By Richard Thomas
The forerunners of modern craft whiskey, distillers like Stranahan’s and Tuthilltown, are fast coming up on their 20th anniversaries. Even so, none has released a 15 year old whiskey, and I don’t expect either that landmark or a 20 year old expression to be coming any time soon. I doubt when these companies were start-ups, they were thinking about laying away barrels to produce an ultra-aged expression, especially when most of their early barrel stock was of the tiny variety (i.e. 10 gallons or less). Underlining why is something I once heard Harlen Wheatley say, that drinkable 20 year old bourbon was an expensive accident.
But craft distilling has, for the most part, left behind those early days of one year old whiskeys aged in tiny barrels. The mark of maturity for a small distiller is now well-established: releasing a bottled in bond expression. The latest small distiller to cross this threshold is Still Austin. With their artsy labels and grain-to-glass ethos, Still Austin is very much an urban distillery in sync with its namesake city, the town of both SXSW and Austin City Limits.
This is was an interesting sneak peek in a recent run of sneak peeks for me (a review is a sneak peek when it is both the first to get on the internet and is published before the whiskey is known to be in circulation), because no information accompanied it! At time of writing, I don’t know if it is older than the statutory minimum of four years or what the price point is. I also don’t have any regular bottle art, and I hate taking pictures of dinky sample bottles. I do know, however, is that it’s a red corn mash-made bourbon.
This 100 proof pour has a reddened, middle amber appearance. The nose smacks of deep vanilla, plus some a ginger cookie spice blend accent to season things up. The flavor has a current of red berry sweetness, more of that oozing vanilla syrup from the nose, and a light dusting of cinnamon and ginger. I found the finish to be spicy too, but light and quick, which was the main thing holding this bourbon back.
As mentioned above, I have no idea. The review will be updated as more information becomes available.