By Richard Thomas
Few entries into the whiskey market have ever been as misnamed as Kentucky Gentleman. Certainly Imperial whiskey is anything but, yet the concept of empire is a vague one, meaning different things to different people. The phrase “Kentucky Gentleman” implies a certain Southern genteelness, and frankly, no one possessed with such grace and class would ever stoop to drinking anything resembling Kentucky Gentleman whiskey. Unless, of course, that individual were a whiskey writer imbued with the selfless mission of informing the public as to just what, exactly, Kentucky Gentleman Bourbon is…
Kentucky Gentleman is wrongly thought of as a bourbon, but in reality it is a blended whiskey, which is 51% bourbon and 49% grain spirits. The whiskey is made by Barton and bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).
In the glass, as in the bottle, the whiskey has an amber coloring that is more brown than copper, and looks like nothing quite so much as thinly brewed iced tea. The nose and flavor alike are watery, with equal measures of caramel and corn sweetness, coupled to a nauseating astringency. The finish reminds me of a cheap, knock-off cough syrup.
The sole redeeming characteristic of this very downmarket wino fuel is it’s price: one-liter bottles go for about $10 and 1.75-liter party bottles (although serving this at a party should rid you of your friends in a hurry) run less than $15. Yet even at those low, low prices, somehow it’s just not worth it, as the C-grade stuff is usually right next to Kentucky Gentleman and available for only a few more dollars.