Showing posts with label Durango Craft Spirits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Durango Craft Spirits. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2022

Tinhorn Colorado Straight Blue Corn Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

A little over two years ago, I reviewed a Colorado Straight Bourbon called Cinder Dick. The little boy in me had a lot of fun with that whiskey’s name, but nothing was childish about how it performed.


Durango Craft Spirits has its second Bourbon hitting the market. This one is called Tinhorn. We learned what Cinder Dick meant: it is slang for a railroad detective. What’s a Tinhorn?


“Gambling was a popular form of entertainment for miners and railroaders who flocked to southwest Colorado in the latter part of the 19th century. Professional gamblers were able to make a living gambling and they found it particularly profitable to work in newly-formed mining towns. The term Tinhorn originated from a game of chuck-a-luck, where three dice were rolled down a chute onto a flat area known as the horn. The cone-shaped chute was usually made of leather, but the cheaper chutes used by some unscrupulous and unskilled gamblers were made of tin, hence the name Tinhorn Gambler.”Michael McCardell, co-owner of Durango Craft Spirits


Nowadays, the term implies a contemptible person who pretends to have money, influence, or abilities.


Tinhorn is a single barrel four-grain Bourbon. It is 65% non-GMO blue corn from the Ute Mountain Utes, 18% raw Colorado-grown Centennial white wheat, 8.5% raw Colorado-grown San Luis Valley rye, and 8.5% two-row malted barley from Colorado Malting Company. All grains come from within 100 miles of the distillery.


Durango Craft Spirits then mashed, distilled, and aged the concoction in new, #4-char 53-gallon white oak barrels for two years. It was bottled on-site at 94°, and a 750ml bottle costs about $62.00.


How’s Tinhorn taste? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious, but before I do, I must thank Durango Craft Spirits for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!


Appearance: As a neat pour in my Glencairn glass, Tinhorn presented as chestnut with a thicker rim. A mix of sticky droplets and long, wavy legs hugged the wall.


Nose: An aroma of field corn flowed from the neck of my glass. Beneath it lay floral rye, caramel, vanilla, and charred oak. When I pulled the vapor into my mouth, vanilla and rye spice crawled across my tongue.


Palate:  The first sip was oily, and subsequent ones added additional weight. Kettle corn was the first flavor experienced, followed by vanilla and caramel. I found spiced nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg as it moved to the middle. The back offered a blast of clove, leather, and charred oak.


Finish:  A very long, arid finish consisted of kettle corn, charred oak, old leather, and cinnamon Red Hots. When I say long, I’m considering several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’ve never before used kettle corn as a tasting note; it was the first thing I tasted. It was unmistakable. Tinhorn has a lot of bold flavors going for it and reminded me a lot of Cinder Dick (I still have that bottle because it was so unique). If I didn’t know what I know about Tinhorn, I’d have never guessed it was only two years old in standard cooperage – there’s nothing young about it. Finally, it is proofed correctly, likely the reason it doesn’t taste young. At $62.00, it may seem pricey for its stated age, but I don’t believe that you’d consider buyer’s remorse if you purchased a Bottle.  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 do so responsibly.



Monday, April 20, 2020

Cinder Dick Straight Bourbon Review

I have the maturity level of a grade-schooler. Well, let's get real - it isn't quite that mature. I love sophomoric humor - the more immature the better. 

When I first saw the name Cinder Dick I knew I had to have this Bourbon. The first words out of my mouth were, "Good, bad or ugly, I need to review this. It would be a ton of fun."  Durango Craft Spirits proprietor, Michael McCardell, responded and told me this would be the best Bourbon I've ever had.

The fact that I'm a serious reviewer makes me want to tone down poking fun of the name. But, I'm going to do it anyway. Cinder Dick?  What's that, a burnt woody?  And then my mind went to Cinderella and it devolved from there into stuff I don't even want to put in print.

On a far more serious note, Cinder Dick is slang for a railroad detective. The name is relevant to the Durango, Colorado area where it is distilled because of the world-famous Durango-Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad. Cinder dicks rode the rails to protect valuable cargo such as building materials, bullion, and, of course, cash. On a very brief segway, this railroad offers one of the most beautiful scenic train rides you'll ever experience. I used to live in Colorado and it is something you should have on your must-see list.

Durango Craft Spirits is located in (you guessed it) Durango. It is the first post-Prohibition grain-to-glass distillery in the area. It handles everything from mashing to distilling to barreling on-premises. Grains come from the surrounding area. In the case of Cinder Dick, it is a mash of 66% non-GMO white corn from the Ute Mountain Tribe, with the remainder using wheat, rye, and two-row malted barley, all from Alamosa (about three hours away). Cinder Dick is a single-barrel Bourbon, aged two years in 53-gallon, #4-charred oak from Kelvin Cooperage. It is bottled at 94°. Retail is $57.00 and the current distribution is limited to Colorado. There are plans to expand to New Mexico very soon.

I'd like to thank Durango Craft Spirits for providing me with a sample of Cinder Dick in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious...

In my Glencairn glass, Cinder Dick appears as a deep burnt umber with red highlights. It looks like it could have been finished in an ex-Cabernet cask, however, we know that's not true because the rules of Bourbon wouldn't allow it. That would be the #4-char helping out.  It left a very heavy rim on the wall and generated fat drops that didn't really go anywhere.

Aromas of oak, coffee, and sawdust were prevalent. What was noticeably missing was any ethanol, especially considering how young this Bourbon is. Beneath those notes was a suggestion of cherry and plum - until I brought the glass directly under my nostrils, and then the stone fruits really jumped at me along with spearmint. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a blend of caramel and mint leaf. 

I found the mouthfeel to be light and airy.  On my palate, Cinder Dick was very oak forward, with a light caramel underneath. But, at mid-palate, all that oak went away and it was an explosion of chocolate-covered espresso beans.  When I say explosion, I mean exactly that. It completely took over. On the back, the espresso toned down and tobacco leaf was left behind.

The finish was originally short and started with dry oak and black pepper. When I wondered what happened to it, it returned and became the Energizer Bunny, and brought back the espresso bomb.

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I wanted this to be a fun review. I hate to admit it, but I was secretly hoping Cinder Dick would be bad because that would give me so much more ammunition to make juvenile jokes. Unfortunately (or, rather, fortunately), Cinder Dick was a very nice surprise. I'm not a coffee drinker, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. So did Mrs. Whiskeyfellow, and she's not much of a coffee drinker, either. If you are, this is going to be your mojo. The price is not offensive for craft whiskey and when you take all of this into account, Cinder Dick earns my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System:

  • Bottle = Buy it
  • Bar = Try it first
  • Bust = Leave it