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A Spirited Affair

He has deep roots in Chicago, but Kaveh Zamanian found his true passion in Louisville—and that’s good news for bourbon lovers.

 

Rabbit Hole’s first spirit features an unusual four-grain mash (corn, malted wheat, honey-malted barley and malted barley).

Kaveh Zamanian admits he wasn’t always a fan of bourbon; scotch was more his jam. But that all changed when he met Heather Bass, a Kentucky native who introduced him to the American whiskey’s attributes—as well as her own. The couple married and moved from Logan Square to a suburb near Louisville, where they settled in with their three children. A few years later, Zamanian, a psychoanalyst by trade and history buff by nature, reached out to a few of the city’s bourbon industry insiders and, after doing some experimenting, got the bug to make it himself. It was Heather who came up with the company’s name, Rabbit Hole, an apt description of the journey they soon would be taking.

Last November, Chicago got a taste of Rabbit Hole’s three spirits: Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Kentucky straight rye whiskey and a straight bourbon whiskey finished in PX sherry casks. A Kentucky rye barrel finish London dry gin will be available soon. And Zamanian and Rabbit Hole are just getting started. In early 2018, a 55,000-square-foot facility near Louisville’s Churchill Downs racetrack will open, featuring a bar, restaurant and event space in partnership with Proprietors LLC (the same cocktail consulting team behind NYC’s trendsetting Death & Co.), along with a new state-of-the-art distillery. “Consumers are more sophisticated these days,” says Zamanian, “and we saw the opportunity to do something different.”