Review: Kings County Blended Bourbon

Having launched in 2010, Kings County is one of the oldest craft distilleries in the U.S. — and today it’s the largest distillery in New York City. Kings County has pumped out a vast array of spirits over the last 13 years, but bizarrely we’ve never formally reviewed them. Today however we’re taking a deeper dive into its newest release, a “flagship” blended bourbon that forgoes Kings’ usual minimalistic white label for a blue one.

It’s designed to be an “all-purpose” 2 year old bourbon (none of the components, detailed on the neck tag, are more than 4 years old), but I’ll let Kings provide a little more detail:

By law, blended bourbon must use 51% straight bourbon, but the open-ended definition allows the Kings County’s blending team to use the full breadth of our mature inventory to craft a complex and purposeful flavor profile within the lineup. With this added flexibility, Blended Bourbon can become a volume leader in Kings County’s portfolio, joining an existing line of superlative aged whiskeys.

Kings County’s spirits have been widely accepted and appreciated, but with supply of aged whiskey growing short across the spectrum of American whiskey, Kings County aims to lead the market with a superior all-purpose two-year-old spirit. With notes of honey, caramel, and rye pepper, this is a flexible whiskey, and one that shows what can be achieved through the use of quality organic ingredients, careful distilling, and creative blending. It also presents a spirit suitable for mixing, creating a new audience for the brand.

In tasting the new whiskey, there’s certainly nothing remarkable about it, and it presents itself as a whiskey designed to disappear into a cocktail rather than for neat sipping as Kings suggests. Aggressively grainy, almost pungent, the nose evokes underbrush, hemp rope, and fresh-cut hay, pausing only to let some raw wood into the picture. No surprises to speak of on the palate: Boldly grainy, though some butterscotch notes add just a light touch of sweetness into the mix — eventually nodding toward notes of apple juice.

That doesn’t get you much, however, the finish falling back on expected notes of lumberyard, toasted bread, and some creosote. Again, that conclusion has a pungency that is green and, frankly, not always enjoyable — particularly given the baffling $55 price tag for the experience.

86 proof.

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