Review: The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Whiskey

Review: The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Whiskey

hatfield and mccoy whiskey

Much has been made about the authenticity of the genealogy behind Hatfield & McCoy whiskey — a new spirit allegedly being produced by blood relatives of the infamous West Virginia-vs.-Kentucky clans who put aside their differences to sell hooch. I won’t rehash the who’s-who behind this new brand or whether this is just an attempt to capitalize on some famous names. My concern here is for what’s in the bottle, and I’ll leave the politics for the comments or elsewhere.

As for what’s in the bottle, it’s sourced* whiskey, bottled in South Carolina by Local Choice Spirits on behalf of the bottler. It’s also a flavored whiskey, though that’s buried in the press release and not disclosed on the label — not that they have to, as this is just “whiskey,” not bourbon, even though it’s made from a mash of “corn, barley, malt, and special strains of yeast.” (Barley and malt are generally terms used to describe the same thing… but I’m digressing again.)

Anyway, we tasted it, and here’s what we have to say.

The nose is restrained and initially a bit difficult to parse. There’s not a whole lot to report, just some floral notes amid some of the dust, a bit of apple and caramel, and indistinct baking spices. The body has little more to report, offering a surprisingly dry palate with notes of banana, butterscotch, and cigarette smoke. The finish features elements of sea salt and tar, along with a touch of cedar chest. It’s a bit on the watery side, too. I’m not sure what this whiskey is flavored with, but maybe it needs more of it? Or less?

80 proof.

*Hatfield & McCoy responds that this whiskey is not “sourced,” saying:

The whiskey was created by 10 direct ancestors of the original feuding families (five Hatfields and five McCoys) using a combination of authentic, original family recipes that had been used privately for generations. The families selected Local Choice Spirits, a distillery based in Charleston, South Carolina, to produce, bottle and ship the liquid using precise specifications and ingredients as outlined in the recipe. Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey is not a “sourced” whiskey.

C+ / $40

The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Whiskey




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Denise Robertson on May 22, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Unless the two families used exactly the same recipes I would certainly think that the whiskey they created “…using a combination of authentic, original family recipes that had been used privately for generations” resulted in an entirely different “taste” far removed from the two “originals”.

    So, just how did they come to agree on the “NEW RECIPE” and how different is their final product from the TWO of their ancestors? Certainly neither ‘side’ would admit they liked the others product better than their own; they would be taken into the woods and never seen again! This new “mixture” in all probability does NOT taste even close to either of the “real deals” and one can only wonder if either side really drinks the ‘new stuff’; or, do they instead still mix batches using the unaltered family recipes.

    The tightwad in me says, “whiskey that runs just North of $45 bucks a ‘fifth’ should not result in a review that includes “dust, baking spices, cigarette smoke, tar and cedar chest” when addressing ‘taste’. “Sourced” or not this does not bode well for the new “Family Recipe”.

  2. debbie longer on November 17, 2015 at 7:39 am

    This response by this legendary company to this article is 100% lie. it is fraud. legendary is not hand made and they do not have 10 direct descendants. i live outside of logan west va and we know the hatfield family, and the mccoy families well. this has been a con from the first day. five of the original hatfield that joined this shady opportunity have resigned and not one of them has seen a red cent. the mccoy they refer to are in fact the quick family. mark hatfield their former “head” of this alliance quit because of the fraud. and the hatfield and mccoy made and makes moonshine not brown whiskey. and the stuff is made somewhere in south carolina and not west va. the brown whiskey, which is real trash, is sourced by some firm down there. the families never made whiskey but moonshine. we hear the families are sueing these fraud people and have partnered up as both families with nancy hat and ronald mccoy to make it the right way in gilbert please expose these con artists.

  3. Brenda Hatfield on April 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Everything about this is a total fraud right down to their press release. 10 direct descendants? Why can’t they put a name to those descendants? It is because the 5 McCoys are not direct descendant of Randall McCoy, all 5 in one family, the father, the mother and their 3 children, are all Quicks which are only direct descendants from relatives of Randall not Randall himself, so that makes them a LATERAL descendant not a direct. As for the Hatfields, the only one that knew how to make moonshine was Mark Hatfield and this company tried to steal his family’s recipe’s and cheated him out of his part of the business to make way for his low life brother John, who may just be his step brother. They do have the same mother. To make the lie worse, no one knew how to make moonshine or have ever made moonshine except for Mark Hatfield. But Mark was smarter that this company Legendary, he saw what they were doing. This company filed 44 trademarks to try to win control over the Hatfield & McCoy name forever. It was just not right for this company to come to town and use the southern WV heritage and steal their name. Everybody should be able to use the Hatfield or the McCoy name just as you would a common name such as the word car or pharmacy. Now they are trying to pedal a cheap liquid made from a cheap distillery in SC as something they have made themselves. In case they don’t know it, Lying is one of the 10 Commandments and they will receive their Karma because you just don’t do people wrong and prosper from it.

  4. David Perkins on December 19, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    I just tried a swig, jigger no water or ice. Balance is destined for late night “duck camp”……very late.

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