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Pernod Ricard & Rabbit Hole Distillery's New "Mary Dowling" Bourbon Brand

Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.


Pernod Ricard has been quite active in the American whiskey scene recently. They've started a new division dedicated to American whiskey, and they've also got plans in the pipeline for a hefty US$250 million distillery dedicated to their Jefferson’s Bourbon brand.

In 2019, they acquired a majority stake in Kentucky's Rabbit Hole Distillery. And this year, they will be teaming up once again with Kaveh Zamanian, the founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery to release a brand-new bourbon named Mary Dowling.


The duo has come together to establish the Mary Dowling Whiskey Company, dropping two debut expressions for us: a high-rye Bourbon that spent some quality time in Tequila barrels, and a Double Oak Cask Strength Bourbon.  

Why "Mary Dowling" you ask? Well, Mary Dowling wasn't just anyone. In a time when the bourbon world was mostly a man's game, she played a crucial role in preserving and continuing the legacy of bourbon during the Prohibition. Known to many as the 'mother of Bourbon', Mary's story is a rollercoaster. After her husband's death, she expanded his bourbon business, and helped it continue through Prohibition, at one point even facing off against the US government and enduring an FBI sting operation. 


Mary Dowling in her Juarez whiskey-distilling operation. (Source: Mary Dowling Whiskey Co)


When whiskey-making became illegal in the US, she navigated her way through these turbulent waters by exploring different routes, looking to get a medicinal license for her bourbon. When that didn't pan out, she took a bold step by moving her entire distillery to Juarez, Mexico. Yep, that's dedication right there! 

At one point, government agents arrested man of the Dowling family, and were charged for the crime of bringing in bootlegged whiskey into the US. After three years of court cases, the Dowlings were convicted. But by the time they appealed, however, the stenographer who had recorded notes during the initial trial had died, and nobody was able to read his chicken scratch handwriting. Unable to discern his notes, the circuit court threw out the convictions. A rollercoaster of a life indeed!

Now, diving into the two expressions:

  1. Tequila Barrel Expression: This one's a Kentucky straight Bourbon that hung out in oloroso Sherry barrels for a year. After that, it took a trip into reposado Tequila barrels, a nod to Mary's distillery in Juárez. It comprises 70% corn, 25% malted rye, and 5% malted barley. The flavor profile? Expect some fruity touches, a bit of earthy, smoky feels, and a black pepper kick at the end. It's bottled at a range between 46.7%-47.5% ABV and has an RRP of US$75.

  2. Double Oak Barrel: This Bourbon got its flavor from two distinct oak barrels from Kentucky’s Kelvin Cooperage. Part of its maturation was in heavily toasted and charred new American oak barrels, and the rest in lightly toasted charred new American oak barrels. You'll find hints of tobacco, cherry, oak, and some lasting spices in this one. It comes in at 53.5% ABV and will set you back US$130.

For now, these whiskeys are exclusive to the continental USA. If you find yourself in the States looking to try something new and dive into a bit of history, Mary Dowling might just be your next pour.


88 Bamboo Editorial Team