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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Tincup American Whiskey

I am a sucker for an interesting looking bottle. For a while, I’ve enjoyed the television commercials for Tincup, though I question whether I would lug a heavy 750 ml glass bottle on a mountain hike.

Sourcing & Marketing

Tincup has an interesting story behind it. The label shares a quote from founder Jess Graber – “I’ve been stilling since 1972. I made Tincup in honor of Colorado’s first whiskey drinkers and the tin cups they drank from. It is inspired by, and made for, the mountains. I really hope you enjoy it; life is too short to drink bad whiskey.”

On the surface, Tincup would appear to be another micro-distillery with a nice advertising budget. In reality, it is sourced from MGP, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. There’s nothing wrong with sourcing – find good product, and market it well – without the expense (and time) of distilling and aging.

Jess puts his own “mountain flair”, adding Rocky Mountain water before bottling at Proximo Spirits Stranahan facility, allowing the marketing spin of a “mountain whiskey”. I’ve listed the mash bill later, and while it technically follows the definition of “bourbon”, Graber has stuck with the whiskey label, allowing him to differentiate from some of the major bourbon distillers.

The Tasting

The bottle definitely screams “Buy me” – a heavy six-sided bottle deeply embossed with founder Jess Graber, the Tincup logo, the phrase “cut with Rocky Mountain water”, and “elevation 5,251” (home to Denver, CO) – all capped by a metal shot glass. The whiskey is bottled at 84 proof.

The label also carries the following statement:

Tincup is a blend of two great American whiskeys, each aged in #3 charred oak barrels. “High rye” bourbon distilled in Indiana, is blended with a small amount of Colorado single malt whiskey. These whiskeys are then cut with a small amount of Rocky Mountain water. Tincup is named for the Colorado mining pioneers and the tin cups from which they drank their whiskey. Enjoy.

Overall, the whiskey is a blend of MGP recipes, and finished with a splash of Stranahan’s Single Malt whiskey (just a splash) and a second splash of Rocky Mountain water. When blended together, this leads to a mash bill containing 64% corn, 32% rye and 4% malted barley.

Eye: Light, honey colored.

Nose: Vanilla with maple syrup and a dash of rye spice.

Palate: There are again traditional bourbon flavors of vanilla and oak, but there are wisps of malt. It’s light, but not unpleasant.

Finish: Medium-short with smooth notes of caramel, along with light notes of wood and spice.

Overall: Tincup isn’t a pretentious or sophisticated whiskey. It’s light, smooth, and overall not a bad blend. It’s a very approachable spirit, though I’d like to see just a little more proof (86 perhaps?) to make it tad more interesting.

I was able to find mine on sale for just under $20, though I’ve typically seen it closer to $30. While this isn’t superfine whiskey, it’s also not bottom shelf. With a great looking decanter, it’s one that will catch a visitor’s eye when they see it on your cabinet or shelf. To be candid, I agree with Jess – life is too short to drink bad whiskey.

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