromas bode well for a really solid whiskey at least two years from now. I’d love to try it then.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bar. If you like young, medium-proof rye, look for this at a bar. Try it neat as I don’t think it’ll stand out in a cocktail

OVERALL: This is a decent rye that checks all the boxes required of an American rye whiskey, but it needs more time in the barrel to gain complexity and character to make it worth its $69 price. Only a few drops of water blunted the whole presentation, which also shows its youth (perhaps 2-3 years.)

Learn more about Steve’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Grain & Barrel Spirits Launches New Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey 100% Distilled, Aged & Bottled in KY

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (April 7, 2020) – Grain & Barrel Spirits’ (“G&B”) has released Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey in select markets, “The Famous Old Brand’s” first Rye in more than 70 years. The introduction follows the fall 2019 launch of the brand’s anchor expression, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The reintroduction of a straight rye whiskey signals a return to pre-prohibition times when the classic spirit was more prevalent, while also honoring the brand’s history and heritage. 

Made in partnership with the Bardstown Bourbon Company as part of its collaborative distilling program, the new Straight Rye Whiskey was 100% distilled, aged, and bottled in the Bluegrass State. It’s a beautifully balanced non-chill filtered 95% rye whiskey, which features a caramel color with a hue of dark orange. The nose reveals a tremendous complexity of spices including pepper and cinnamon, with a hint of dryness and slight overtones of citrus and oak. A creamy, almost buttery mouthfeel is complemented by vanilla and butterscotch, followed by a long, slow peppery finish with a hint of sweet honey. At 90 proof (45% ABV), there is a slight, welcome heat. Like the new KY Straight Bourbon, the KY Straight Rye is bottled in a Prohibition-era Chicken Cock replica apothecary-style bottle.

“The number one question I’m asked since resurrecting Chicken Cock Whiskey is, where can I find it?” said Matti Anttila, founder of Grain & Barrel Spirits. “In the beginning, we were limited geographically by liquid so we were forced to allocate to a small group of select markets. Now, several years into the comeback, we’re able to broaden our distribution with our two top quality, everyday expressions – first, our Kentucky Straight Bourbon and now our Kentucky Straight Rye. Both of these will be the cornerstones of the brand as it rolls out nationally throughout 2020.”

Established in 1856 in Paris, Kentucky (10 years before Jack Daniels), Chicken Cock rose to fame as the house whiskey at The Cotton Club, one of Prohibition’s most legendary speakeasies. Known as “The Famous Old Brand” and “The Whiskey in a Tin Can,” Chicken Cock was smuggled into the Club in sealed tin cans, then ceremoniously opened table-side. After Prohibition, the brand enjoyed a resurgent couple of decades before a distillery fire just after World War II put it out of business. In 2012, Matti Anttila rediscovered the brand and set out to resurrect it to its Prohibition-era glory. Master Distiller Gregg Snyder was enlisted to provide the knowledge and experience needed to help achieve that goal. Snyder’s résumé includes distilling, cooperage, and executive positions with Brown-Forman, Austin Nichols, as well as board positions with the Associated Cooperage Industries of America, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, and others. 

Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is now available for the suggested retail price of $69.99 per 750ml bottle online and in the following markets: FL, IL, KS, KY, MO, NY, OK, SC, and TN, with broader national distribution to follow shortly. 


Disclaimer: Grain & Barrel Spirits provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Coomes is a Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer. In his 27-year career, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. As a spirits writer, Steve's byline can be found in Whisky magazine, Bourbon Review, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter.
Read Steve's full profile.

About the Author
Steve Coomes

Steve Coomes

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Steve Coomes is a Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer. In his 27-year career, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. As a spirits writer, Steve's byline can be found in Whisky magazine, Bourbon Review, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter. Read Steve's full profile.

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