King’s County 8 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

Distillery Only Release Barrel no. #2021

My introduction to King’s County is thanks to another New York distillery funny enough. Ragtime Rye from NY Distilling Co. is where I first learned about the “Empire Rye” designation. A handful of New York distilleries, I was slowly familiarizing myself with, wanted to create a distinctly New York product. I started to dig into the history of the grains used, specifically the Horton varietal. New Riff had Balboa, High Wire was using Jimmy Red corn. Heritage grains started to become a way for craft distilleries to differentiate themselves.

The first bottle I bought was an older release of Empire Rye at 51%. While in Lake Placid for a hockey tournament, I picked up this plain, unadorned, nondescript bottle off the shelf. I already had a fabulous Aultmore in my hand but a new rye? I had to spend the rest of my daily per diem.

However, this review is for their bourbon, which I only know from their reputation of hazmat 15-30 gallon releases. This release only grabbed my attention, not for the insane proof for a nearly 9 year old release, but that it was aged in a 53 gallon barrel. Spoiler alert, I shouldn’t have split this bottle.

Distillery: King’s County Distillery.

Region: Brooklyn, New York.

ABV: 68.7%.

Age: 8 Years, 326 Days.

Cask type: New Charred Oak. ISC #4. Warehouse “C”. Barrel #2021.

Price: $150.

Color: 1.7, Burnt Umber. Natural Color.

Tasting Notes

Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 15+ minutes of rest. Dilution was added for the second half of the tasting with an additional rest of upwards of an hour. This review encompasses my initial impression to the final glass.

Nose: Tons of ethanol that I advise you let your glass rest until they disappate. An intense molasses aroma you might have guessed this was rum from the nose. It was a recent trip, but it takes me back to the molasses holding tanks at Mt. Gay. Sugar coated soft molasses cookies. A true brown sugar bomb! Oak driven cereals, showcasing the malt. Pear and pecan tart with a slightly singed crust.

Adding water allows a dehydrated citrus note to come out. Somewhere between a lemon and a tangerine. Not overly potent but it’s hiding out. Water also lifts the charred oak aromas with more of those burnt sugar notes that I love.

Palate: Intensely rich and oily. Pine resin, allspice berries, and a touch of sumac. Browned butter, sticky toffee, fresh brioche, and rum raisin cake. Honeycrisp apple peels coated in brown sugar and an earthy backbone with toasted pecans.

Finish: Chicory tannic nature but not overt. Texturally, still rich and velvety so that tannic oak doesn’t come off as astringent or too dry for me. Loads of those baking spices on the back end. Mostly clove and cinnamon but also a nice kick of mace and ginger. Lingering on the palate as the alcohols fade, you’re left with a pleasant acidic, spicy sweetness.


Despite my notes here, this isn’t an overly sweet dram. It’s a whiskey you will have to chew through. I recommend waiting a few minutes to even half an hour to let this rest, as you will taste every proof point otherwise. Resting for even 10 minutes helped lessen those harsh grainy alcohols and bring out hidden fruits.

I don’t think adding water helps this whiskey out much at all either. It blooms the harsh ethanols and baking spices to an unpleasant level for me. As much as the near hazmat proof dissuades most from drinking neat, the proof is surprisingly much more bearable straight with just a bit of air time instead.

As for my first King’s County bourbon experience? I’m floored. The price is admittedly worth the admission and I’m hesitant to expound upon value these days in my reviews. I split this bottle to lessen that price shock and honestly regret it. I enjoyed this bourbon greatly. I would put it above some other well-regarded brands in my rankings.

Final Score: 92