MONDAY MORNING REVIEW: Kansas Clean Distilled Spirit Whiskey


November 28, 2011 — Kansas Clean Distilled Spirit Whiskey

DISCLOSURE: It is Cocktails, 365′s policy that it always reveal when we receive samples of liquor to review for the Website. As we tell those who offer samples: we will accept the liquor for review, but that does not guarantee a positive review. Fabulous American Beverages (via Savvy Drinks Brand Management) sent us the bottle of Kansas Clean Distilled Spirit Whiskey. Listed below are the opinions of Cocktails, 365 and no one else. And always, thanks and drink up!

I’m torn.

On the one hand, Kansas is a unique product that is an excellent introduction to those who aren’t big fans of whiskey. It’s good, high-quality liquor that is distilled in my home state and uses high-quality winter what.

On the other hand, they’re trying really hard to appeal to a younger, urban crowd. I mean really hard. I mean really. Really. Really. Hard.

The marketer in me sees the purpose. It is aggressively anti-whiskey, it looks to woo over those who prefer potatoes to corn mash. By the same token, it’s aggressively anti-whiskey. Now, I’m a whiskey fan. And I’m Kansas’ target demographic (theoretically). It made me raise my eyebrow. Our executive editor Jenn, however, is similarly anti-whiskey. She saw no reason to raise an eyebrow at the marketing campaign.

So, despite an eyebrow raising marketing campaign (which, admittedly, is incredibly slick), the quality comes down to what’s inside the bottle. That’s truthfully what we should be concerned with. I don’t exactly celebrate Jim Beam’s partnership with walking Hepatitis culture Kid Rock, but I do celebrate their bourbon. We’re kind of suckers for good bottle design here at Cocktails, 365. So, despite what some may say, drinking is often about the culture and appearance of it. Kansas starts off on the right foot with a gorgeous, minimalistic bottle. It’s like a vodka bottle had sex with an old-school whiskey hip flask.

Presentation is good. But how does it shape up?

Nose:

Definitely more vodka on the front than whiskey. There’s a bit of that familiar vanilla smell often associated with aged bourbon.

Neat:

Okay, this is different. Truthfully, you could only call Kansas whiskey in spirit only (ba-dum-tss). There’s a bit of vanilla up front, that finishes out in a taste much more reminiscent of vodka than whiskey. Don’t go into this expecting your standard four-year barrels of golden delight. It’s very smooth, with very little burn. Much like the scent, it’s much more vodka than whiskey. If there was such a thing as whiskey-infused vodka, this would be it.

On the Rocks:

Very smooth. Again, it largely seems to be vodka with just a hint of that bourbon sweetness on the end.

Verdict:

If you’re coming into this expecting whiskey, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re coming into this expecting vodka, you’re going to be disappointed. Is it good? Yes. Yes it is. And what chrome plated balls on these guys at Fabulous Beverages; to create something that’s a bit of one and not other risks alienating both groups. But here’s the thing — this is infinitely mixable. I put some in a cocktail to Jenn and she thoroughly enjoyed, with just a bit of bourbon hint on the end. Granted, it is only a bit.

But if it can swing even one or two people over to dipping their toes into the whiskey creek, then it’s alright by my book.

In their review, drinkspirits.com says:

Kansas Clean Distilled Spirit Whiskey tries to straddle the line between vodka and whiskey, but ultimately delivers a fairly confused drinking experience. Someone buying this expecting anything resembling a whiskey will be fairly disappointed as it barely delivers the kind of flavors and experience of even the lightest and easiest of whiskeys. These whiskey drinkers would be better served with an easier aged whiskey like Gentleman Jack than this vodka-like spirit.

In our mind, however, Kansas isn’t meant for those hardcore whiskey drinkers (or at least not for those willing to step out of the bounds and try something different). Or really for the hardcore vodka drinker.

Is it worth the $30 price tag? Well, that’s debatable. It depends on how much you decide you like it. Hardcore whiskey and vodka drinkers would probably want to spend that $30 elsewhere. Personally, we’ll probably keep this one stocked in the Cocktails, 365 bar. It adds something incredibly unique and tasty to the cocktails you mix with it.

Overall, however, this company took a risk, and it’s a risk that we here at Cocktails, 365 was well worth taking.

Good on you, Fabulous Beverage. Now go ahead and roll yourself a pack of American Spirit cigarettes, hipster.

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