Grain & Barrel Spirits is releasing Chicken Cock 160th Anniversary Limited Release Single Barrel 8-Year-Old Bourbon. The Chicken Cock brand was founded in 1856 and has a storied past including its history in the famous prohibition era speakeasy, The Cotton Club. While the brand was initially reintroduced in a flavored format while building its aged whiskey inventory, Grain & Barrel withdrew from the flavored whiskey business to focus on making high quality whiskies and limited-edition releases.
In the prestigious 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Chicken Cock 160th Anniversary Limited Release was awarded a Double Gold Medal. Thirty 8-year-old whiskey barrels will be released in total and bottles from the first barrels are now sold exclusively online for $94.99 on a first come, first served basis.
Chicken Cock was first distilled in Paris, Kentucky in 1856. While the bourbon brand was popular during the 19th century, Chicken Cock really hit its stride during prohibition as the house whiskey at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem, New York. There, it became known as “The Whiskey in a Tin Can” because it was smuggled into the country in tin cans to avoid the long arm of the law.
After prohibition, a distillery fire in the 1950’s put an end to the brand’s initial run, but it disappeared. Multiple attempts were made to bring “the famous old brand” back to its former glory. In 2013 Grain & Barrel purchased Chicken Cock and intends to restore it to its rightful pantheon among the great American whiskies.
In Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillers carefully created the bourbon that is now the 160th Anniversary Chicken Cock Whiskey with 70% Corn, 21% Rye and 9% Malted Barley. Then, fresh white American oak barrels are charred before filling with Chicken Cock whiskey for maturation. The barrel staves are charred to level four, the highest commonly used char level also known as the “alligator char” due to the rough, shiny texture the staves acquire. The barrel heads are gently charred to a level two.
The 160th Anniversary Whiskey is aged and bottled in Owensboro, Kentucky in a replica of a pre-prohibition Chicken Cock bottle discovered at the Lexington, KY Visitor’s Center where historians and archivists have been extremely proactive and helpful in bringing back this piece of American whiskey history.
Chicken Cock Whiskey will serve to further the scope of Grain & Barrel’s growing imprint on the spirits industry with a particular niche for bringing new and exciting offerings to the American public.