RowanS Creek Bourbon 750ml
Rowan’s Creek, despite listing “Rowan’s Creek Distillery” as the bottler on the label, is a brand owned by Willett (formerly known as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers or KBD) and sourced from somewhere else. It is straight Kentucky bourbon, bottled at the obnoxious ABV of 50.05%, presumably so they can say it’s 100.1 proof. Y tho? The whisky is named after the creek that runs through the Willett distillery grounds.
Apparently, the bottle used to boast a 12-year age statement but does no longer. It is instead a small batch vatting of purportedly 5-15-year-old barrels. This switch may account for some older reviews online praising the consistency and quality of the bourbon, which seems to have, erm, slipped. Nobody online seems to know where Rowan’s Creek is actually distilled, or what its mash bill is, or when or if it will switch over to distillate from the Willett Family’s distillery, which opened and began distilling in 2012. I’ve seen some guesses that it might be Heaven Hill and that it might be a high-rye mash bill, but those are both unsubstantiated.
This Rowan’s Creek Bourbon Takes Its Namesake From The Creek That Still Runs Through Our Distillery. Back In The Late 1700S When John Rowan First Settled Around Bardstown, Whiskey Makin’ Was The Order Of The Day. John Went On And Made A Name For Himself As A Well Respected Judge And Statesmen. The Judge Is Long Since Gone, But The Creek That Still Bears His Name Is Still Carrying The Best Limestone Spring Water There Ever Was For Making Good Bourbon, So You Know The Whiskey Makin’ Is Still Going On. Try A Sip Of It, Straight Up In A Snifter, Or Add A Dab Of Branch Water If You Like. Either Way, It’s The Very Best There Is.
Sweet, unctuous bourbon with a corn-heavy sweetness up front, and a dense oak profile. After a rest in the glass, it’s still fairly shy.
Medium-bodied. Powerful tongue burns, as expected for 100 proof. Oaky, with a dark sappy sweetness and a heavy dose of concentrated rye spices. Reminds me of a bit of allspice dram with all the clove and pumpkin-spice flavor.
Medium-long. A continuation of the oak-dominated sweetness from the palate. Fades gradually without evolving.
Several drops of water seem to have no effect on the aroma or palate. They do add a welcome nuttiness to the finish. Water optional, but not a terrible idea.
Despite the deceptive complexity of the oak-derived flavors there isn’t much else going on here. The dose of rye spice is patchy and inconsistent, and the sugar notes are one-dimensional.