Whiskey Review Round Up: Kinsey Whiskeys - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review Round Up: Kinsey Whiskeys

Whiskey and the state of Pennsylvania have had a long and (at times) tumultuous relationship. Pennsylvania was the home of the 1791 Whiskey Rebellion, where the spirit – or, more specifically, the taxation of said spirit – was the catalyst for the first armed rebellion in the new and fragile republic. And while public opinion on federal taxation is as tumultuous as ever, our whiskey production and technologies march ever-forward.

Capitalizing on the whiskey history of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia-based Millstone Spirits Group has come together under the umbrella of New Liberty Distillery, to offer three different brands of whiskey: New Liberty, Maryland Heritage Series, and the revival of the century-old Kinsey brand.

Kinsey Whiskeys

image via Zach Braunstein

Dating back to the 1870’s, the Kinsey name – complete with the label’s emblematic suit of armor – is well known to many whiskey history buffs. Whiskey-making is a tricky business, and Kinsey, despite surviving the dark days of prohibition, ended up seeing the final nail in its coffin hammered in the late 1970’s… that is, until the New Liberty Distillery decided to bring the taste and the name back from the dead.

In this round up we taste three of Kinsey’s offerings: their Bourbon Whiskey, their Rye Whiskey, and their Aged 7 Years Whiskey, and decide whether or not this resurrection is worth celebrating.

Tasting Notes: Kinsey Bourbon Whiskey

Vital stats: The Kinsey Bourbon Whiskey is 99 proof, and is made with a 51% corn and 49% barley mash. It’s been aged for “at least 2 years” in charred American oak. It comes in a 750 ml bottle, and will run you about $45.

Appearance: A cherry-mahogany in the bottle. It has thin, fast legs.

Nose: The nose is extremely faint, though you can smell the barley and a hint of tilled soil.

Palate: There’s an interesting profile here. A cherry soda bite with a floor polish nose rises up in a wave to a sweet, sour-apple candy taste in the back of the tongue. A raw almond bitterness lingers afterwards.

Final Thoughts & Score:

stars-3Not bad. Though the price point, and the unpleasant aftertaste certainly doesn’t make it a winner in my book. I’ll drink the rest of the bottle – most likely as a mixer – but I have no plans to buy another.

Tasting Notes: Kinsey Rye Whiskey

Vital stats: The Kinsey Rye Whiskey is 86 proof blend, aged for an unstated amount of time in white oak. It sells for about $40 for a 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: In the glass, it’s a golden orange with thin, fast legs.

Nose: Citrusy, with a hint of mowed grass and cracked pepper.

Palate: A sharp, hickory and birch-bark flavored first sip leads in to a buttery finish with a mild, sweet aftertaste.

Final Thoughts & Score:

stars-3The buttery finish was not what I was expecting considering the harsher first sip. A splash of water opens up that finish while tampering the initial bite. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Tasting Notes: Kinsey Whiskey (Aged 7 Years)

Vital stats: The Kinsey Whiskey (Aged 7 Years) has been aged – yes – for seven years in reused oak. With a mash made entirely from corn, it is 86.8 proof and sells for about $40 for a 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: In the glass, it’s a pale amber with thin, slow legs.

Nose: Again, rather faint. A hint of honeysuckle and brown sugar.

Palate: Smooth and sweet, with a medium body. Vanilla on the front of the tongue with a banana aftertaste. It finishes with a burnt-caramel fade.

Final Thoughts & Score:

stars-3This is definitely my favorite of the collection. Though weak-nosed, it’s got a lovely body and flavor profile, coasting to a smooth-sweet finish.



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