This Rock Hill Farms Bourbon review will highlight the distillery producing the spirit, the mash bill, and the history of the spirit. It’s a new-ish bourbon (first released in 1990) from the Buffalo Trace distillery. The name is a nod to the farmland surrounding the Kentucky River, and the home of former Buffalo Trace president Albert Blanton. In this Rock Hill Farms Bourbon review, we will also touch on why a distillery using limited mash bills for a wide range of products presents a unique opportunity for bourbon drinkers.
Rock Hill Farms Bourbon followed the success of the first Blanton’s single barrel offering in 1984. Prior to Blanton’s, distillers blended their bourbons from multiple barrels for consistent flavor. Two barrels that age in different areas of a warehouse will have substantial differences. Traditional wisdom said that consumers wanted bourbon that tasted the same in every bottle, year after year.
Mass-produced bourbons still blend, because consistency is important in commercial settings and in cocktails. But Age International, the owners of the Blanton’s brand, discovered that some bourbon enthusiasts enjoyed discovering subtleties and pure flavor in their glasses. As Blanton’s single barrel became more popular, they developed the Rock Hill Farms brand, which is also a single barrel, but aged longer and at a higher proof.
Rock Hill Farms Bourbon Review
This single barrel bourbon is the highest proof mash bill #2 offered; it bottles at 100 proof with the same mash bill as Buffalo Trace as Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee. It doesn’t come with an age statement, but rumors say it’s barrel-aged for 8-10 years. For these higher-end bourbons without age statements, the distiller ages to taste, rather than by time. To clarify, if a bourbon doesn’t taste up to standards after eight years, they’ll leave it for an additional few years.
Even though it’s 100 proof, it doesn’t show up in the glass with an intense burn. It’s dry, with the expected notes of chocolate, tobacco, and dark caramel. On the nose, you’ll notice some roasted marshmallow and lingering sweetness. With a few drops of water, you’ll open up the palate and get some floral and mint notes.
Consider decanting part or all of your bottle of Rock Hill Farms Bourbon. Oxidizing the spirit brings out some more interesting notes that’ll further differentiate the spirit from other mash bill #2 products. You’ll get notes of burnt orange, rock candy, and pepper with less of the rye. The oakiness of age comes with bright citrus notes and hints of peach. This is a great pour for a die-hard Scotch whisky drinker if you’re trying to win them over with American bourbons. Or, for a die-hard bourbon drinker, you’re introducing to scotch. It’s dry with a slow-building warmth and without scotch’s trademark peat.
Part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery
If you’re a bourbon lover, you may already know that Buffalo Trace Distillery puts out some of the most popular brands in American bourbon today. They use four different mash bills to generate a product line of almost fifty unique whiskies. That lineup includes the much-lauded and impossible-to-find Pappy Van Winkle.
Buffalo Trace and the Sazerac Company (who partnered with Age International) continued to focus on making high-quality limited release bourbons. The downside is that it’s difficult to find bottles, and you’re likely to pay absurd markups for what is considered good, but not exceptional, bourbon.
Why is the distillery important?
When you learn which distilleries make specific bourbons and ryes, you can build your own personal catalog of favorites. For example, if you love Blanton’s and George T. Stagg, then you love Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2. That’s the same mash bill used to make Rock Hill Farms Bourbon. Buffalo Trace distilleries use one of two mash bills for the bourbons: one for rye, and one for wheated bourbon. This mash bill includes slightly more rye grain than the one used in Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, and George T. Stagg.
And, slightly more is just slightly more. Mash bill #1 has less than 10 percent rye (probably) and mash bill #2 uses between 10-12 percent (again, probably). We say probably because they keep the actual recipes secret. Buffalo Trace releases the grains used, but not the specific percentages.
The mash bill is just one part of what creates its diverse product line. Different brands age in different warehouses on different levels, and for different periods of time. They blend some brands, while others are single barrel offerings. They all come out at different proofs. But, if you like one brand from a distillery, you can try their other products with confidence.
Rock Hill Farms Bourbon Appreciation on Instagram
You won’t see as many reviews for Rock Hill Farms as you will for some of Sazerac’s other single barrel bourbons. It’s difficult to find outside of Kentucky, and even more difficult to find at a fair price. As far as single barrels offerings go, it’s less known than some others from the same distillery. We’ve rounded up a few influencers, however, who know a good thing when they see it.
@njbourbonhunt Has A Theory of What’s Good
“The first rule of bourbon club is, if there’s a horse on the bottle, it has to be good.”
We Agree With @threeburnersburning
“Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Bourbon. Smooth, rich, and medium to long finish — a good pour.”
@whiskeyeejit Enjoys a Midweek Pour
“Thirsty Thursday and the pony has arrived! I’ve been trying to get a bottle for ages, definitely one of the most enjoyable drams I’ve had in a while!”
We Also Think @the_bourbon_bandit Is Lucky
“So. Damn. Good. Rock Hill Farms is another single barrel offering from @buffalotrace and is the highest proof out of the famous mash bill number 2 single barrel group. I feel lucky to have this bottle back in the home bar ?Cheers my bourbon people!! ????”
@whiskeyinfidel Knows Good Bourbon
“Another bottle I’ve been hunting (a fair price) for – Rock Hill Farms. This is a lesser-known single barrel concoction from Buffalo Trace and their illustrious mash bill #2…This might be my favorite of mash bill number 2… this seems like a must-have for bourbon fans.”
Final Notes on Rock Hill Farms Bourbon
If you’re a fan of Buffalo Trace Distillery and curious about the different expressions of their mash bill #2, then the bottle is worth it at any price you can find it. Decant it next to Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee and you can taste a vertical of mash bill #2 at 6, 8, and 12 years. And if you’re looking for lesser-known staples for your home bar, Rock Hill Farms Bourbon may become a new favorite.