Rowan’s Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
100.1 Proof, Willett Distillery
All right. So I’m shopping in my usual package store, which by the way draws what has to be the least uplifting clientele in town but has a decent inventory of bourbon (and the city’s best beer selection), grinding over what bottle to buy, when someone comes up next to me and says something. He’s wearing a tie so he must be a liquor rep, I’m thinking, (because no employee there wears a tie, and none of them would go out of their way to help you, either), but I can’t be sure. He sees me eyeing the Rowan’s Creek, a bourbon I tried a few years back but don’t really remember.
“That’s my absolute favorite,” he says. “It’s the best bourbon I’ve ever had.”
So I bought it.
The point of this little story is not to impugn this guy’s opinion or demonstrate my susceptibility to suggestion, but to illustrate how subjective—and relative—taste is (Why is it his favorite? How many bourbon’s has he tried?).
Anyway, to the point, the Rowan’s Creek did not become my favorite, nor was it anywhere near the best bourbon I’ve tried. But for him, I will say he could do worse. The Rowan’s has a unique upfront sniff of spice, cocoa powder and nuts, then breaks into a big caramel, vanilla and nutmeg dance. It’s a heady, lively bourbon for the price ($30-$35), but doesn’t have the depth or complexity to kick it up to the next level where bourbons get really interesting.
Rowan’s Creek has always been a sourced bourbon (from Heaven Hill?) under the umbrella of Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. KBD also owns Willett and has begun distilling at Willett Distillery, but I’m not sure if they’re distilling Rowan’s Creek now or still sourcing.