Whiskey Review: Still Austin Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Still Austin. 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.

Texan whiskey has stood up. In the last few years, distilleries such as the acclaimed Balcones Distilling, Ironroot Republic, Andalusia Whiskey Co and Still Austin Whiskey have been leading the charge in creating whiskeys that speak to Lone Star state provenance and identity.

This common goal has led to the formation of the purposeful Texas Whiskey Association. As a group, they “intend to create and grow worldwide demand, appreciation and respect for whiskies made in Texas by educating consumers, encouraging truth and transparency in labeling and setting certification standards that assure quality and authenticity.”

One of its founding members, Still Austin Whiskey, has put a strong foot forward in regards to product legitimacy. Started in 2015, the company opened the first urban distillery in Austin, the Texas capital since Prohibition. Led by renowned distiller/consultant Michael Delevante (previously of Wray & Nephew/Campari) and nationally recognized blender, Nancy Fraley, Still Austin Whiskey is featuring grains that are 100% grown by TX farmers.

After the last five years, the group has released some interesting spins off such as New Make Whiskey and a Texas Rye Gin. This was of course a precursor to their first whiskey batch release last year and subsequently their third this year: Still Austin Straight Bourbon Whiskey. “Made from 70% non-GMO white corn, 25% Elbon unmalted rye and 5% wildfire malted barley, the milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing and bottling is all in-house.” 

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Now, Still Austin Whiskey’s “grain to glass” focus and their commitment to using predominantly local heirloom grains makes themselves somewhat unique within the American craft community, but it is their approach to maturing spirits that truly sets them apart. Under the eye of Fraley and her extensive experience at Germain-Robin, ‘Still Austin employs a labor-intensive philosophy known as slow-water reduction, which weds the bourbon to their local climate.”

This process is similar to élevage, which is common in wine and brandy production. Rather than letting the spirit to mature solely in one cask, the distiller/blender will try the spirit from time to time and move some spirit to a different cask. After some time, casks will showcase a ‘predominant’ character compared to others. With the addition of water, barrels endure the erratic Texas climate and more “mature” notes will surface.

This is an incredibly interesting approach to maturation in a southern state of the United States. Question is: does all this focus on provenance and environment produce a world class whiskey?

Still Austin Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Still Austin Straight Bourbon Whiskey (image via Still Austin)

Tasting Notes: Still Austin Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: 98.4 proof; mash bill of 70% non-GMO white corn, 25% Elbon malted rye, 5% Wildfire malted barley; aged for at least two years in new American oak; price approx. $45.00 USD – 750ml

Appearance: amber, ruddy redish copper tone with light green flints on the edge

Nose: salted peanut butter, cola, ripe mango and fresh moss

Palate: sourdough bread, popped popcorn with light lemon and green apple overtones. This finishes into toasted almond with a large mid palate of vanilla, baking spice and walnut, tropical fruit and a slight astringency.

The Takeaway

Summary

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Honestly, this whiskey impressed. Still Austin Whiskey's meticulous approach to production has started to pay off with this batch. A rounded mouthfeel, colorful nose and palate shows the professional approach undoubtedly given to blending and then bottling this expression.

With the federal recognition of Missouri bourbon last year as an official whiskey style, Still Austin Whiskey has made a case for a realized regional expression from the Lone Star state. Looking forward to seeing how this well thought out distillery progresses through this year and beyond.

4.0
User Rating 3.18 (33 votes)
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