American By Nino Marchetti / March 20, 2020 The light whiskey category has always been a bit of a weird entity when it comes to what emerges from it onto retail liquor shelves. As we wrote about a few years ago it’s an obscure, seldom-used classification, indicating an American-made whiskey that’s distilled to between 160 and 190 proof, and aged for any length of time in either used or uncharred new oak barrels. One doesn’t see a lot of releases in this realm, which is what perhaps makes the new Austin 101 Light Whiskey out of Texas that much more interesting.The new Austin 101 Light Whiskey, according to those behind it, is distilled via “proprietary small batch distillation methods” from local grains that include “100% Texas-grown corn, wheat and malted barley, blended with harvested Texas Hill Country water.” It is then aged in “high-quality recycled American white oak barrels,” this type of barrel being used in part as a nod to sustainability (hence the emphasis on the word “recycled”).“It’s a decidedly unique take on a centuries-old art form, one that is as ambitious and inviting as the city for which it is named,” said the Austin Craft Spirits founders in a prepared statement.Austin 101 Light Whiskey (image via Austin Craft Spirits Company)This American whiskey is bottled at 50.5% ABV and prices around $45 per 750 ml bottle. Limited official tasting notes suggest “hints of caramel, butterscotch and vanilla with sweetness from white corn, silky hints from wheat, and nuttiness from malted barley. Our whiskey has a unique balance of smoothness and punch while delivering a very mellow and long finish. Light in taste, lightly oaked, it is uniquely approachable and easily enjoyed.”As a side note, Austin 101 was named runner up for the People’s Choice Award at the recent Texas Whiskey Festival, of which I was a judge at.