Four Kings bourbon review – a whiskey collaboration

When I read about Four Kings Bourbon, I was ridiculously excited.  Granted, I’d only tried 2 of the 4 “kings” at that point, but FEW Spirits and Corsair Artisan Distillery are some of my favorites, hence my excitement. The other two, Mississippi River Distilling and Journeyman Distillery, also deserve a place on my bar I’ve decided! And then I found out the fact that it was only available in Chicago. *sigh* But never fear, social media to the rescue! Twitter has brought me nearly a 1,000 shiny new friends recently, and some of them are in the Windy City.  I will not bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I soon was expecting a special delivery from William Lorca (@ACubsFan2007 – you should follow him too, maybe he’ll send you stuff!).

You’re probably familiar with collaboration brews by some of the big-name beer guys like Stone Brewing or Dogfish Head.  Four Kings is the first collaboration craft whiskey. Each distillery contributed 30 gallons of their whiskey, it was blended together and aged a little longer to let the flavors come together.  Yes, if you ask the internet, there is a minor scuffle over the label calling it “bourbon” because it’s not technically 51% corn, with the addition of Corsair’s smoked wheat whiskey (so 1/8 of it has a non-bourbon mashbill). Personally, I say I don’t care what you call it, the choice of the smoked whiskey is perfect. Without further adieu, here are my tasting notes- sláinte!

 Color: Darker in the bottle than it is in the glass, it’s still amber once poured.4Kings

Nose: A hint of alcohol, you can smell the sweetness of the corn with a little bit of the oak. The vaguest hint of smoke.

Taste: It has a full flavor up front, with a smokiness that’s evident but not overpowering. A smooth, sweet finish that doesn’t really linger, which for me, isn’t a bad thing. Time for another sip! **Updated: these notes were from when I originally opened the bottle, about 3 weeks ago. Since then, it’s lost some of the smoke, but it still is a very tasty bourbon.

Price point: $49, if you can still find it – ask Binny’s Beverage Depot for some help

ABV: 40% or 80 proof

Other comments: I don’t like corporate buzzwords.  They annoy me. “If we all stay in our swim lanes, then we’re using our core competencies, but we need…” Oh quit.  However. Synergy, or a result greater than the sum of the individual parts, is the only word I can come up with to describe this bourbon. Each one is great on its own, but brought together, creates something different that I don’t think can be done by just a single distiller. Buy it if you can find it!

3 out of 3 – nicely done!

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About Jeanne Runkle

Jeanne Runkle currently lives in San Diego, and is a certified bartender and craft liquor expert. Her specialty is the brown stuff, whether it's bourbon, rye or good old American whiskey. She can sometimes be found stalking the aisles of a liquor store near you, answering your random whiskey questions.

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