The resurrection of Philadelphia's Kinsey, a blended whiskey made locally from before Prohibition until the late 1970s, began with an airline-sized mini-bottle from 1943.
This tiny time capsule of the original spirit, which master distiller Robert Cassell of New Liberty Distilling in Kensington acquired from a former employee, was good for enough reference sips to allow him to re-create an homage to that midcentury flavor with a blend of outsourced corn and barley spirits.
Some are up to 18 years old (seven years is the youngest), one is from a distillery that's extinct, and none is the kind of cheap neutral grain booze that has long given blended whiskey a bad rap.
The final mix shows a beguiling balance that's an easy retro sipper straight or on the rocks, an exceptionally smooth dram with the barrel-sweetness of caramel corn, a dry spice finish, and a hint of fruit. A pricier cask-strength edition is even more vivid and floral. Is it an exact replica? Maybe not. But this latest Kinsey promises to become a worthy new/old local tradition of its own.