When I was at Distill America X last month, I had the opportunity to try some new releases of whiskey. That’s one of many reasons why I love tasting events – it is the whole discovery aspect and finding something new to enjoy. One of the booths I stopped by was Stillhouse Spirits Company. The owners are very nice and were kind enough to provide me with a sample of Stillhouse Black Bourbon to review with no strings attached.
The packaging is certainly unique, and it isn’t every day that you come across Bourbon in a can, although perhaps it is because I see Stillhouse cans in nearly every liquor store I visit. They’ve certainly done a good job of getting their product distributed and because of the can, it grabs a lot of attention. The Black Bourbon is a brand new product destined to hit shelves this summer.
The can states it is “[a] masterful blend of corn, rye, barley and limestone water. Barreled in charred new American oak, charcoal filtered, rested and mellowed in roasted small batch coffee beans …” It carries no age statement, and as such, it is at least four years old. The can also states it is produced and bottled by Stillhouse Spirits Co., USA, which tells me that the whiskey inside is sourced. Otherwise, it would say “distilled.” It is “bottled” at 80°.
Speaking of proof, the proof is in the pudding, and as this is a unique whiskey, it allows me to really open my mind and #DrinkCurious.
Black Bourbon comes in two packages: a 375ml with a suggested price of $19.99 or, for $10 more, you can get a 750ml.
At my chin, aromas of corn and coffee permeated my nostrils. Lifting the glass to lip level brought a very subtle caramel. Letting it hover just under my nostrils returned more coffee. Inhaling through my lips yielded a candy quality.
The mouthfeel was extremely thin, and for the most part, was smooth. That smoothness can be credited to the charcoal filtering process.
The first sip brought nothing but coffee flavor. Being one of the six Americans who doesn’t drink coffee, it was a little on the strong side. However, I never judge on the first sip. A second toned down the harshness and becomes much smoother. Just like on the nose, there was very subtle caramel, but it is mostly overwhelmed by the coffee. Underneath it all is corn sweetness. Subsequent tastes yielded nothing but coffee and corn.
The finish was soft but kept repeating coffee. I picked up no other notes. It did nothing at all in my throat, everything was in the mouth.
Next was where things got interesting. The package is designed to be placed in a pocket while camping or some other activity. As such, you likely aren’t packing a Glencairn glass, and you’d drink it straight from the can. Well, I wouldn’t, but that’s what the design is. In an even greater attempt to #DrinkCurious, I did exactly that.
I figured at this point, I’d return to the glass, and even though it is 80°, I’d try water to see if that did anything. After all, this is a #DrinkCurious moment. If you’re familiar with my reviews, you know I use an eyedropper to add two drops of water.
The result was that the coffee got stronger on the nose, so much so that I didn’t need it anywhere near my face to sense it. The mouthfeel built body and became creamier, but the coffee then turned almost stale and sour. I tried several times to pick up a finish, but it just dissipated quickly.