4 Midwest distilleries team up to make a new whiskey

Illinois’s FEW Spirits, Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery, Tennessee’s Corsair Distillery and Iowa’s Mississippi River Distilling Company combine their bourbons to make Four Kings

Four Kings whiskey is a blend of four Midwest bourbons.

Whisky Fest is already sold out, but there are plenty of other whiskey tastings, dinners and events happening this week that you can still get in on.

One of those is the release of Four Kings whiskey, a 600-bottle collaboration between Illinois's FEW Spirits, Michigan's Journeyman Distillery, Tennessee's Corsair Distillery and Iowa's Mississippi River Distilling Company. The whiskey is officially being released at Binny's World of Whiskies tasting on Thursday, an event that's also sold out, but it'll be available at Delilah's, Fountainhead and Clark Street Ale House starting Thursday. Or, you can buy a bottle at Binny's, where it retails for $49.99.

The distilleries first hatched the collaboration idea last year in Chicago, and FEW, Journeyman and Mississippi River Distilling Company each contributed 30 gallons of bourbon, while Corsair added 15 gallons of standard bourbon and 15 gallons of other whiskies, including Oat Smoked Wheat Whiskey. Then they were all blended together and put in a barrel. Each distillery has a different mash bill, and Four Kings includes corn, wheat, rye and barley. The result is a whiskey that's fairly light and a little sweet. We noticed a small burn, but a drop of water smoothed it right out, so it's a good whiskey to sip or use in a cocktail. There's also a bit of smoke, some spice, and a lot of vanilla and, overall, it's a really nice, balanced whiskey.

Bourbon nerds may have noticed the bottle says "bourbon whiskey," but the blend includes a wheat whiskey. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau deemed it a bourbon, a distinction that has strict requirements like a mash bill of at least 51 percent corn and aging in new, charred oak barrels.

There's already talk about a Four Kings rye and, given the variety of products the four distilleries make, there's a lot of potential for new collaborations in the future.