Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey is produced by Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn, New York. In general, flavored whiskey tends to be a mixed bag for me. Most of my experience with flavored whiskey was in college, with Fireball and Sinfire whiskeys being the bottles of choice for folk who wanted an easy-to-mix liquor that wasn’t vodka or rum. Essentially, whiskey for people who don’t like whiskey.
In recent years, flavored whiskeys have gotten marginally better. Craft distilleries that want to get a foot in the market but don’t have the time or resources to commit to the lengthy aging process required by quality straight whiskey are able to produce distinctive whiskeys by taking relatively young whiskey, adding flavoring, and bringing it more quickly to market. Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey through a combination of happy accident, playful experimentation, and a desire to truly push the boundaries of what whiskey can be are changing the flavored whiskey landscape.
Hot on the tail of new laws relaxing some of the regulations on craft distilleries in New York, King Country Distillery began operating in 2010, becoming the first distillery in the city since prohibition. Located in the Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, their chocolate whiskey is made by infusing Kings County Distillery Moonshine with the leftover cocoa husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate, a craft chocolate company that’s not too far from Kings County’s own distillery. While flavored, this flavoring doesn’t just make the whiskey more approachable, but also provides a more complex flavor.
Tasting Notes: Kings County Chocolate “Flavored” Whiskey
Vital notes: 40% ABV, no age bill. $28 for a 200ml bottle 80% New York state corn, 20% barley mash infused with natural chocolate flavoring.
Appearance: Unsurprisingly, the appearance is a chocolaty brown with a cloudy, rusty consistency
Nose: The nose is surprisingly intense, almost overpowering – you cannot miss the smell of dark chocolate. Sweet with notes of cherry and chocolate-covered raisins, the smell lingers in the glass for a while after finishing.
Palate: This is a whiskey that actually tastes like chocolate. It balances the bitterness of the chocolate with sweetness from the moonshine, ending with a flavor not unlike a cherry cordial.
Finish: There is not a lot of body behind the whiskey after the first explosion of flavor, but spiciness from the alcohol peeks through on the finish.
The partnership with Mast Brothers Chocolate has resulted in a whiskey greater than the sum of its parts. What might otherwise be a clear marketing ploy turned into an interesting and bold new take on whiskey. It’s still novelty, but a novelty that’s worth drinking and sharing.