What are you, stupid? No! You’re drinking Dunce Whiskey, a relatively tame product from the loonies at Tamworth Distilling. This product doesn’t have a whole lot of mystery to it. It’s MGP bourbon, 4 years old, made from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. And the front label is a big, red dunce cap.
Named for master philosopher, linguist, theologian, and metaphysical thinker John Duns Scotus, contemporary understandings of the dunce cap — the tall, cone shaped hat traditionally shown as a symbol of shame and ignorance — stray from the origins of the brilliant man the notable cap is named for. Canonically, it was believed that the sky-reaching pointy hats attracted divine energy from the heavens above. To create Dunce, that same divine energy was channeled producing a spirit that nobody can put in a corner.
That factoid aside, I can’t imagine anyone will find much to be surprised about here. It’s as easy to enjoy as anything that comes out of Lawrenceburg, featuring a soft nose that hits all the highlights — caramel corn, some char, and a light dusting of spice that hints at toasted sesame seeds. No further mysteries emerge as the palate evolves, where we find notes of nougat and vanilla, another smattering of baking spice, and a growing clover honey note. A gentle touch of dark chocolate is the only real eyebrow-raiser here, one which arrives on the finish in time to add some more brooding elements — though just barely — to what is otherwise an approachable and lively and completely straightforward bourbon experience.
80 proof. Reviewed: Series #001.
B+ / $40 / duncewhiskey.com