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King's Family Distillery blending science and art in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains

“Jump on outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition.” Well, actually it was a cup of King's Family Distillery Rye but close enough. 

We took a trip out to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home to Dollywood in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, to meet with the husband and wife team behind the award winning juice we found in our hands — Justin and Cara King.  

Cara got her start working in the whiskey industry via her family’s grain firm that supplied rye to distilleries. When she sold her stake in the company in 2015, she started buying barrels as investments. 

“As barrels accumulate age, they accumulate value,” Cara told us. “I was either going to become a broker sat behind a screen all day or in the distillery game, which is so dynamic. I’ve seen so many craft distilleries do a great job of expanding the knowledge base and products.” 

She ditched spreadsheets for whiskey. 

In 2018, King's Family Distillery opened. They currently have 11 products including a bourbon and rye, which will both be featured in the RackHouse Whiskey Club box (see below for a detailed description).

“We really have something for everybody here,” Cara told us as we sipped on a glass. “My favorite is our rye whiskey. It’s a low rye content whiskey so it drinks almost like a high rye content bourbon.” 

It’s a rye we're excited to share in our box. King's Family Distillery is marrying the science of distillation with the art of finishing whiskey. 

“It’s a good example of what you can do with a sourced product. We’ve very proud of that fact we do sourced,” Cara added. “We source unique mash bills, we source due to the fact that I have known those folks since 2008 very closely so I know who does what very well. I know what to source and from whom. I would say our product is exceptional. We get the barrels in and polish it to make it unique and to bring out the flavor you should be tasting.” 

Justin’s prodigy is just as impressive. He was previously the Master Distiller for Ole Smokey Moonshine, the first legal moonshine distillery in Tennessee. Moonshine became his bread and butter winning the American Distilling Industry’s Best in Class Moonshine award in the process. 

What’s in the box

King’s Bourbon

King’s Bourbon is a high corn mash bill. The flavor profile is big and bold, featuring Bourbon’s signature smoky tobacco and vanilla notes, but with hints of sweet raisin, fig, and date. A true single barrel bottled at 87 proof.

  • Won Double Gold in The Fifty Best Bourbons
  • Won Best in Show at Great American International Spirits
  • Won Silver at the 2019 Barleycorn Awards

King’s Rye

King’s Rye is startlingly smooth, with rich notes of dark chocolate, licorice, and toasted tobacco, followed by sweet roasted hazelnut, dark cherry, and ripe orange, with a robust yet clean finish. King’s Rye mash bill is 51% rye, 45% corn, and 4% malted barley. Bottled at 90 proof.

  • Won Silver at Great American International Spirits
  • Won Double Gold at the 2019 Barleycorn Awards

Bonus bottle

Middle Creek Moonshine

Corn liquor that is said to be made by a local legend, and the Kings age it for three months in one of their bourbon barrels. Smooth like a bourbon on the front, burns like a moonshine on the back. Bottled at 131 proof.

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