Colorado-based Tincup is back with its oldest whiskey yet. Fourteener is billed as a bourbon, unlike its eponymous bottling and Tincup 10 Years Old, both of which are denoted as American Whiskeys, due to the addition of a small amount of Stranahan’s single malt in their final blends. (Update: Tincup says that single malt is no longer added to the 10 year old bottling.) Fourteener is instead a straight bourbon, made with the house style mash of roughly 2/3 corn, 1/3 rye, and a touch of barley, aged in new American oak.
Fourteener is named in honor of the 58 mountains in Colorado that are over 14,000 feet tall — known as Fourteeners. This will be an annual release, with each bottle celebrating a different mountain on the label. The first release for 2022 features Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountain Front Range.
We recently tasted Fourteener alongside other members in the Tincup lineup via Zoom, with distiller Jess Graber and Jason Levinson, whiskey educator for Proximo, guiding the way. Thoughts on the new release follow.
There’s lots of wood on the nose here, quickly moving from there into a traditional baking spice profile, particularly heavy on cloves. Torched orange oil notes emerge with some time. The palate’s got quite a bit of fruit to it, apple mainly, then something more akin to applesauce — before classic notes of vanilla and caramel start to take over. Some nutty notes emerge late in the game — almond nougat, quite sweet — before the whiskey leans back into a baked apple fruitiness, almost dessert-like. Cinnamon props up the finish, still laced with fruit, with hints of bubblegum around the edges. The wood character finally makes a reprise late in the game — and it’s welcome, because the whiskey would otherwise come across as rather too sugary without it. As it stands, the balance still leans a bit heavily in that direction for my taste, but sweet tooths may well disagree. Definitely worth comparing to Tincup 10 if you can snag a bottle.