Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
When I think about what a distillery looks like, whether it is in the city or out in the country of Bourbon County, I tend to think of large warehouses with high ceilings to fit tall stills. That is not the case with Kings County Distillery who has taken over an old paymaster building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This is a two story building with ceilings that appear about 15 feet high. In this building they have both their aging facility and their stills, with a small tasting room at the gatehouse to the navy yard. They have put out a number of whiskeys both in their core line up and limited release. And they have recently released a Coffee Whiskey in partnership with Parlor Coffee that I am looking at today.
Kings County Distillery was founded by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell in 2010. Inspired by the illegal jugs of moonshine Spoelman brought back from trips home to Kentucky, they purchased a still from the Internet and began distilling. Once they started receiving inquiries from strangers for their illegal distillate, they decided it was time to go legitimate. They were the first craft distillery in New York City and, starting in a 300-square foot room, were the smallest distillery in the country at one time (they’ve expanded a lot since that time as mentioned above).
They have never sourced their whiskey and their product is not sold under other labels – what they make is sold under their name and they stand by their product. Their whiskey is made from 100% organic corn, and all of their ingredients are non-GMO. They do not use rye or wheat in their bourbon, leading to a fairly high-malt mash bill. They utilize open air fermenters that encourage wild yeast to impact the flavor and mostly use a sour-mash process (a process of starting each batch fresh instead of using a bit of the last batch as a starter).
Their distillation process uses two pot stills, seeing a lower proof distillate than most bourbon productions. They take a smaller cut of their distillate as well, avoiding many of the compounds that lead to harsh flavors and contribute to hangovers. In aging they use a large variety of smaller barrels ranging from 5-gallon to 53-gallon, allowing them to do a lot of experimentation. They age for a minimum of three years and have roughly 3500 barrels in collection.
Kings County Distillery, for the purposes of the whiskey I’m reviewing, partnered with their neighbors Parlor Coffee to create their Coffee Whiskey. Parlor Coffee started off just as small as Kings County Distillery with a single espresso machine back in 2012. Parlor Coffee has since moved on to begin supplying coffee for people all over the world. Their cold brew goes directly into the Coffee Whiskey.
Kings County Distillery Coffee Whiskey is made by blending their bourbon and corn whiskeys with Parlor Coffee’s cold brew. Bottled at 40% ABV it was released in April and is being distributed through the United States. Their vision for this product is something that is versatile enough to be used in cocktails as well as be sipped neat and finds its place on a back bar as something unique from the flavored whiskeys and sweet liqueurs.
In my little bit of experimentation I found it plays nicely in drinks with liqueurs like Benedictine and Averna, makes a decent old fashioned, but does not mix well with vermouth.
Tasting Notes: Kings County Distillery Coffee Whiskey
Vital Stats: 40% ABV, made from a blend of bourbon, corn whiskey, and Parlor Coffee’s cold brew. MSRP will be somewhere in the mid 40s for a 750ml bottle depending on location.
Appearance: This is brownish red in color, looks a lot like a watered down cold brew in color. Really coats the glass.
Nose: I get sour cherry, tobacco, and leather on the nose initially. Subtle notes of walnut and corn also come through.
Palate: The flavor profile almost breaks in half for me, getting a corn whiskey up front and a cold brew on the finish. The front had sweeter notes of caramel and vanilla with a touch of dry oak. The finish is the flavor of a fruitier low acid coffee.
Read the full article at Whiskey Review: Kings County Distillery Coffee Whiskey