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Kings County | Not Your Typical Bourbon

Kings County Distillery

A handful of nights back, I received a package in the mail from a barrel pick group I belong to. In it was a handful of Kings County single barrel hip flask sized bottles which I'd bought a few weeks back. With a couple fingers down the hatch, and sitting amongst all these bottles, whilst wishing I had the good sense to have bought more, it seemed like a fitting time to show some love to this distillery which for certain, marches to the beat of their own drum.


What really sets Kings County apart from many others in the ever-crowded field of bourbon is that they use only two grains, corn and malted barley in their Mash Bill for Bourbon, whereas most distillers use three. This "high malt" mash bill makes this bourbon more akin to a scotch than its kissing cousins being distilled in Kentucky - but, is still a bourbon given the mash bill contains greater than 50% corn, in this case 80%. Distilled in pot stills, although not necessarily unique, adds a texture and viscosity to the pour - where the distillery does stand apart in this space is that they cut the distillate twice, within a fairly narrow window on the second cut (142 to 130) to a low proof (140). By using this narrow cut method, Kings County can produce a smoother whiskey, but the result is that they sacrifice the yield for quality. This holds true to their founding ethos that "good unaged whiskey will make a better aged whiskey." The whiskey is aged in smaller barrels than the typical 53-gallon industry standard, using barrels as small as 15 gallons at times. Barrel entry proof is 110-116 across their whiskeys, which is lower than is customary for most commercial brands, but also creates a more robust flavor profile. What I'd also consider unique is that Kings County doesn't have flashy packaging or branding. They're all about the bourbon and focus on "authenticity over shelf appeal." For this reason, they also don't chill filter their whiskey, which helps remove the haziness that can result from esters remaining in solution. These esters can impact the mouthfeel and flavor, and you're going to get the full experience here with this bourbon.


Perhaps what I love most about this brand is the backstory that goes along with how the distillery got to where it is today. Founded in 2010 by two friends who had been making moonshine in an apartment, it was the first whiskey distillery since prohibition to be licensed in New York. It was initially located in a 325 square-foot room, making it the smallest commercial distillery in the country before moving into their current location in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Thoughts from Bourboneur

Kings County Barrel Strength straight bourbon whiskey

I've really enjoyed everything that I've had from this distillery. With so many new "craft" distilleries opening up (many of which aren't even selling their own our post on "The Secret Behind Your Favorite Bourbon") Kings County tastes noticeably different than what's coming out of most Kentucky distilleries and is a standout to me. What I love is this isn't a distillery in New York trying to be like so many others in Kentucky, this bourbon stands on its own two feet and has an unmistakable viscosity and flavor that has a little somethin'-somethin' that many are bound to also enjoy.

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