Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

I went to a barbecue on Memorial Day that a bartender friend of mine hosted and I went to the liquor store looking for something that she didn’t have on the shelf where she works that would be interesting to try. Seeing Chicken Cock Bourbon, the humor of such a brand name would definitely be an ice breaker with any attendees I didn’t know.

Turns out the brand has deep roots being first established in 1856 in Paris, Kentucky, a town tucked away in the heart of Bourbon County. During the 1920’s it was a staple of prohibition-era speakeasies, like the Cotton Club, where it was smuggled inside in non-descript tin cans, earning it the nickname, “the Whiskey in a tin can.” Unfortunately, the original distillery where Chicken Cock was made burned down in the 1950s, causing a decades long pause for the once great brand.

In 2011, Chicken Cock’s fortunes changed when spirits entrepreneur Matti Anttila discovered the brand while researching the early days of distillation in the U.S. Just a memory of yore at that time, Anttila decided that The Famous Old Brand was worthy of a rebirth, so he began buying the best aged-bourbons he could find and exploring the market for old relics leftover from the days when Chicken Cock was one of the country’s best known bands. From EBay to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown, he found a treasure trove of original bottles and promotional materials, allowing him to resurrect Chicken Cock for the 21st century.

Review: Chicken Cock
ABV: 45% (90 Proof)
Type:  Bourbon
Color: Mahogany
Age: 2 Years
Mash Bill: 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% malted barley
Distillery: Not Disclosed
Location: Paris, Kentucky (USA)

The Nose: The nose of Chicken Cock bourbon has a nice sweetness to it with notes of plantains, corn and a hint of vanilla. Subsequent bouquets reveal nuance of pound cake and banana.

The Experience: Caramel sweetness is dominant on the first sip and the sweetness carries over to finish. Subsequent sips reveal buttered corn, oak, and a touch of rye. The sweetness lingers on a finish that is medium in length and quite enjoyable.

The Pairing: We opted pair this with 7-20-4 due to the similarity of brand history. Originally made by R.G. Sullivan in my hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire the brand was named for its location of 724 Elm Street. In the early 1960’s the brand would become defunct, until it was resurrected by Kurt Kendall when he acquired the trademark in 2009.  Like Matti Anttila, Kurt Kendall purchased memorabilia and marketing items pertaining to the brand before bringing it back to life.  Today, he still seeks out historical items related to the brand.

The cigar features a 6 nation blend of tobaccos and is wonderfully complex with notes of molasses, wood and coffee. When paired with the Chicken Cock using the method of puff, then sip the bourbon sees more heat added along with more vanilla on the bourbon, specifically on the front end. Using the second method of sip then puff, sees no change. We never allow our pairing to affect our scoring, but if we did it would increase the score by 2 points as the first method enhances the bourbon experience.

Conclusion: I admit I purchased the bottle as more a gag than anything else which was risky considering the price. Turns out that this was a great purchase. The Chicken Cock bourbon was exceptionally smooth with a wide array of flavors. It might be too sweet for some, but this is an enjoyable bourbon that has become a staple in my home bar. I would love to try this at a higher proof which has me on the look out for their limited release barrel proof editions.

Score: 95
Price: $54.99 (New Hampshire)

 

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