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Great Lakes Distillery KinnicKinnic Whiskey

Ol' Milwaukee Whiskey

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

19th Jan 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Great Lakes Distillery
  • ABV: 43%

Hard to believe it has been almost a month since my last review! It's been a busy time with my girlfriend and her son staying here, seeing family and friends and releasing the new Coen Bros. film Inside Llewyn Davis into theatres across Canada. It's been quite a whirlwind - but I have found time on a Sunday afternoon to write this interesting whiskey up, which I purchased in Buffalo a few months ago.

Great Lakes Distillery is an American micro-distillery located in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The make a variety of spirits, including brandy, absinthe, vodka, rum, as well as a 100% rye whiskey. KinnicKinnic (pronounced KIN-I-KUH-NIK) is a blend of Kentucky straight bourbon (from an undisclosed distillery) and their own malt whiskey and rye whiskey, and is unchillfiltered. "KinnicKinnic" is an Ojibwe word meaning a blend or mix of tobacco and other plants.

The colour is a bright medium gold. On the nose, you first get a mix of malt, rye and honey. Ginger and chocolate, with the rye bringing a hint of genuine dill pickle. Fruity with plums, wrapped in butterscotch. A little tobacco in the background. A drop of water pushes the malt and rye out front. Quite complex with what are seemingly disparate notes harmonizing very well.

On the palate, some cinnamon and caraway come in to play, with toffee and light honey again. Fairly spicy. Water rounds everything out, giving it a creamier mouthfeel. Very easy to drink.

The finish is a little rough, with butterscotch and more rye spices - even a little bit smoky. Somehow, this feels like a whiskey that was made a hundred years ago - it just somehow seems old-fashioned. Perhaps it's the combination of being rye-forward, a little rough and yet also quite charming. Very interesting and quite unique, though not a complete success. Awarded Best American Blend by the 2013 World Whisky Awards and a Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


Victor commented

Back in earlier days a lot of whiskey purveyors would blend various whiskeys, other spirits and flavourings together, creating something they could sell in order to stay in business. This sounds like a latter day version imitating that process. No doubt sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't, depending on the skill of the operator. Neat review, @talexander. Thanks. This looks like a very interesting one to sample.

7 years ago 0

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