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Review: Stillhouse Black Bourbon

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While I have trouble believing that “America’s Finest” anything is packaged in the same type of can that they sell turpentine in, I am pleased to see that Stillhouse — best known for its increasingly chaotic line of flavored moonshines (mint chip whiskey, anyone?) — is taking things upmarket. Now Stillhouse is out with a wholly new line, ditching the red can for a black one, which is appropriate because it’s called Black Bourbon.

What’s Black Bourbon? Black Bourbon is a real bourbon (well, “blended bourbon”), made with corn, rye, and barley and then aged in new charred oak, which is then “rested & mellowed” in roasted coffee beans. Yes, there are a lot of questions here about how and where the bourbon is made, how old it is, and what “rested & mellowed” means, but when you’re drinking out of a paint thinner can, one has little need for the answers to such questions. One is mainly concerned with how the stuff actually tastes.

The answer: OK. I’ve had worse cheap whiskey, and I’ve had better. The nose here is fairly basic, quite hot with rough popcorn notes and plenty of raw alcohol/petrol character. On the palate, nothing particularly special leaps forward, either: Heavy popcorn indicates youth, as does the harsh burn on the back of the throat. (This is not a whiskey that anyone is going to describe as “smooth.”) There is a coffee element here, but it’s fleeting at first, and frankly it’s overwhelmed by notes of roasted peanuts, blackstrap molasses, and clove cigarettes. You’ll find a lot of the same elements in bottom-shelf bourbons on the market, but Stillhouse does have a reprise hint of coffee that lingers on the back end, helping to distinguish the whiskey from the fray, at least a little.

80 proof.

C / $30 / stillhouse.com

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the creator and editor in chief of Drinkhacker.com, a veteran technology journalist, and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.

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2 Comments

  1. dan May 27, 2018

    The marketing and packaging of this spirit is superb for its epic awfulness. Congratulations to Stillhouse spirits. Epic! Awful!

    Go to their website for the full, real deal. When you look at the section for their black bourbon, they’re very upfront about their approach. “More middle finger up, than pinky finger out.” Yep. That is a direct quote. Superbly tone deaf. Appalling.

    Reply
  2. Sam Komlenic May 27, 2018

    Yeah, but 30 bucks ain’t cheap in my book…

    Reply

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