Color: Deep amber
Nose: pepper, caramel, walnut
Taste: caramel popcorn, white pepper, cinnamon & cloves
Finish: medium & warm
Value: good price for what you get
Let’s just get this out of the way now:
Tincup American Whiskey is *not* mashed and distilled in Colorado.
Regardless of how misleading the label is, it’s distilled by MGPI in Indiana. The distillate is then shipped to Stranahan’s in Denver, CO where it’s diluted to bottle strength using “Rocky Mountain water” and bottled. The name “Tincup” comes from an old mining town, hence the “TINCUP, Colorado” on the label.
So, while the bottle is emblazoned with “COLORADO” and “BOTTLED IN DENVER, CO”, this is NOT a Colorado whiskey.
I usually don’t get too much into the wherefore’s and why’s behind the libations themselves (which is why I don’t harp on Buffalo Trace Distilling/Sazerac’s conglomerate) but this little drama unfolded over a year ago and I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least point to it.
Now that the “Shame on you, Proximo Marketing Team” segment is over, I say we get straight to the long-and-short of this whiskey:
Let’s Not Mince Words:
Sweet, smooth, mild, and mellow, Tincup is American Whiskey done right.
You all know my love of rye. High West Rendezvous Rye, Jewel of Russia, Rock Hill Farms… check my reviews and you’ll see that I do, in fact, like rye. […which is funny because I hate rye Gin.] And Tincup is a high rye whiskey. At over 30% rye, technically, I think it’s a “Very High Rye” whiskey, but suffice it to say that the rye content is above the “norm” for American Whiskey. And for me, that’s a plus.
…the prevailing scent is reminiscent of caramel kettle corn. And that’s a good thing.
Now, I often point to Buffalo Trace or Four Roses Small Batch as the standards for what Good Bourbon should aspire to emulate. They are tasty, smooth, sweet, warm-not hot, and… retail for less than $40 U.S. Now, a year ago you could procure a bottle of Tincup Whiskey for less than $30. Depending upon your location, that still rings true. (I paid about $30 for my bottle.)
Back to our senses. The nose is ever so slightly astringent -at 84 proof, that is slightly in expected- but the prevailing scent is reminiscent of caramel kettle corn. And that’s a good thing. It means that the corn used is quality, and the cooper got the barrel char just right. Trailing behind the alcohol vapor and the kettle corn is an unmistakable note of white pepper: the hallmark of rye content.
The taste is all caramel kettle corn. The white pepper and baking spices just get you at the back end, but upfront it’s all corn.
Give this whiskey a good chew. Swallow. The finish is smooth, medium and warm. The expected “whiskey bite” is there and enjoyable.
After you’ve completed your first tasting of Tincup straight up, try it with one ice cube. It opens up a bit and completely loses its whiskey bite.
Mischievous marketing practices aside, I really like this whiskey. I mean, I really like it. I’m headed to my local shop to get another bottle… if it’s still in stock.
Final Rating: 88 out of 100