Eric Church's Whiskey JYPSI Explorer Series Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


There are craft distillers and blenders out there who have truly earned my respect. They aren’t afraid to do something unordinary. They take risks. They break rules.


One such person is a gentleman named Ari Sussman. When I reviewed Three Chord Honey Toasted Whiskey, Ari was involved. When I reviewed Mammoth Distilling’s Northern Rye No. 1, which happened to take my 2022 American Rye of the Year. Ari was the man behind that.


When I learned that Eric Church – yes, that Eric Church, wanted to launch a whiskey, and he chose Ari as his whiskey maker, all of my usual concerns about celebrity whiskeys vanished. That’s not to say that I’m giving it a free pass, but I’m also not going into this worried.


Church and Alva’s company is called Outsider Spirits. The name Whiskey JYPSI commemorates those who aren’t mere followers; they’re adventure-seekers who do things their own way.


Whiskey JYPSI just launched its Explorer Series, which is meant to continue its focus on sourcing the “highest quality whiskeys and ingredients” and finishing them in woods worldwide. Anything in the Explorer Series must be at least six years old and bottled between 50% to 53.5% ABV (100° to 107°).


“When we started this company, we had a long-term goal of creating the highest quality whiskeys in the world while having a diversity of products to satisfy the palate of a variety of whiskey drinkers. Our first launch was an ultra-premium product. This next one is going to be more accessible. It’s unique because it's going to be finished in woods from across the globe. That’s why we called it Explorer.” – Raj Alva, Outsider Spirits Co-Founder


Explorer is a marriage of two six-year-old Bourbons. One is a low-rye from an undisclosed Kentucky distillery, and the other is a high-rye from Indiana (read: MGP). The combined mashbill is 66% corn, 30% rye, and 4% malted barley. Once matured, the blend was finished in French oak from the Forest of Tronçais and American oak from the Appalachian Mountains.


According to Alva, oak from the Forest of Tronçais enhances leather and spice notes and is commonly sourced for Bordeaux wines. The oak from the Appalachian Mountains was selected because of its cooler climate, leading to slower growth and tighter grain. A secondary reason was its location near Church’s boyhood home.


“We only wanted to make incredible whiskey, and do it our way. Part of that is making sure it’s not just a whiskey – it’s a story highlighting the places, cultures, and agricultures that are part of our explorations.” – Ari Sussman


The result is a Straight Bourbon packaged at 51.5% ABV (103°) and carries a suggested price of $69.99 for a 750ml.


So, did Ari knock another one out of the park? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. I thank Outsider Spirits for sending me a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to that!


Appearance: A neat pour into my Glencairn glass revealed a copper-colored liquid. It produced a thin rim and fast, weighty legs.


Nose: I smelled corn, vanilla, orange zest, shortbread, rye bread, leather, and oak. Inhaling the vapor through my lips left a butterscotch quality.


Palate: Explorer’s mouthfeel was thin and silky. The front of my palate encountered toasted oak, cinnamon, and caramel; the middle featured leather, tobacco, and vanilla. The back’s flavors included cocoa, clove, and cherries.  


Finish: Whereas the palate tasted of toasted oak, the finish was French oak. Dry leather, cinnamon, cocoa, clove, and cherries held on for an almost never-ending duration. I timed one at over five minutes! Continued sips became spicier.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Whiskey JYPSI Explorer’s inaugural release was captivating. The transition from toasted oak to French oak was a real attention-getter. The spice notes were bolder than the sweet, yet they were complimentary rather than battling for the spotlight. Due to the French oak influence, it drank warmer than its stated proof. It was a delicious experience, and I’m thrilled to have a Bottle in my whiskey library. 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.