Dunce Whiskey Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Something I admire more than just about anything is an excellent sense of humor. I love making people laugh. I love laughing. And, if you can be funny with intelligent humor, that’s even better.


There are a handful in the distilling industry who have mastered this talent. The first to come to mind is the Blaum Bros. – if you’ve never checked out the back label of its spirits, they’re hilarious. Apparently, Tamworth Distilling possesses this skill set.


Who is Tamworth? It is a New Hampshire-based distillery founded in 2015 that creates very unique spirits such as Crab Trapper (green crab flavored whiskey), Saison de Frai (smoked trout flavored brandy), and The Deer Slayer (venison-flavored whiskey). Yet, they also distill serious spirits and liqueurs, including various gins, vodkas, and whiskeys.


Today, we’re exploring Dunce Whiskey Series 001. Fed up with all the secrecy and mysticism that many non-distilling producers (NDPs) engage in, including purely invented backstories (“While exploring a garage sale, I found an old Hoosier cabinet, and tucked inside was my great-great-grandfather’s secret recipe for Bourbon whiskey!”), silly celebrity endorsements and other shenanigans meant to grab your attention and buy their whiskey, Tamworth’s team had some fun while lobbing a few pot-shots.


“To ensure perfect harmony from source to sip, we strategically blend our ingredients in tandem with astrological calendars, following the teachings of Pythagoras and various druids. As suggested by leading experts, we initiate the fermentation process during the triple solar alignment of the equinox to increase the flow of energy.

We then strain the solution through a conical device, as these shapes possess purifying properties according to Pyramid Power.

As Dunce Whiskey begins its aging process, our master distillers place Dunce caps on each barrel to conically charge the liquid with even more divinity. Dunce is crafted in Tamworth, New Hampshire—at Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile – where the distillery layout and barrel placement is optimized to follow the Golden Ratio.

After aging, we properly dilute Dunce Whiskey with pure waters and funnel the liquid into bottles of optical perfection and clarity.

As the batch is finalized, our distillers proudly gather around the bottled whiskey and recite its ritualistic oath to imbue one final touch of enlightenment for good measure.” – Tamworth Distilling


Tamworth went into full-transparency mode with Dunce as part of that needling. It is not Tamworth’s own distillate. Instead, it is MGP of Indiana’s 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley mashbill, then aged four years in new, charred oak. Bottling took place at New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia. It is packaged at 40% ABV (80°) and has a suggested price of $39.99.


Let’s get something out of the way here. While I’m not trying to skew my review, I know this is MGP’s basic, unadulterated Bourbon mashbill packaged at the legal minimum alcohol content. I believe that’s part of Tamworth’s statement directed at NDPs. Regardless, let’s #DrinkCurious and find out for ourselves.


One last thing: I thank Tamworth Distilling for sending me a sample of Dunce Whiskey in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured Dunce Whiskey into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. The straw-colored liquid formed a bold rim and a curtain of watery tears.


Nose: The nose was very corn-forward, so much so that it was challenging to smell anything else. Eventually, I found lemon peel and pastry dough. When I pulled the air through my lips, I encountered vanilla with a tinge of lemon.


Palate: Dunce’s texture was almost that of filtered water. It was thin, light, and airy. I tasted corn and lemon cookies on the front, with honey and vanilla at mid-palate. The back was a mix of nutmeg and clove.  


Finish: The blazingly fast finish allowed just enough time to identify flavors of honey, clove, nutmeg, and lemon zest.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As expected, nothing inside the bottle will surprise you. It is a basic Bourbon that would be a great cocktail base. Also, someone new to Bourbon looking for a different route than Jack or Jim could find it a good entry-level experience. Folks looking for a whiskey with some oomph will find Dunce Whiskey disappointing. Dunce Whiskey is everything that my Bar rating was designed for. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.