Review: Drink Like a Mountain Man With TinCup Rye Whiskey

TinCup Rye Whiskey
Image: TinCup Rye Whiskey

*Old Prospector Voice* That’s some dang good stuff.

Look, people send magazine writers and website editors booze all the time. We review some if we’ve got the room but receiving the sample never guarantees a review or a good review, just so the reader knows.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I received a bottle of new TinCup Rye Whiskey about a week ago and was alarmed to discover last night that I’d gone through it pretty fast.

I’m not a big drinker; it’s like my body has three-drink max cutoff. No complaints here, either—I’ve been truly hung over maybe three times and do not recommend it other than as punishment for overdoing the hooch. And if I do drink, I like variety. Hence my surprise at focusing in on this one whiskey.

Except it’s not so surprising at all once you have a taste.

First, a little history.

Jess Graber, a distiller with 40 years experience who cofounded Denver’s fantastic regional brand Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, founded TinCup. The brand began with a bourbon-like issue, and now they’ve added the rye expression.

TinCup folks say this is a “straight” aged for three years, then blended with Rocky Mountain water to reduce it to proof.

Graber, who is described as “a true mountain man” did live the life, working construction, riding in rodeos and working as a volunteer firefighter. His TinCup was intended, then, as “a celebration of the spirit of Colorado mountain lifestyle.”

Now the review portion of the festivities (no, I haven’t had any TinCup today!):

Tasting Notes: TinCup Rye Whiskey

Stats: TinCup is 90 proof and was distilled and aged in Indiana

Nose: There’s a mulled Christmas cider note at first that gives way to a slightly sharp-edged earthiness. It’s got enough of a hint of spice to tingle your nostrils without repelling them at all.

Palate: TinCup Rye has a momentary bitter undertone that’s quickly eclipsed by the spark of rye and a fantastic buttery mouth feel. It’s modestly flavored overall and the aftertaste is as clean as the mountain water it’s cut with. The flavor palate is distinct from a product of, say, the South (think Jack Daniels or just about anything out of a Kentucky distillery) and while it’s great with a splash of water it’s also a straight-up fantastic mixer. I have a frat boy’s taste in cocktails (considering I’m old enough to be a frat boy’s dad) and frequently mix whiskeys and bourbons with colas, and TinCup is one of the best I’ve ever had for complementing just about any soda you choose.

Summary: TinCup is an excellent and affordable (just $30 MSRP for 750ml) addition to any home bar. In fact, it may be a superior mixer because it enhances cola flavors especially well without overwhelming and dominating, a la Jack Daniels. By itself it’s mild enough on the tongue that you may have to guard against overdoing it—though it’s 90 proof TinCup is rather unobtrusive by itself or with an ice cube. If you’re at home and getting drunk due to the boredom and depression inherent in coronavirus pandemic self-isolation, you could do much, much worse. 4.5 out of 5 stars—the half-star reduction is only because it could perhaps even stand a little more edge on the flavor. It’s just shy of having that memorable peppery note some of the greatest whiskies possess. Each bottle comes with a handy little tin cup, too, which is just kind of fun.

Website: tincupwhiskey.com

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