Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74

Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit

About seven months ago, I happened upon an advertisement for Spiritless Kentucky 74 Bourbon.  This advertisement did exactly what it was supposed to do: it sold an experimental teetotaler on the idea of an alcohol free spirit.  For someone who (previously) loved Bourbon, this was huge!

I should probably preface this by saying that when I ordered this distilled, non-alcoholic spirit, I was smack dab in the middle of one of my longest alcohol free stints.  I hadn’t yet reached my ‘Sobriety Day 1’.  At this point, I was still flirting with the idea of sobriety.

I say this because, back then, I tried to fill the void of alcohol with non-alcoholic versions.  I still love the occasional NA Beer (I’m talking to you, Well Being Victory Wheat), but I no longer crave the NA wine or NA mixed drinks or “alcohol burn” like I used to.  Now?  I am perfectly content with my seltzer water or Diet A&W Root Beer.

With that being said, when I made the Kentucky 74 purchase, I was still very much in need of Bourbon.  I placed the order at the end of September 2020 and promptly received an eMail: Thanks for your purchase! Your order will be shipping some time in October!

Mid November, after still not receiving my order, I sent an inquiry.  Sorry for the delay, you will be receiving your order in December, they stated.

December 20th, I sent another eMail explaining how this was going to be a Christmas gift (to me – they didn’t need to know that).  I received a response that due to shipping issues, it wouldn’t arrive by Christmas, but they were confident that I would receive by New Year’s.

On January 5th, I sent another eMail, asking when I could anticipate arrival.  They weren’t able to get all of the shipments out, they said, but it would be shortly.

At the end of January, I sent another eMail <At this point, I’m thinking that I had just been taken for the biggest NA scam of a lifetime>.  This response blamed COVID, blah, blah, blah, but promised that my order would ship within 2-3 weeks.

Do I need to continue? This sort of back and forth occurred up until today, when I finally received my bottle.

I don’t even fucking want it anymore. 

But, if it will help any of you, who are looking for a little crutch to get yourself through the alcohol cravings, here is my review:

COST: $35.99 and $4.90 shipping and handling

NUTRITIONAL VALUE: 15 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 1g sugar (can’t beat that with a stick!)

LOOK: The bottle is aesthetically pleasing!  It’s a nice, solid glass bottle with a decent punt indentation (which I always associated with top notch wine as having).  There was definitely some thought put into the label; this bottle would be a lovely addition to a bar shelf. 

SMELL: Honestly?  It smells like watered down Coca-Cola.

TASTE: Um…. this is a hard one.  So, it doesn’t taste like watered down Coca-Cola.  At least, not initially.  I tried it off and “on the rocks”.  Neat, it tastes like a sweet campfire.  Like what I imagine the water collected out of a fire pit after a hard rain knocked a marshmallow into the ashes would taste like.  On the rocks, the sweet flavor is faded, the smoky flavor is more prominent, however there is a slight chemical aftertaste that I can’t quite place.  It does not have the burn that the Ritual Brand Whiskey alternative has. Not bad, just not Bourbon.

COCKTAILED:

  • I never mixed Bourbon.  At least, not the good stuff.  My favorite way to enjoy was with two cherries and a splash of maraschino cherry juice.  Kentucky 74 served the same way?  Watered down Cherry Coke.
  • Bourbon and Bitters: I actually enjoy plain seltzer water and bitters better. Kentucky 74 and bitters creates several different flavor layers that don’t seem to pair well with each other. Like a marshmallow dipped in A1 sauce.
  • Kentucky Mule: ginger beer, lime juice, Kentucky 74, and a mint sprig.  Pretty tasty cocktail, but the bourbon-alternative flavor is only a mild aftertaste. 

Overall, Kentucky 74 was disappointing. Maybe seven months of building expectations and anticipation left a sour taste in my mouth?

Spiritless provided a booklet with recipes on how to cut alcohol with their product. Maybe Kentucky 74 would function well in this capacity, but I feel it fell flat as a standalone.

I think the minds behind Spiritless are on the right path. Our society needs alcohol free alternatives, especially on the restaurant/bar scene. But the Kentucky 74 Bourbon alternative needs some work. If somehow they could intensify the flavor and add that Ritual burn, they would have a GREAT  product. Until then, I’ll just stick to sipping water out of our fire pit, if I’m looking for a Bourbon alternative.  Or not.

~ Cari

3 thoughts on “Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74

  1. Pingback: Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74 – Part II – viCARIously Speaking

  2. Chester Crawford

    WOW. you described the taste that I couldn’t. I read one review that was all hearts and flowers. BUT, he got a free bottle. Well, my review was not as deep and very on the spot as yours. Mine is as follows, I was talking to the guy that did the review,

    Sorry, but you are way off the mark. The only thing Kentucky 74 has resembling Bourbon is, almost, the aroma of Bourbon, I paid full price and I can give an honest review. It’s not even close to the taste of Bourbon. They need to rethink and charge 1/4 of the price. I couldn’t get past one sip.

    Chester Crawford
    Merced CA

    Like

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