The Rowan's Creek review
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Price: c. £45-£55
Rowan’s Creek bourbon is part of the Willett Distillery (KBD) small batch boutique bourbon collection, which was first released in the 1990’s. Originally a 12 year old release but now comes minus the age statement on the bottle (a familiar trend in bourbon today).
The Gents, using our renowned expertise (otherwise known as guessing) estimate the age of the juice to be around 8 years. Be careful when, and if, you chose to buy this bourbon as some very reputable selling websites still report this as being 12 years old - and we very much doubt that to be the case.
The name derives from the creek which runs through the distillery grounds. The creek itself is named after John Rowan, a 19th century politician and jurist from Kentucky. The wine bottle shape and overall design is, as you may expect, very similar to it's sister bourbon - Noah’s Mill (our review of which can be found here). We love the quirkiness and uniqueness of the proof level, 100.1% or 50.05% ABV. Unfortunately the mash bill is not released but it is clearly high rye bourbon, perhaps around about 25% of the overall recipe.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – Large amounts of raisin immediately on the nose which seems to us, to be a regular aroma from the KBD ranges. Very creamy with vanilla tones, faint whiffs of dark chocolate. It reminds Mav of the Dairy Milk fruit and nuts chocolate bar. A light and well disguised proof level.
What they say we should get - Caramel and vanilla layered on herbal and floral notes
What we got – Clearly it’s been in the barrel for several years and has an immediate aged oak taste, alongside the high rye standard pepper and spice hit, with a nutty after-taste. Coffee is also present after the initial visit.
What they say we should get - The mouth feel starts oily but finishes dry. On the palate you are treated to sweet caramel, vanilla, dusted in floral notes
What we got – A medium to long finish which does stick around on the tongue.
What they say we should get - Finishing notes of oak and a lingering spiciness
Without question this is an above average bourbon and, although listening back to our live review on the podcast it may have sounded overall somewhat negative, our scoring below certainly supports the former. It does however still disappoint on a number of levels. It is one dimensional, not overly complex (which can be perfectly acceptable on many occasions) and it could be argued that is is overpriced for what it delivers.
We are both fans of the Willett distillery and have given great scores to both the Willett Pot Still and Noah’s Mill. Regular readers/listeners will also know that Noah’s Mill is at the moment Mav’s all time No.1 bourbon.
There are much finer bourbons available out there below the current asking price of this bourbon, so we wouldn’t outright recommend this to others on taste alone, but of course taste is personal and your taste profile may love it. Try it in a bar if you can or buy a sample before you invest in a bottle.
6 out of 10 - Mav
7 out of 10 – Mr. Pie