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Issue 111 - Fit for a King

Whisky Magazine Issue 111
April 2013


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Fit for a King

Jim Leggett visits the North Carolina's newest distillery to discover Kings Mountain Whiskeys

Sarah Quinn Hambrick's sentiments of 1993 – ‘us vs. them' – are the same today as then. Brings to mind those bumper stickers you used to see: “Do Not Steal – The Government Does Not Like Competition” I've swapped lies over many a jar with distillers, legal and otherwise who voiced similar viewpoints. I wonder: could moonshine-making be in their DNA? Three years ago there were only 150 micro-distilleries nationwide,' blindeying' them as one needs to ‘know-aguy-who-knows-a-guy' just to get near these stills. Today there are more than 400, thanks to relaxed liquor laws, that and growing tastes for small-batch whiskeys, Bourbons and gins. Mind you, I don't enjoy Southern fruity concoctions, best described as Kool-Aid for adults and unloved motherin-laws. They'd never fly in Scotland. In contrast, Southern Artisan Spirits, North Carolina's newest distillery, boast good corn and rye whiskeys I'd rank way above average. Their signature Cardinal American Dry Gin is something quite exceptional.

Secreted in an old textile warehouse, yards from railroad tracks, the distillery is but a train whistle's wail from the historic Kings Mountain National Military Park, where a slaughter “turned the tide” of the Revolutionary War in favour of the American Patriots. On October 7, 1780 American Loyalist and Patriot militias clashed in the decisive Battle of Kings Mountain – described as more a massacre! Amidst ferocious assaults up heavily wooded rocky crags, swashbuckling Maj...

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