Whiskey Review: The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey

, | December 3, 2015

The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand WhiskeyI have to admit, reviewing a whiskey with the Hatfield & McCoy names on it causes me some trepidation. Who wouldn’t be a little cowed by the prospect of taking sides in a high-profile family feud, with money, honor, and the rights to a whiskey legacy on the line?

Let me be clear: the feud I’m referring to isn’t the thirty-year cross-river dispute that made the names Hatfield and McCoy synonymous with “bitter family rivalry.” Rather, I’m talking about an argument that took place in the comment section right here on the Whiskey Wash when we reported on the release of The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey in September of last year. In one corner stood Courtney Quick-McCoy and John T. Hatfield, the team behind The Hatfield & McCoy Alliance, LLC, owner of the whiskey in question.

In the other, Mark Hatfield and a handful of supporters who disputed the legitimacy of the brand, claiming not only that the whiskey wasn’t made according to a family recipe, but also that the McCoys involved with the LLC aren’t direct descendants of Randall Hatfield.

So… I’m not going to get involved. I will note that, like so many whiskeys, The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey isn’t made where you might think it is at first glance (in this case, Williamson, West Virginia, the location on the front of the bottle). Instead, it’s produced and bottled by Local Choice Spirits in North Charleston, South Carolina, which the back label is up-front about, though another recent review quoted from a press release here that it “is not a ‘sourced’ whiskey” since it’s based on “authentic, original family recipes.”

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In any case, this is an 80-proof whiskey made with “corn, barley, malt, special strains of yeast,” and “infused natural flavor.” Do I need to point out that “barley” and “malt” generally refer to the same thing? Make of that, and the fact that this is a flavored whiskey, what you will.

In the glass, it’s honey-colored with sparse, light legs.

Nose: the aroma is definitely on the sweet side, with vanilla and confectioner’s sugar predominating. Hints of maple and butter make me think of a maple-glazed donut.

Palate: this whiskey is quite light on the palate, with honey coming in up front, followed by some heavier flavors like wood and a bit of warm spice on the back of the tongue.

Finish: initially, I noticed more spice and a bit of the maple note from earlier, which fade, after a couple seconds, to a vaguely chemical aftertaste.

Initially, this seems like a decent, if not overly complex whiskey. Its fairly sweet flavor profile and light body could make it a good candidate for everyday sipping on the rocks. However, the faintly medicinal finish is off-putting, and it’s light-bodied almost to the point of wateriness. For all the drama, this is a surprisingly mild-mannered whiskey.


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Katelyn Best

Katelyn is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon. She's a regular contributor to the Whiskey Wash with an affinity for the unique and weird side of whiskey.