Well, I figured for the first official review I’d do something special. So here’s New York City’s own King’s County Distillery Bourbon. Opening about a year ago, they claim to be New York City’s oldest whiskey[sic] distillery… which is funny because it’s not only the only whisky distillery in the city, but it’s only been open for a year.
At the moment, it’s still impossible to find this Brooklyn artisan’s wares outside of the city, leaving the curious to mail order a sample from a New York based vendor, like Astor Wines or Park Avenue Liquor, but adding the cost of shipping to the already exorbitant cost of the bottle could be the prohibitive nail in the coffin for the average whiskyphile. At the moment it retails solely in 200 mL flasks for about $25, making this a little under $100 for a full sized bottle’s worth. Is it worth it?
Well, at first I was a little angry about the size and price, true. I picked up a bottle while I was shopping for olive oil in Chelsea Market. My wife and I took a budget friendly tour bus into the city and I was pretty sure a spot of something for the ride home would come in handy while I was trying to ignore the screaming children behind us. I didn’t want to carry a whole 750 mL bottle off of the bus when we got back to Hartford so it was perfect. After carrying it around in my jacket’s inside pocket for a few minutes its diminutive bottle began to grow on me. It feels really nice in the hand, too. The spell was cast…
I was talking to my friend the other day who brought up that one of Bourbon’s problems as a product is that, for the most part, it all tastes the same. It’s true, there’s not a lot of variety in the Bourbon market. It’s all pretty strong, with vanilla and this weird cooling sensation. This Bourbon stands out for me… a lot. It is not your average Bourbon, which gives me hope that America may just have a worthwhile whisky scene that goes beyond rye, after all.
Nose: Tons of fresh cut grass and a little fried calamari, followed by fresh oak, fennel and caramel. Frosted sugar cookies, orange hard candies and a touch of cinnamon kick in after a few minutes with the glass. Altogether, this isn’t nearly as brash upfront as most Bourbons tend to be. It’s awesome, like a polite child, or a helpfully accurate stranger when you’re lost and asking for directions. This is what I would consider a gateway Bourbon for Scotch enthusiasts.
Palate: The grassy notes from the nose dominate. It’s not as cooling as the typical Bourbon and the more delicate flavors shine through. It’s very smooth with a little sweet and sour cereal flavor that develops in the finish. A truly delicious bourbon. Dangerously drinkable.
Because of a greater ration of liquid to wood, a smaller casks flavor a whisky more quickly. That flavoring is, however, different than old school maturation in a full sized cask. Critics say that some things need time to happen, and a smaller cask has no effect on these processes. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.