Still Austin iterates again this year with a new bourbon, made with red corn and bottled in bond. It’s the first in a line of four bonded whiskeys that will roll out over the next year, this one made with a mashbill of 36% Jimmy Red corn, 34% white corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. As it’s a bonded whiskey, it’s understood that the final product is (at least) four years old.
Red corn is said to have a richer, nuttier flavor than white or yellow corn, so let’s see how that translates through distillation and on to the finished product.
Bold from the start, this isn’t a shy whiskey, a fact that is evident from the start. Peppery and nutty, there’s an aromatic thread of mint running through the whiskey’s nose, followed by a slightly charred note evoking mesquite and cardamom. Some cola notes temper any of the more rustic qualities that can be sniffed around the edges.
Initially minty again on the palate, you can certainly taste the corn component here, presenting with the flavor of a nutty, homemade tortilla chip paired with orange peel, toasted sesame (more nuttiness), and a moderate punch of cloves. Chewy vanilla nougat and some cedar notes plump things up as it develops, leading to a finish that features brown sugar and a reprise of black pepper.
Cohesive and immersive from start to finish, it twists your expectations about bourbon just enough to make for a fun, yet familiar, variation on a well-worn theme.
Side note: The whiskey works well in cocktails too. At a launch event earlier this summer, the whiskey was a nice component in a range of classic libations, its nutty qualities providing a bolder richness to many of the drinks.
A- / $80 / stillaustin.com