Colorado’s Tincup has taken sweet time expanding its offerings over the years. They debuted with their American Whiskey in 2014 followed by a 10-year-old American Whiskey in 2018 and then in 2020 this bottle, Tincup Straight Rye. While the first two Tincup whiskeys were a unique mix of sourced MGP bourbon and a small amount of founder Jess Graber’s Stranahan’s whiskey, this rye expression is entirely straightforward stuff. Inside the bottle is MGP’s ubiquitous 95/5 rye recipe, aged at least three years, and cut with Rocky Mountain spring water. According to Tincup, this whiskey was “crafted to honor the original rye recipes from the 1850s that were enjoyed by settlers and miners in Gunnison County,” where the town of Tincup is located. I’m not sure anyone on the Colorado frontier in 1850 was drinking anything resembling 95/5 rye made in Indiana. But I guess why should that get in the way of good marketing? Thoughts follow.
The aroma is classic for a younger rye, bright with lemon and fresh oak. It’s grassy without being too green, showcasing a healthy spearmint note that only seems to build in intensity over time. The tell-tale herbal notes common to this recipe are present somewhere under the sweeter elements, but they recede quickly as the whiskey opens in the glass, replaced by a thin drizzle of caramel and some gentle baking spice. While the aroma shows some mildly impressive complexity, the palate has a hard time following suit. It’s light and thin for most of the sip, bordering on downright watery in places. That said, it’s not without some appealing, if subdued, flavors: a mild rye spice, muddled mint, clove. A fleeting flourish of black pepper arrives on the finish and just as quickly recedes with soft baking spice and oak notes similarly evaporating, leaving behind nothing but a gentle, minty warmth. Perhaps this one could have used a splash of Stranahan’s, as well.
B / $30 / tincupwhiskey.com