Fighting Cock Bourbon Review

Fighting Cock Bourbon Review
To be completely honest I’ve been been putting off trying Fighting Cock Bourbon because the bottle looks like Christian Audigier’s attempt at minimalism. For my eye it’s just not an appealing design but it has won awards for exactly that further proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Due to this preconceived perception I was fearing the worse when I received the bottle, but I’m happy to report that my fears were completely unfounded and that I’ve re-learned my lesson about judging a bourbon by it’s label design.

Owned by Heaven Hill, Fighting Cock is a brand that’s been set to court the younger drinker and lives in that $20 range where it’s accessible and you don’t feel like you’ve wasted a ton of money on a gamble for trying it. It’s also in that beautiful spot with Wild Turkey 101 where you can get a good versatile bourbon for cheap. The high proof lends itself to cocktails, stands up to ice and a splash of water only improves it. It’s also pretty good neat and for the details on that aspect continue reading below.

Fighting Cock Bourbon Review

ABV: 51.5%
Age: 6 years
Price: $20*
Distiller: Heaven Hill

EYE
Caramel

NOSE
This is one heck of a spicy bourbon. As it unfolds that spice is accompanied by notes of caramel, wood, dark fruit, vanilla and a nutty undercurrent. There is a sharp sucker punch of acetone astringency that comes and goes but overall the nose is rich and pleasant.

PALATE
Once we hit the palate all the fruit is gone, but that mega dose of spice remains and is pocketed with notes of wood, toasted nuts, caramel and vanilla. Like the nose, the palate is rich and bold, but again that sucker punching acetone shows up and BAM you get wholloped at the end with it.

FINISH
This may come as a complete surprise, but spice again leads the finish with notes of wood, caramel and toasted nuts keeping it company on it’s long fade.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
A bit spice heavy, but all in all a decent balance between it and the sweeter notes. Rich round body and a thick oily texture that has an appropriate amount of heat help keep this guy in the mid 80s.

OVERALL
Funny name, good bourbon. It’s rich spice driven nose, palate and finish make it easy to drink neat and it’s high proof keeps this chicken kickin’ in cocktails. A little bit of water releases more spice and a touch of citrus on the nose and on the palate it brings up more caramel and toasted nuts while taming the spice and astringency a bit. Needless to say, a splash is recommended. All in all it’s a decent 6 year bourbon that’s bottled at a proper strength and sold at a great price. Without a doubt a great value in the world of bourbon.

SCORE: 86/100

 

*Disclosure: This was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Josh Peters
Connect

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
Connect

Latest posts by Josh Peters (see all)

21 Responses to Fighting Cock Bourbon Review

  1. Nailed this one, my favorite daily pour class bourbon. Fighting cock is almost as good as Wild Turkey 101, at a better price.

  2. As always, I’m glad I follow you reviews! I probably wouldn’t have bought this otherwise, unless I was extremely bored and in the mood to try something I’d never otherwise purchase.

    I’m flying blind on this, but I’d guess this has a high rye mash bill. If so, that’s part of the reason I like it. It would certainly explain the spicy character. Overall, this has been very good neat with a splash of water, and an excellent cocktail addition as well.

    Thanks, once more, for your cogent and stereotype-defying reviews!

    • The NAs one has younger bourbon in it. All of the bottles around here still have the 6 year age statement on it, but as soon as the stores run out and carry the NAS I plan on picking it up and doing them side by side to see how different.

  3. I picked this up because I wanted something skin of Wild Turkey 101 that I hadn’t tried before. Good stuff, lots of hot peppery spices, almost too intense to take neat. Add a splash of water and lots of subtler notes open up. Cinnamon, hazelnut, nutmeg. Might have been better at 46-48%.

  4. Good whiskey, but my only negative comment would be the hangover. I love the burn, the taste, and the price which is only $14.99 here in Arkansas. I’ve bought it twice and both times I have woke up worth the biggest migraine headaches in my life lol. It could just be me. Maybe I need to drink more water before bed but I would definitely recommend this whiskey.

  5. bought a jug today, all that is sold here in north carolina is NA. from first sniff, you can tell this is a Heaven Hill bourbon. not quite as smooth as EW single barrell, but not bad. good buy at $14 for 750ml. nice neat, cheap enough to have on hand for those who like their bourbon with soda pop.
    scott

      • Your reveiw is greatly appreciated and spot on in my opinion. I am not a great fan of several of the Heaven Hill Bourbons, this is one of the exceptions. I enjoy a good strong flavorful whiskey that also provides a good balance between strength and character. Spicy it is and the hints of astringent thinning agents only adds to the mouthfeel and subsequent ting on the epiglotis. As the initial punch subsides the subtle flavors arise, then peak, fall, and reawake for a long spicy, slightly fruit/nut, wood and carmel finish. A great value and a true classic old school bourbon. Like Dad used to drink.

  6. A final Ode, and send off to Fighting Cock. And why I’m finally done with this stuff forever! A manifesto:

    Let it be known that I could NEVER be accused of being a neophyte, lightweight, greenhorn, etc, bourbon drinker. I also have a deep, sincere passion for bourbon.

    Staple food bourbons in this household include Old Grand Dad 114, plenty of Henry McKenna 100, Old Forester 100, Knob Creek, (when I crave maple syrup) Eagle Rare, Elijah Craig, Wild Turkey 101, and so forth. In other words, proven value bourbons.

    I, like many others, LOVE value bourbons. Hence this is why I was first attracted to Fighting Cock. But after four patient, successive years of trying a bottle a year, being very fair, and open minded, I’m flat out done with it for eternity!

    Josh’s quote, “This is one heck of a spicy bourbon,” is an extreme understatement to me. This “stuff” is the ONLY bourbon that has ever fried the entire roof of my mouth after only a couple sips, to the point of being out of commission for four days to heal. Even Old Grand Dad 114 straight doesn’t do that to me!

    When I first endured a bottle of this stuff several years ago, I still vividly remember looking at the label, then scoffing at it and the name. Then . . . upon drinking the first a glass of it, I began to ponder the “appropriate” name for it. . .
    After finishing the first bottle, I saw the damn Genius of naming it Fighting Cock!

    This stuff is ugly, harsh and brutal. Yea, it’s target market it well thought out: Young, testosterone driven, ego based guys. I probably would have been drawn to it myself in my youth!

    Looking through the “value” based perspective, I can see NO reason to buy this stuff, unless you are into self-punishment, or, can’t get Evan Williams BIB in your area, (which is an infinitely better choice, for at least a dozen or so reasons.) Or why not splurge the extra two bucks or so, and get Old Grand Dad BIB, which is a GREAT value and vastly superior to this rocket fuel.

Leave a reply

Send this to friend