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Old Forester’s Former Master Taster Just Dropped a New Small Batch Bourbon

The second whiskey from Jackie Zykan's new Hidden Barn brand surpasses the first.

Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Series Two Hidden Barn

After announcing her departure as master taster for Kentucky bourbon distillery Old Forester last summer, Jackie Zykan wasted no time embarking on her next venture. And now that new whiskey brand, Hidden Barn, has just dropped its second limited-edition, small-batch bourbon.

Zykan now holds the title of master blender at Hidden Barn, which she founded along with master distiller Royce Neeley, 5820 Whiskey Society’s Nate Winegar and Matt Dankner. The new Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Series Two is composed of just ten barrels that Zykan blended together. The whiskey was double pot distilled from a high-rye mashbill at M.B. Roland in Kentucky, a small grain-to-glass distillery in the town of Pembroke. It was then matured onsite for five to six years in American white oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage and bottled, uncut and filtered only for sediment, at batch proof of 112 (56 percent ABV). “As with all Hidden Barn releases, we are looking to showcase the nuance and depth of flavor found only in small batches which allows each barrel to really shine,” said Zykan in a statement. “With Series Two, we opted for a high-rye mashbill to showcase the multifaceted contribution this flavorful grain brings to a bourbon recipe.”

The exact mashbill for the whiskey is as follows (including the source of the grains): 60 percent corn (Christian County Grain), 35 percent rye (Walnut Grove Farms) and five percent malted barley (Southfork Malt House). That is indeed a high-rye recipe, as others with that claim often have somewhere around 20 percent rye in the mashbill. So how does that translate on the palate? We were able to get an early sample to compile some tasting notes. The color is quite dark, a ruddy copper brown. On the nose there is a kick of alcohol, followed by grains and nuts, dark berry and a touch of char. That grainy wood note follows through on the palate, but there is a real burst of red grapes and dark stone fruit, along with some candied orange, pecan, vanilla and a melange of baking spices ranging from nutmeg to cardamom. The finish is surprisingly mellow given the strength this whiskey, and overall I’d say this is a step up from the initial Series One whiskey.

Hidden Barn Series Two will be available starting December 1 with an SRP of $74.99 in more than 20 states. If you want to try some of Zykan’s other whiskeys in the meantime, Batch #005 of Series One is available from Seelbach’s, and you might be able to get your hands on the limited-edition Madeira cask-finished whiskey if you look hard enough.

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