Whiskey Review: Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey

For the founders of Black Feather, the whiskey business is a marked departure from their longtime careers in sports entertainment.

This relatively new spirits company, with just one whiskey on the market at the moment (Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey) is the product of three stunt-oriented athletes and minor TV personalities: Rob Dyrdek, Travis Pastrana and Jeremy Rawle.

Rob Dyrdek, likely the most famous of the three, threw himself into a professional skateboarding career at 16 and has gone on to create several companies and appear on several TV shows, including MTV’s “Rob & Big” (he’s the Rob) and “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.”

Pastrana and Rawle, meanwhile, helped create Nitro Circus, an action sports entertainment company that blends the stunts of “Jackass” with the vehicles of a professional derby, choreographed to make something that seems akin to a graceful, vehicular circus act. This concept also had its own MTV show, a movie and tours.

While Black Feather’s marketing materials promotes all three, Rawle seems to be spearheading the foray into whiskey, with the other two acting primarily as investors.

Their backgrounds in media and entertainment show in their sleek and intricate branding materials, likely to make Black Feather stand out on the shelf at a liquor store. They also go back to their roots in TV with online video and event series aimed at tying the brand to Americana music.

The stated goal of Black Feather is to present a “hardworking, everyday” go-to bourbon for all experience levels, but particularly for millennials who are looking for an accessible introduction to bourbon that goes for about $30 per bottle.

While the founders paid a lot of attention to branding, details on the whiskey itself are sparse. Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey has a mashbill that presumably includes corn, rye and malted barley and aged for an unspecified amount of time in a Kentucky white oak barrels. The “American” refers to the process occurring from “two hand-picked allotments from Indiana,” then being bottled and packed in Houston and managed by teams in California and Utah.

The final product is bottled at 86 proof. For now, it is only available in Texas and Utah, with California, Colorado and other states expected to follow soon after.

Tasting Notes: Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: A mash bill that presumably contains corn, rye and barley, aged for an unspecified amount of time in Kentucky white oak barrels, and bottled at 43 percent alcohol by volume. Packaged in a sleek, intricately designed bottle and with a recommended retail price of about $30.

Appearance: In a bottle or glass, the color is a classic golden amber, perhaps a bit lighter than average.

Nose: The first sniff brings a strong and abrupt wave of alcohol on to the nasal the passages. While that scent doesn’t go away after that initial blast, it mellows out enough to make room for other flavors to intermingle. In particular, the nose takes the character of a spicy vanilla, with notes of orange, ginger, nutmeg, oak and a touch of sandalwood.

Palate: While the nose started out strong and got smoother, Black Feather gives the opposite experience on the tongue. Plenty of whiskeys taste sweet at first, but this one brings an earthy sweetness that’s unusual for its intensity: not exceptionally flavorful but enveloping the tongue with a texture that feels a little more viscous than you’d expect. After a few seconds, spicy notes gradually make a faint appearance and grow as you hold the sip in your mouth, building with notes of allspice and cloves.

After swallowing, the spiciness lingers for a few moments and then gradually gives way to nondescript sweetness over the next couple minutes punctuated by an occasional flare-up of spice.

The Takeaway

If the makers of Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey set out to make a “everyday” whiskey, I’d say they accomplished that goal. At least once in the glass and separated from the meticulously-crafted brand, the bourbon they’ve created certainly lacks the pretense of other, more expensive whiskeys. However, that comes at the expense of the character that would make a whiskey exceptional and one you’d seek out for flavor rather than the well-branded bottle.

While not a bad whiskey to pick up if you see it, place it near the likes of Bulleit and Maker’s Mark for mixing and occasionally sipping when you need something of ok consideration.

User Rating 3.5 (16 votes)