Texas typically does things big. They're the biggest, they're the best, or at least Texans think so. One thing I've been somewhat unimpressed with, however, is their whiskey. It tends to be hot, one- or two-notes, and they tend to taste the same - corn and wood, wood and corn.
When Still Austin Whiskey Company asked me to review The Musician, which is a two-year-old Straight Bourbon, I was hoping it would be more than fancy marketing. The fact that Nancy "The Nose" Fraley was involved gave me some added confidence. Nancy doesn't screw around, and I have a ton of respect for her. Still Austin is a grain-to-glass distillery. It uses only 100% Texas-grown grains and everything it distills is its own. The Master Distiller is John Schrepel.
The distillate starts with a mash of 70% non-GMO white corn, 25% Elbon rye, and 5% malted barley. After fermentation, that's run through a 50-foot Scottish-made still called "Nancy" (probably not named after Fraley). It is aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years.
Now, if you think that's young, keep in mind this is Texas. Similar to Indian whiskey, the theory is it ages faster due to the extreme heat. The angels tend to steal a lot in a quick manner. But, what you miss is the cold climate to force the whiskey out of the wood.
The Musician is bottled at 98.4° and is slated to be the first of a series of artistic whiskeys. Retail is $45.00 and can be found throughout Texas or online at Still Austin's website.
But, before you go out and buy a bottle, wouldn't you want to know if it is any good? The only way to get the answer to that is to #DrinkCurious. But first, I need to thank Still Austin for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, The Musician appeared as a rusty orange. It produced a thick, sticky rim that gave way to medium, fast legs once they got going.
Nose: The first note to hit my nostrils was corn. Oh, boy. This was going to be another typical Texas whiskey. But, as I continued to explore, aromas of banana, toasted coconut, and caramel joined the club. But, that's not all. Milk chocolate, nutmeg, and toasted oak rounded things out. When I inhaled through my mouth, I tasted pineapple and caramel.
Palate: My initial sip was greeted by a medium body that coated everywhere. At the front, flavors of brown sugar and cinnamon started things off. As it moved to the middle of my palate, a sample of hazelnut, coffee, banana, and caramel made me smile. On the back was a definitive charred oak quality.
Finish: You know that pink bunny in the battery commercials? The Energizer Bunny? The finish on this just kept going and going and going. It was smoky with black pepper and near the end, cherry.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: If there was a Bourbon to change my mind about Texas-made stuff, The Musician accomplished the task. I was surprised to find a complex nose and palate. I enjoyed the smoky finish. I would love to find something to complain about, but even the price is right. So, yes, folks, you're getting a Bottle recommendation out of me on this Texas Bourbon. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It