Tag Archives: Kinnickinnic Blended American Whiskey

Kinnickinnic Whiskey

Great Lakes Distillery Kinnickinnic American Whiskey
43% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Kinnickinnic: [KIN-I-KUH-NIK] An Ojibwe word meaning “what is mixed”.

Our Kinnickinnic Whiskey is a blend of Straight Bourbon we have sourced from one of America’s finest distilleries and a Malt whiskey and a Rye Whiskey we produce here at Great Lakes Distillery. We bottle it at 86 proof and we don’t filter it so we can ensure ALL the very best flavor is making it into the bottle.

American Blended Whiskeys are typically a mixture of a little Whiskey and Neutral Grain Spirit (essentially vodka!). Rest assured, there is no Neutral Grain Spirit in Kinnickinnic. It’s 100% Whiskey, and possibly the only American Blended Whiskey made this way on the market.

About the name- On the south side of Milwaukee we see Kinnickinnic everywhere- there is a main street through the Bay View neighborhood and a river named for it and several businesses include it in their name. To keep it quick and simple for locals and outsiders alike, many abbreviate it “KK” in writing and conversation. Kinnickinnic is an Ojibwe word meaning a blend or mix of tobacco and other plants. (There’s a good description on the Wisconsin Historical Society site).

What does this have to do with whiskey? Well, we think there are some pretty good analogies- Bourbon is often described as having a fresh tobacco like flavor, and like those Native Americans we found blending our “tobacco” with another plant (in our case malted barley and rye) produced a truly unique and delicious spirit. In our own experiments we have also determined this whiskey which is spectacular neat or with a few ice cubes is great mixed too!

What Gary Says:
Nose: The malted barley is most prominent, vegetative and grassy with a subtle sweetness.
Palate: Light, young malt; bran cereal, a hint of corn sweetness.
Finish: Short to moderate; a bit boring.
Comments: For being a mixture of malt whisky, bourbon and rye – the malted barley component is the only one I’m really picking up on. Someone could have poured me this and told me it was a single malt whisky, and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. Not sure what the mixture is, but I wish it had more kick from the rye, and sweetness from the bourbon. I understand these smaller, craft distilleries can’t compete on price point, and I do appreciate their looking to blend other components in – but for the money I would have been disappointed.
Rating: Average

What Richard Says:
Nose: The nose is very corn forward. I would almost call this a Dickel if I didn’t know better.
Palate: Snickerdoodle sweetness with much less corn than the nose. Slightly astringent and a bit hot and harsh after the sweetness fades. Something that reminds me a bit of Ricola cough drops.
Finish: Hot chili pepper and fresh rubbed mint.
Comments: I’m Great Lakes praise for using actual whiskeys instead of grain neutral spirit blended with whiskey as some other bottlers have done. I also give the praise for being up front out the sourcing of their more aged component. Now that all the praise is done I have to say I find this young, harsh, and not really worth the $40+ price tag. Go grab a Buffalo Trace, Rittenhouse, Four Roses, or Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond for half the price and be much happier.
Rating: Probably Pass

New U.S. Releases – May 2011

All the news in May seemed to focus on American whiskey. That’s never a bad thing. We’ve got some interesting news from Buffalo Trace and a bunch of craft distillers and bottlers rounding out the mix.

Kinnickinnic Blended American Whiskey
Timeframe: Summer 2011
ABV: 43%
Price: TBD
This is an interesting offering from The Great Lake Distillery. They are sourcing Kentucky straight bourbon and blending it with stuff they are making in house. Binny’s has it on the way but I don’t have a hard date on availability yet.

Griff’s Cowboy Whiskey
Timeframe: TBD
Price: TBD
I have very little information on this one. I know it’s coming out of Iowa and they were pouring it at WhiskyFest Chicago. That’s about it.

Breckenridge Bourbon
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 43%
Price: TBD
This is a sourced bottling around two years old. The Breckenridge Distillery owns the brand. There seems to be a lot of sourced 2 to 3 year old bourbon and rye hitting the market lately. I’m all for independent bottlers but most of what’s coming out is pretty young and rough. Maybe some of these guys should follow the lead set overseas and lay some of these barrels down for a while before bottling them. Just a thought.

Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Wheat Whiskey
Timeframe: Summer 2011
ABV: 43%
Price: $47
Small batch wheat whiskey made by Bainbridge Organic Distillers in Washington State. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some of this!

Buffalo Trace Single Oak
Timeframe: May 2011
Price: $46.35 for 375ml bottles
This is something really exciting from Buffalo Trace. In their quest to make the perfect bourbon they have launch a massive endeavor to try and isolate what makes the best bourbon. The project goes back more than 10 years and the output is more than 1,396 different bourbon combinations. The first batch came out in May. The whole thing is more than I can put in this post. You really should check it out at http://www.singleoakproject.com.

That’s it for May!

Drink wisely my friends,