New Sweetens Cove Kennessee Brings Kentucky, Tennessee Bourbons In Harmony

The adjoining states of Kentucky and Tennessee are the mega-centers and major rivals in the world of American whiskey, particularly bourbon. One distiller who perhaps gets this more than most is Marianne Eaves, having worked and lived on both sides of the state line. It is, in part, through this experience she has come to produce a new American blended bourbon known as Kennessee for Sweetens Cove, a popular bourbon brand associated with the likes of football great Peyton Manning and tennis legend Andy Roddick, among others.

The magic behind the new whiskey, according to information Eaves shared with us on the eve of this new expression’s launch, is the curating and blending of Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons and the finishing of this blend with toasted sugar maple wood. More specifically, she created a base blend of select whiskeys, finishing them in a stainless steel tank with the addition of special wood spirals made from the sugar maple wood before final filtration, proofing and bottling.

“The use of toasted sugar maple to me is like a Kentuckian’s take on Tennessee’s Lincoln county process, adding flavors (mostly sweet and nutty) through the intentional deep toast instead of the way charcoal removes flavors and ‘mellows’ the whiskey,” Eaves said to us. “We make it bolder.”

Sweetens Cove Kennessee

Sweetens Cove Kennessee is a blend of Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons finished with toasted maple sugar wood (image via Sweetens Cove)

Sweetens Cove is approaching this product as more of a casual drinker versus the brand’s high profile, ultra premium sipping bourbon.  Kennessee is thus being positioned as something that, according to co-founder Mark Rivers, allows people to go to a bar and order it up in a Sweetens Cove old fashioned or similar cocktail. It can, of course, also be enjoyed on its own.

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“Each state has its own legacy and lore, characters and culture, with a common state line,” said Rivers in a prepared statement. “Kennessee is a delicious harmony of the two, crafted by Master Distiller Marianne Eaves, one of the world’s most highly regarded talents in bourbon and the spirits industry as a whole.” 

One thing that is particularly interesting with this new offering is how Sweetens Cove plans to handle its release cycle alongside that of the flagship bottling. Kennessee is becoming the so-called mainstream product, whereas the other expression will continue to be a limited edition release as it was in 2020 and 2021, seeing a fall debut. Depending specifically on when it drops each fall, it could end up putting this whiskey more in the eyes of those who annually hunt store shelves during the autumn for all the collectible bourbons.

Sweetens Cove Kennessee, bottled at 55.35% ABV, releases today for a price point of around $60 per 750 ml bottle. It is initially available in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, with plans to expand further across the U.S. in 2022. 

Sweetens Cove Kennessee Cocktails

The attempted versatility of Kennessee is shown in these cocktails (recipes below) – From L>R: Flowering Peach, Defending Hideki, The Green Jacket and The Arnie (image via Sweetens Cove)

Official tasting notes for this union of Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons are below, along with several cocktail suggestions as put together by Cole Williamson, the beverage director at Empire State South in Atlanta, Georgia. These cocktails are inspired by the upcoming 2022 Masters golf tournament.

  • Aroma: Warm toasted oak, graham cracker, rich mulled spice and orange peel, hint of dried pome fruit
  • Palate: Sweet warm caramel, vanilla and baking spices, hint of citrus, gentle chewy oak, easy creamy mid palate
  • Finish: Long, lingering warmth, sweet soft woodsy finish
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Flowering Peach 

Number 3 – A classic for Alister & You 

  • 1.5 oz Sweetens Cove Kennessee Bourbon 
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano
  • .25 oz Giffard Pêche de Vigne 
  • .25 oz Alpe de Genepy 

Served up in a Nick & Nora. Garnished with a lemon peel. 

Defending Hideki

For Cocktail Champions, Pioneers and A Gentleman of The Game

  • .75 oz Sweetens Cove Kennessee Bourbon 
  • 1.5 oz Japanese Bermutto 
  • .75 oz Suntory Toki Whisky 
  • .25 oz Honey Syrup 
  • Lime Wedge 

Served in a Rocks glass on a big cube. Garnished with a grapefruit peel. The lime wedge should be squeezed over the top of the drink once it is in the glass and then discarded. The little bit of acidity helps take some of the heat out of the drink.  

The Green Jacket

Sip Victory at Sunday Sunset 

  • .75 oz Sweetens Cove Kennessee Bourbon 
  • .75 oz Lime Juice
  • .5 oz Green Chartreuse
  • .5 oz Chareau Aloe Liqueur
  • .25 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 dashes Celery Bitters
  • Mint

Served up in a small Coupe. Garnished with a mint bouquet. 

The Arnie

A Tea and Lemonade Pairing for Your Army

  • 1.5 oz Sweetens Cove Kennessee Bourbon
  • .75 oz Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz Earl Grey Simple Syrup 
  • .25 oz Honey Syrup 
  • 2 dashes Earl Grey Bitters
  • Soda

Served on ice in a Collins glass. Garnished with a lemon peel. 


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...