First there was The Musician. Now there’s The Artist, Still Austin’s rye that follows up its straight bourbon. Like Still’s other bottlings, this is made from 100% Texas grains — this one entirely rye, with no other grains in the mash. Aged at least 2 years, let’s delve into the experience of The Artist.
Shocker from the start: This comes across as much more mature and interesting than a 2 year old rye. The nose has a depth and complexity that feels closer to a bourbon than your typical rye. It’s got plenty of grassy and peppery qualities, but they’re filtered through a surprising level of fruit, some baking spice, and a modest layer of wood.
The palate’s a delight. Big notes of cherry and raspberry are something of a surprise here, the whiskey exhibiting ample notes of almond and chai spices to complement the fruity character. Lightly peppery as any rye should be, but well tempered, it threads the needle between sweet and spicy just about perfectly, showcasing everything you want in a cocktail rye — plenty of grassy herbaceousness, but also an exuberant drinkability even served neat.
Despite the price tag, I’d use this aside iconic rye favorite Rittenhouse any day.