Craft Distilleries

Every Chicken Cock Whiskey Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Feb 13, 2021 | Published on Feb 13, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Disclaimer: The whiskey reviewed was furnished for free courtesy of the spirit distiller. The distillery did not pay us for this review. This review is our honest and unbiased opinion based soley on how the spirit tasted.

Chicken Cock Whiskey, “The Famous Old Brand”, is made in collaboration with Bardstown Bourbon Co. in its Collaborative Distilling Program. However, Chicken Cock isn’t a new-to-the-scene whiskey brand. It was founded in 1856 in Paris, KY but hit its stride during Prohibition. It was the house whiskey at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem as drinkers would smuggle it in tin cans. Its nickname was on the nose — “The Whiskey in a Tin Can.”

However, Chicken Cock Whiskey demise came in the 1950s after World War II when a fire wiped out the original distillery. Thankfully, Grain & Barrel Spirits based in Charleston, SC revived the brand in 2016. The partnership with Bardstown Bourbon Co. was announced on September 10, 2018, and the first 616 barrels were laid down earlier that August.

According to Matti Anttila, CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits, “Joining the Collaborative Distilling Program at BBCo completes the exciting resurrection of Chicken Cock, one of the oldest bourbon brands in the country. The brand is now officially 100% back home in Kentucky, a mere 80 miles from Paris, where its story began 162 years ago. Working with the world-class team at BBCo we are confident that the brand’s best years are ahead of it.”

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Chicken Cock Bourbon Whiskey Review

Chicken Cock Bourbon Whiskey

Chicken Cock Bourbon Whiskey
Chicken Cock Bourbon WhiskeyDetails
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
Mashbill78% corn, 12% rye, 10% malted barley
74% corn, 18% rye, 8% malted barley
TypeBlend of Two Mashbills
AgeNAS – As a straight whiskey at least 2YO
Distilled byBardstown Bourbon Co.
1500 Parkway Dr.
Bardstown, KY 40004
Suggested MSRP$69.99
Owned ByGrain and Barrel Spirits
Charleston, SC
DistilleryChicken Cock Whiskey
ProsDelicate and Complex
ConsNeeds More of Everything. More Age. More Complexity. More Depth.
RatingSilver 85.6 out of 100 Points
AvailabilityOnline and Select Markets
InventoryBuy It Now

According to Chicken Cock,

Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a rich, elegant mahogany hue color, a nose with a nice balance of oak tones with sweet notes of dried fruit, caramel, and vanilla, and a taste that offers soft tannin up front, which dissipates into delightful toasted oak lactones. At 90 proof, there is a slight bourbon heat that lets you know this is a real-deal, full-bodied bourbon. On the tongue, it evolves with a creamy, almost buttery mouthfeel with sweet butterscotch notes followed by a wonderful vanilla wafer finish. The bourbon is bottled in a prohibition-era replica of the original Chicken Cock bottle.

Nose – 86 out of 100 Points

I smell bananas which I love in a whiskey. More traditional caramel note as well as a subtle warming nutmeg and a splash of citrus. It’s a delicate nose.

Taste – 85 out of 100 Points

It’s a light bourbon that’s pleasant with vanilla pudding with caramel swirls, classic baking spice, white pepper, and toasted oak. It’s superbly drinkable.

Finish – 85 out of 100 Points

The finish while smooth is more oak forward which is a nice flavor component. It’s intertwined with baking spicy and the light caramel.

Complexity – 86 out of 100 Points

Chicken Cock Bourbon is delicate, but I like the complexity and flavor profile. It offers some notes I enjoy in my bourbon. And isn’t whiskey a subjective thing in some ways?

Value – 86 out of 100 Points

I found the flavor profile interesting and complex. It’s something I could see myself purchasing again.

Verdict – Silver 85.6 out of 100 Points

Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey Review

Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey

Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey
Chicken Cock Rye WhiskeyDetails
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
Mashbill95% Rye and 5% Malted Barley
TypeStraight Rye
AgeNAS – As a straight whiskey at least 2YO
Distilled byBardstown Bourbon Co.
1500 Parkway Dr.
Bardstown, KY 40004
Suggested MSRP$69.99
Owned ByGrain and Barrel Spirits
Charleston, SC
DistilleryChicken Cock Whiskey
ProsDelicious Nose
ConsMore Depth on Palate and Finish
RatingBronze 83.8 out of 100 Points
AvailabilityOnline and Select Markets
InventoryTry It First

According to Chicken Cock,

Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey has a rich caramel color with a hue of dark orange. A nose with pepper, a hint of cinnamon, grassiness, and sweet oak lactones. A taste which offers a tremendous complexity of spices, vanilla, butterscotch, pepper with a hint of dryness and slight overtones of citrus and oak. Very long, slow peppery finish with a hint of sweet honey and a wonderful buttery mouthfeel. The whiskey is bottled in a prohibition-era replica of the original Chicken Cock bottle, non-chill filtered, 95% rye, and 90 proof.

Nose – 86 out of 100 Points

This rye whiskey is floral forward with subtle honey notes. That’s not surprising with a 95% rye mashbill. I also pick up vanilla, spearmint, and rye spice.

Taste – 83 out of 100 Points

The glass coverage looked great but the palate coverage didn’t carry over 100%. The front does have some creaminess. It reminds of a floral tea with milk. The sides of the palate feature white pepper and the back rye spice.

Finish – 85 out of 100 Points

The rye spice carries through the finish with just hints of floral honey.

Complexity – 84 out of 100 Points

I felt like the nose hinted at some good complexity with the interplay of multiple flavors even with a basic rye flavor profile. The palate and finish were far more straight cut and to the point.

Value – 81 out of 100 Points

As Shakespeare said, “Action is eloquence.” The doing of a thing is most of the thing, so bravo to Chicken Cock Rye Whiskey for resurrecting a beloved Prohibition brand, and it’s tasty. It lacks complexity and depth which makes it a hard sell at $69.99. On the flip side, I understand the higher price for newer distilleries. It’s vital for survival. I’d love a few more years to allow the flavors to develop. Last, the bottle is simple, yet it’s one of the sexiest bottles on the market.

Verdict – Bronze 83.8 out of 100 Points

Chicken Cock Whiskey Limited Releases

Chicken Cock Whiskeys Limited Edition

Outside of the two standard expressions, Chicken Cock Whiskey has released several limited releases whiskeys. Check them out below:

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.
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