KO Distilling Announces New Cask-Strength Releases - The Whiskey Wash
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KO Distilling Announces New Cask-Strength Releases

KO Distilling out of Manassas, Virginia has released cask-strength versions of their American whiskey portfolio, which includes a bourbon, a wheat whiskey, and a rye. It’s a new twist for the young distillery’s lineup of aged whiskeys, which itself debuted two years ago. All three whiskeys are made grain-to-glass in Virginia, aged a minimum of 24 months, and bottled at around 61% ABV.

“Creating cask strength expressions of our aged whiskeys allows our fans to enjoy these spirits the way they went into the barrel,” said KO Distilling co-founder and head distiller John O’Mara in a prepared statement. “When the bottles are opened, you have the whiskey at its fullest potential and then can add water or ice as you like. It is the ultimate customization.”

image via KO Distilling

The three expressions debuted in a Black Friday event at the distillery. The vital stats and tasting notes for these whiskeys, provided by the distillery, are as follows:

Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel Cask Strength

  • Made with 70% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% malted barley, all sourced from local Virginia farms.
  • Double-distilled, aged for at least two years in single charred new American White Oak barrels.
  • Notes of caramel corn, toffee, hints of vanilla, with cherry reminiscence of an Old-Fashioned cocktail.  The higher proof provides a warming, nutty, and peanut forward finish.
  • 61.3% ABV (SRP: $55.99)

Bare Knuckle Straight Wheat Whiskey Single Barrel Cask Strength

  • Made with 60% wheat, 30% rye and 10% malted barley, all sourced from local Virginia farms.
  • Double-distilled, aged for at least two years in single charred new American White Oak barrels.
  • A predominance of butterscotch, with notes of creamy vanilla, anise, and a hint caramel.  It has a wonderfully warming, grain-forward, rye spice finish from its higher proof.
  • 60.95% ABV (SRP: $49.99)

Bare Knuckle Straight Rye Whiskey Single Barrel Cask Strength

  • Made with 100% rye, sourced from local Virginia farms.
  • Double-distilled, aged for at least two years in single charred new American White Oak barrels.
  • Offers a beautiful bready flavor up front with notes of vanilla and cinnamon, similar to a sweet roll.  Finishes with rye pepper, spiciness, and heat from its higher proof.
  • 62.4% ABV (SRP: $65.99)

The name “KO” is taken from the names of the distillery’s founders—Bill Karlsen and John O’Mara—but the letters also provide some unique branding for the bottles themselves, which feature historic boxers, including African-American world heavyweight champion Jack G. Johnson and early 20th-century champion Mary “Texas Mamie” Donovan.