Black barns are a hallmark of the rolling hills and hollers of Kentucky. At a time when distilling was a punishable offense, the black stained barns, caused by a naturally occurring microflora that feeds on airborne alcohol, were a giveaway to anyone looking to bust up an illegal distilling operation. In a sign of solidarity and community, Kentuckians would paint all barns black to make the still barns indistinguishable from others.
In this spirit of community and fellowship, a team of four friends and founders announce the release of Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The initial release, available in stores later this month, is Hidden Barn Small Batch, composed of just seven barrels distilled by Master Distiller Royce Neeley and expertly blended by Master Blender Jackie Zykan.
Together with their partners, Nate Winegar and Matt Dankner of Colorado’s 5280 Whiskey Society, Neeley and Zykan are embracing the spirit of “doing things the hard way” with their first series release – putting process and quality above all else.
“We wanted to produce the kind of whiskey we would be proud to share, we wanted to lift the guardrails and pursue boundless creativity and unmatched quality in our process,” said Jackie Zykan, Master Blender for Hidden Barn. “Hidden Barn whiskies are full of subtlety and nuance, emphasizing quality at every turn and crafted to be shared in the celebration of good friends and good whiskey.”
Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey’s first series is comprised of distillate produced at the Neeley Family Distillery. In the spirit of doing things the hard way, Master Distiller Royce Neeley touches every step of the process from grain to aging, personally hand-collecting wild Kentucky yeast, carefully monitoring a 5-day fermentation using traditional cypress fermenters, and personally distilling and hand-cutting the double pot distillation.
The Whiskey Made the Hard Way series was fermented using wild yeast and is double pot distilled. It was collected at 127 proof, and entered the barrel at 110 proof. The seven barrels represent some of the first lots to mature under the watchful eye of Neeley. To maintain the integrity and viscosity of the liquid, the bourbon is screened for sediment and sees no additional filtration.
Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Batch #001 is presented at an undiluted batch proof of 53% ABV and offered at a suggested retail price of $74.99. The initial offering will be available in Kentucky, Colorado, Florida and California, with more distribution expected before the end of the year.
Product: Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Small Batch #001 Whiskey Made the Hard Way series
Number of barrels: 7
Producer: Neeley Family Distillery (DSP-KY-20039) Sparta, KY
Mash: 70 percent Corn, 20 percent Rye, 10 percent Malted Barley
Fermentation: 5 days using wild-caught Kentucky yeast and Northern Kentucky aquifer water
Distillation: Double pot distilled, collected at 127 proof
Maturation: Between 4-5 years
Barrel: Two-year seasoned American white oak
Fill: 110 proof
Filtration: Sediment filter only
What’s inside (in order of prominence): Almond, Butterscotch, Sweet Cherry, Dried Fig, Black Tea, Spearmint, Allspice, Black Pepper, Grapefruit Peel, Cardamom