FIGHTING COCK

My trusty sidekick recently shared a bottom-shelf find with me.  I’ve been known to try these “bargain-shelfers” and have uncovered some mixed results (see reviews here and here).

With a name like “Fighting Cock”, this one is sure to be interesting …

What’s in a Name?  

Fighting Cock is one of several cost-conscious offerings from privately-owned Heaven Hill.  Just a few short years ago, this was carrying a 6-year age statement. With bourbon booming, that statement has been removed.

Around the distillery, workers also refer to this brand as “Kickin’ Chicken”.  It’s interesting to learn that this particular brand from Heaven Hill was created as a direct competitor to Wild Turkey 101.  Heaven Hill’s product comes in a few dollars cheaper and a few proof points higher at 103. Unlike some “bargain shelfers”, with its high proof, this should hold up to a cocktail, enjoyed with an ice ball, or served neat.  

The Tasting   

The bottle is traditional-looking with a colorful feathered fowl portrayed with talons extended.  According to Heaven Hill, this is produced from a high-corn mash bill, consisting of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.  The bottle bears no age statement (NAS). While Heaven Hill has removed the 6-year age statement, it is rumored that it contains bourbon older than its typically acknowledged 4-year age.

Eye:  Copper

Nose: Light caramel and vanilla – a subdued “classic Heaven Hill” nose.  I was expecting a little more at this higher proof.  It’s light, but also not offensive. Subtle and soft.

Palate:  More vanilla.  Ahhh – there’s the spice.  There are baking spices, including nutmeg and cinnamon, and vanilla followed by oak and worn leather.  If “rickhouse” had a taste – this might be it.

Finish:  Medium with vanilla, ending with more oak char and nutmeg.   

Overall:  For less than $20, this was actually pretty good.  It’s certainly not Pappy, Blanton’s or Weller 12-year … but it’s also not Kentucky Gentleman, either.  It’s a shame it no longer carries the 6-year age statement. I would have loved to have tried this a few years earlier.  

Don’t be shy about trying a “bargain-shelfer”.  For the money, this one was pretty respectable and drank like something twice as expensive.  You’ll enjoy having a few dollars change to go towards some mixers to make a great Old Fashioned … or to grab a second bottle!

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