Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Nine Banded Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
As I have been able to responsibly meet and talk with fellow whiskey lovers in person again, the question inevitably comes up as to what we missed the most during the various lockdown stages of the pandemic. A lot of people made do by watching movies at home on their own time. Cooking skills and bread making dominated what we shared on social media. As strange as it is, I showed many people how to make cocktails over Zoom. Now while some of this is just adaptation and may or may not continue, the one entertainment activity that people seemed to miss the most and could not find its socially distanced substitute was listening to live music.
Why is that? We hear music all the time. Music is so easily accessible to us in this day and age. We can isolate ourselves in headphones, sing along in our car, and Zoom has also made it possible to sing Karaoke with each other over the internet. And, if you have to, you can always make your own microphone at home with various kitchen utensils. So, why, if we are not starved for music, do we miss hearing songs that we’ve heard a hundreds of times but in a live setting more than anything else?
I’ve heard it theorized that our hearing is our first sense to develop. We hear our mother’s voice and others’ before we are even born, and that is a comfort. Sound is also probably the first thing to frighten us as well and music organizes those sounds into predictable patterns that help us make sense of the din of the outside world. I know for myself seeing a musician perform something that made me feel a certain way makes it all the more personal when I see that moment live.
Austin Texas is home to Nine Banded Whiskey and Nine Banded Armadillos. And for a city that is known for not not taking itself too seriously, it is also home to a serious amount of live music. SXSW, Austin City Limits and innumerable watering holes hosting the next big thing in music every night. This is what the people behind the brand Nine Banded Whiskey are attempting to capture in a bottle, a whiskey that can keep up with Austin’s lifestyle.
The Nine Banded Strait Bourbon begins its life in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where it is distilled and aged before being “Brought to Life ” with the addition of water from Texas hill country, just outside of Austin, where it is blended and bottled. This is designed to be versatile, e.g. served neat or served in a cocktail. For the purposes of evaluation, I tried this neat.
Tasting Notes: Nine Banded Straight Bourbon
Vital Stats: 90 proof (45% ABV) 87% corn, 11% rye, and 2% malted barley. Distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Aged in new charred American oak barrels, blended and bottled in Austin, Texas. $29.99 MSRP
Appearance: Bright and clear, golden flax hues.
Nose: Faint notes of baking spice, pepper and toffee
Palate: Mellow grassy flavors mix with butter, popcorn and caramel. It’s reminiscent of a warm apple cider after a fall hayride or haunted corn maze.
With the price point and proof in mind, this would be well suited as an introductory bourbon for the person new to American whiskey. It would stand up well in a cocktail, but it would be difficult to tell it apart from other bourbons doing the same thing.
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Jason Marshall has spent his career as a bartender advocate and mentor , providing an opportunity for the best new faces and ideas to flourish. The process has given him opportunities to stretch creatively, develop wonderful people who branched out to their own passions, and host cocktail competitions with a...