Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

posted in: Bourbon | 0

By Father John Rayls

Rating B+

Putting all jokes aside, the name does grab your attention and leaves plenty of room for marketing gurus to really exploit the opportunity. I’ve been aware of imageHeaven Hill’s Fighting Cock Bourbon for some time, but always managed to dismiss it as simply a gimmick. I recently ran out of excuses and decided to give this extremely low cost bourbon a shot (pun intended). However, a funny thing happened on the way to writing this review: I found I actually enjoyed it. “Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Brands is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon.” Their other bourbon brands include Evan Williams, Larceny, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna. This list includes some of my favorites. I would also add Rittenhouse Rye to their brand list. Fighting Cock is now marketed as an NAS (no age statement) bourbon, but does fall under the guidelines of being a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This means that it spent at least two years in barrels somewhere in Kentucky and is probably a blend of two to six year old whiskey.

You can’t talk about Fighting Cock without talking about the logo found on the bottle. The picture is of a fighting rooster in fighting mode. Some love it and some hate it, but I found it to be an interesting piece of art that might be termed “low cost”. There is a screw on cap which confirms in many consumer minds imagethat this is a lower-shelf experience. The total appearance is colorful and depicts a bottle full of attitude without a lot of cost. The bourbon is on the darker side of burnt orange in color with brown and brass hues. The legs are long and plentiful and appear fairly quickly.

The nose is readily apparent, but absent any alcohol burn normally expected in a low cost whiskey. Corn aromas are immediately detected with a bit of rye spiciness with some oak and leather lingering in the background. The combined aromas are interesting and enjoyable. The first sip gives a slight coating to the mouth with most of the action taking place at mid-tongue to near the tip. The sweet corn influenced heavily by caramel, vanilla, oak and nuttiness drives the flavor profile. Fighting Cock, at 103 proof, drinks slightly hot. Somehow this manages not to be a negative thing and simply enhances the experience. It serves, instead, to imagebalance the slightly sweet taste and helps create a very enjoyable and very drinkable bourbon. The finish is medium to long filled with spice and nuttiness.

Now for one of the very best parts of this experience. I bought a 750ml bottle (one of the standard bourbon sizes) for 16 bucks and change. Make sure you catch the $16.49 price tag. I’m always looking for the best tasting and lowest cost whiskey and Fighting Cock is now in a position to secure that award. My guess is that Wild Turkey 101 will continue to battle Fighting Cock (103) for that preeminent position. I like that imagery.

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