Tincup (or Tin Cup, or TINCUP, as I refuse to write it) is the brainchild of Jess Graber, who launched Stranahan’s Whiskey in Colorado, where Tincup also hails from.
These are different animals, though. Stranahan’s is 100% malted barley distilled and aged on site. Tincup is rather simply sourced bourbon (from MGP), to which a small amount (less than 5%) of Stranahan’s is added. It’s watered down with Colorado water and bottled here.
Nothing wrong with that, and it sure keeps the cost down. Tincup is half the price of Stranahan’s — though just as with Stranahan’s, you also get a metal cup on top of Tincup, an homage I presume to the whiskey’s moniker.
The specifics of Tincup are scant, but it’s a blend of corn, rye, and malted barley, no age statement offered. Presumably because of the addition of the Stranahan’s malt, the company doesn’t use the term “bourbon” on the label (though it does on its website), but the maker does make a claim to a “high rye content.” Instead, the company just goes with the style name of “American Whiskey.”
All of this is surprising, actually. As whiskey goes, Tincup is one of the gentlest I’ve ever had, which is the antithesis of how we usually consider high-rye spirits. The nose offers vanilla and butterscotch, and as it opens up in the glass, dusty wood notes develop. This all leads into a quiet and surprisingly understated body: apple cinnamon, vanilla caramels and ice cream, and chocolate covered raisins. Curious strawberry notes, something you don’t typically find in bourbon, come along on the finish, which is otherwise silky, moderately sweet (solid caramel notes returning here), and hard not to like.
All in all, this is a simple little bourbon — “American whiskey” all the way — that could easily become the “house bottle” at many a home bar, Colorado-based or not.