Tin Cup American Whisky is MGP bourbon that is bottled in Colorado and put out by a man named Jess Graber. If Graber’s name sounds familiar that’s because he was instrumental in creating Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. After being sent this bottle for review I did some research which opened up a lot of questions like “Why is it called an American Whiskey instead of a bourbon?” and “Why does the mashbill for Tin Cup not match any of the ones listed on MGP’s site?” To answer these I got on a call with Jess himself to get the full inside scoop on Tin Cup Colorado whiskey.
First off let me say that Jess is a nice, up front guy. He started the call by letting me know that it was a sourced whiskey (which I already knew) and that in no way does he consider this to be a craft whiskey like Stranahan’s. He then went on to explain that one of the reasons for not wanting to call it a bourbon is because he didn’t want to compete head-to-head with all of the other bourbons in the market. He wanted to create a slightly different flavor than what’s already out there so he worked with MGP on a proprietary blend of bourbons which resulted in the mashbill listed below.
After that proprietary mixing of bourbons happens at MGP they ship the whiskey to the Stranahan’s facility in Colorado where Jess and his crew do two things to it before bottling. They cut the whiskey with Colorado water and they add a little bit of Stranahan’s to the mix which, as Jess says, “is like adding salt and pepper to your meal, it’s just a little bit”. He won’t disclose how much, but at that point it couldn’t be called a bourbon any more anyways since it has another liquor added to it. Like the Jim Beam Spanish Brandy it would have to adopt a much clunkier name like “Bourbon Whiskey finished with Colorado Malt Whiskey” (or something like that). At which point using the catchall American Whiskey is a whole lot easier while simultaneously removing it from mental competition with bourbon.
For you whiskey geeks out there who know MGP mash bills by heart you might be wondering what kind of a mix they could be doing to reach the mashbill listed below and thanks to Red, White and Bourbon the math has already been done for us. So if you’re curious be sure to check out Josh’s post on RW&B to see the potential breakout. I have no problem with the actual process of the whiskey creation. I just wish they would take the next step and readily disclose it on their site and put “Distilled in Indiana” on the bottle.
Tin Cup American Whiskey Review
Bottler: Proximo Spirits at the Stranahan facility
Mashbill: 64% corn, 32% rye & 4% malted barley
A nice caramel moves out first and is soon accompanied by some light nondescript spice, rye, a light touch of wood, green apples and a touch of dill. There is a sprinkling of cinnamon and a dusty sweetness that reminds me of Sweet Tarts and Pixie Stix.
Initially it has a sweet graininess to it that gives way to cherries, rye, citrus and a bit of dill. That same nondescript spice from the nose moves effortlessly across the palate but instead of a sweetness, it’s accompanied by a soft minerality that rolls through at the end.
Caramel, rye, chalky minerality and a touch of wood ease out on a medium finish.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
It’s kind of a light whiskey al around and nothing stands out so in that regard it’s balanced. It has a thin light body and a bit of heat going down, but no more than an 84 proof whiskey should have.
There is nothing wrong with the aroma or flavor of the whiskey, and it comes together pretty well, but there’s nothing super exciting about it either. The nose is subtle and light, the palate is sweet with hints of spice and the finish mimics all of these characteristics. I’m not saying it’s a bad whiskey, it’s just a light whiskey and for my personal tastes I want something a bit bolder and more oak driven. But if you like the lighter sweeter whiskeys that still carry a bit of spice then this would be right up your alley.
*Disclosure: This bottle of Tin Cup Whiskey was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.