Review: Tincup American Whiskey

Review: Tincup American Whiskey

tincup american whiskey

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.

84 proof.


Tincup American Whiskey




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  1. Chris on April 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    It’s probably from LDI. The mashbill has 4% malted barley, and I don’t know of anyone else who uses 4% malt (who would have the capacity to supply Tincup).

  2. Phil on April 7, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Great. Another sourced bourbon.

    Remember when “micro-distilling” actually involved distilling? Now, it only involves manufacturing a rugged back-story and designing an eye-catching bottle to sell an LDI product. It’s pretty sad. The owners of Tincup might consider themselves manufacturers or business owners, but I hope they don’t call themselves distillers.

  3. Denny on November 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Big Red Liquors had Tincup on sale for $10 off ($21) so I decided to give it a try. It isn’t a bad whiskey, and better than many in the $20-$25 range…but for a regular-price $31 bourbon-type I’m not terribly impressed. I may grab another bottle for future reference before the sale ends, but I wouldn’t pay $31 (or more than about $23, really) for it…especially since learning that they don’t make it themselves. But a decent everyday pour nonetheless.

    Oh, and I suggest you don’t try to drink it out of the supplied tin cap. Mine leaked rather badly and also gave the whiskey an off flavor not present with proper glass. Nice trinket, though.

  4. SM on April 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Good smooth drink. Don’t over think it. The cup is decorative, unless you rip it off and take a shot? Hmmmmm?

  5. Paul on July 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Received a bottle from friends as a gift for taking care of their horses while they were in CO. They gave us a bottle of Breckenridge a while back, and this was a bit pale in comparison.
    Not terrible by any means, but for me as a bourbon fan — meh. It is an OK every day drinking bourbon ( or Whiskey). I certainly would not pour it down the sink.
    Probably a good ‘starter’ bourbon to non-bourbon drinkers to get their palette on.

  6. Jim Goldstein on May 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    this is sourced from Indiana and Stranahan’s is added like salt and pepper in Colorado and added Colorado water. I think it is great for an old fashioned due to its 64% corn/32% rye mix.

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