It has been so very cold here the last few days with highs ranging from 18-22 degrees and lows too low to recount. It makes for an amazing excuse to stay in, get delivery, and drink hot cocktails! As it turns out bourbon goes great with a little lemon, some honey, and a cup of hot chamomile tea, I suggest settling down by the fire with a mug of that, although you may not get up again for the night. Money saving tip: The more bourbon you drink, the lower you can keep the thermostat!
After quite the wait we finally have un-casked the second round of bourbon at the distillery. Having bottled a new batch of hand picked barrels we now have something to actually gauge our progress as all of us at Kings County learn our way to the ultimate bourbon. We knew that the last round of bourbon we put out, our first ever, was going to be something that we had no control over. Although it came out incredibly successful for having no idea what we were producing, there were obviously things about it that we needed to tame i.e. the intense and somewhat over bearing pine scent and flavor or the the cloying sweetness that was way too rounded and overwhelmed any of the sharp bite. Being so young, and frankly so ignorant, as a distillery we are learning to tackle problems and improve our work in order to better our bourbon. It boils down to a few different sets of ideas that we are constantly evolving the first being efficiency: trying to make sure we are doing every process the best and most efficient way, and the second: trying to actually influence the flavor of the end result. Making things run more efficient is by far the easier task, it is easy to recognize what we need to do to improve a certain system or how to cut back on waste, and easy to quantify results as they are so visible. Taste… Taste on the other hand is so hard to wrap your mind around. Not only do we have to establish what we are going for, which has become very apparent is very different for every single person involved, but also how to get to that different taste. How do we make a better tasting bourbon? It ranges from the consistency of how everyone works to the cooper that produces our barrels; some things we have control over and somethings we can’t avoid. Keeping all of this in mind, this week we handpicked from all of our aging casks the set of barrels that we balance each other out to achieve the results we wanted. Each barrel we fill ages completely different then the next all showing different qualities, one being sweeter and another showing strong cinnamon flavors. It is our job to select the barrels that will come together to make a whole and complete palette. So after cracking open the 10 barrels that were aged to maturity, we hand selected 3 to bottle this week, and I think the results show. It was unanimously agreed upon that this bourbon was leagues ahead of the last, and I can only hope that we continue to see it progress from here.