Whiskey Review: Kings County Distillery Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Kings County Distillery Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon

Kings County Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Image courtesy of Kings County Distillery

One of the things I love about writing for a whiskey blog is that I get to taste things I might never have sought out. Sometimes those experiments fall on the side of fail, but sometimes they’re a delight—and I even get to learn something. That’s the case with Kings County Distillery’s Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon, from Williamsburg, New York.

“Oh, good lord, Williamsburg, not freaking again,” you wail! Skinny jeans and creative, artful facial hair. But, no, folks, unroll your eyes. Really. Stick them back in your head. You’ll need it to learn about bottled-in-bond whiskies, if you weren’t aware of them already.

According to their website, Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery: the first since Prohibition. The distillery began in 2010 in a 325 square-foot room in East Williamsburg and in 2012, moved to the Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They began as the smallest commercial distillery in the country, with five 24-liter stainless steel stills making whiskey seven days a week, 16 hours a day. Now they use traditional copper whiskey stills fabricated in Scotland and wooden fermenters built locally. Keeping things close to home, they also run a corn and barley patch at a small farm onsite. In 2016, the American Distilling Institute named Kings County their Distillery of the Year.

One of Kings County’s offerings is their Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. Bottled-in-Bond whiskies are distilled, aged, and bottled entirely at one distillery, from barrels filled in one season, by one distiller. Furthermore, the whiskey must be four years old and bottled at precisely 100 proof. We heard about this coming from Kings County back in March 2016, so were eager to sample the finished product.

Local + all in-house + quality bourbon = ??

Let’s find out.

Tasting Notes: Kings County Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon

Vital Stats: 100 proof, $65 for 375 ml.

Appearance: Maple; a sweet, glowing russet; sunlit dark hair.

Nose: This smells like a Manhattan that’s already been made. Also, butterscotch, pear, and old school bubble gum.

Palate: Very alcohol-forward: It is 100 proof that tastes like 100 proof. This burns on the way down, with a slightly alkaline finish. I’m not sure of the mash bill, but I would guess this is a high-rye bourbon based on the fruity notes and the “loud and proud” aspect of it on my palate. The longer it sits, the more I enjoy it, but it definitely has something to say, and not softly. A couple drops of water smoothes things out, as does ice.

The Takeaway

This is a high-quality product, no doubt. And yet, I am not totally sold. When I tasted this initially, it shouted at me. Since it already smelled like a Manhattan, I tried it in one. And that was terrific! The sweetness of vermouth and cut of bitters mellowed it out and it played really, really nicely with the other components. But I wanted it to stand out on its own, especially for that price point. I’d like to taste this with other bottled-in-bond bourbons and see how it compares.

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About the author

Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor and learning what it can do for me. I’ve written for publications including Salon.com, DailyDot.com, Willamette Week, Portland Monthly, and more. When I’m not drinking whiskey or writing about it, I can be found running, reading, or seeking out free samples in grocery stores.