This week while on the road in Chicago with none other than Single Cask Nation founder and all round awesome guy, Joshua Hatton, we decided to do a joint blog on a couple of interesting whiskies. Having never done this before we ask that you please bear with us as we hope that it all makes sense.
After wandering the aisles at Binny’s for a considerable amount of time Joshua and I settled on a compilation whiskey from 4 different distilleries called Four Kings. Pretty much exclusive to Binny’s it really fit the bill as something unusual that neither of us had tried before or knew much if anything about.
So the two of us went into tasting this bottle with no pre-conceived notion of quality or otherwise apart from the good reputation of the distilleries in question. After eyeing off various hotel vessels like coffee cups and even sanitary plastic wrapped water cups Joshua had the brilliant idea of asking for wine glasses. So with wine glass in hand and parked in the hotel lobby lounge of the Hampton Inn near the Chicago O-Hare Airport we cracked the bottle.
Here is my take on it and for comparison and to see the whole event from Joshua’s perspective then you can read his blog here…
Four Kings 2015 Craft Whisky Collaboration Corsair Distillery, FEW Spirits, Journeyman Distillery, Mississippi Distillery
Numbered bottle 364 of 800 – Rye Whiskey 40% ABV
30 Gallons of whiskey from each distillery for this blend. Celebrating Chicago whisky week 2015. Interesting to find out who made the final decision on the makeup of the blend or if it is just four equal parts from the four distilleries which would be rolling the dice a little if they were looking for a great balance of their differing styles.
Four Kings Whiskey
Colour: Some deep reddish hues from this combination of 4 different Rye’s. The only age indicator on the bottle is on the back label stating that it is over 1 year old. Rusty Amber would be the closest I can get.
Nose: Instantly distinctive softer rye spice with a herbaceous greenish note and a flourish of flora but not in a bad way. Like lying in sweet fresh grass in the summer time with the heady scent of mum’s flower garden wafting in and out on the breeze. Might be the unique glass but seems a touch hotter on the nose than it should be for 40%. I really like this softer rye nose and could easily call it a “pretty” whiskey at this point.
Palate: Wow … was expecting more a bit more punch on the spice side but it’s very muted to almost non existent up front. I really wish I could be tasting this at 46% as it seems to be missing some of the full character I was hoping for at 40%. Angostura bitters in the background and a very palate drying delivery. Feels like there is a fair amount of corn involved in at least a few of the mash bills as there is a light floral sweetness permeating the palate that reminds me of a hand full of tiny hard candies that I had as a child. They were pastelle colours and really all tasted the same regardless of what colour they were but were delicious, not overly sweet and just a touch chalky.
Finish: Fairly short when compared with a lot of American Rye I have had in the past. I would have liked these guys to be a bit more bold like a lot of their whiskies are in isolation. This collaboration is however an easy ride that is a unique rye experience and very pleasant.
Joshua and I indeed had different takes on the Four Kings which is a good thing as everyone comes to the table with a different palate and mindset. With the American side of the equation safely negotiated we delve into something Scottish next week.
Until then, le’chaim!