It’s always nice to see something reach its potential. For Tin Cup whiskey, the Colorado blend of bourbon and American single malt, it took just 10 years, but the wait was worth it. Tin Cup 10 is on the market now and we think it’s the perfect next bottle for anyone trying to expand their American whiskey library and knowledge beyond bourbon.
“American Whiskey” is a sort of catch-all term for everything that qualifies as whiskey but doesn’t meet other standards, such as those for bourbon and rye. Two decades ago that would have implied a lack of quality. But in 2018, American Whiskey simply means innovation: people are playing their best games right now outside the confines of regulated categories.
Case in point: Tin Cup 10. It’s the bottle you’ll want to test the waters with if you’re a bourbon lover braving uncharted territory.
It’s great for transition because, well, the process to make it starts with bourbon. Tin Cup is an American whiskey with a bourbon mash bill of 64 percent corn, 32 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley sourced from MGP in Indiana. A small percentage of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is added to the product (that’s what keeps it from being an outright bourbon). Once it has aged, it’s cut with Rocky Mountain water and bottled.
The decade-old new release is impressively complex. It’s earthy but sweet and presents round flavors with a long finish. We tasted notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and honey, but the added malt really made its impact on the finish—flavorful, but not spicy like you’d expect from high-rye bourbons. If you’re looking for a bite, look elsewhere, because this whiskey has found a balance of refinement and flavor without heat and spice.
Tin Cup was admittedly never our favorite whiskey—it was tasty enough for cocktails but not much of a head turner when shopping for bottles. With this new limited-edition release, they’ve made us look twice.
The question we’d pose to Tin Cup and parent company Proximo Spirits is this: is this the best you can do?
We doubt it. If 10 years of aging does this to that whiskey, what will 15 and 20 will do? They’ve lost the advantage of surprise now: we all know that this is a whiskey that will take impressively well to aging.
We’ll be expecting them to keep delivering down the line. It’s rare to see bourbon that ages well beyond 15 years–this stuff has the potential to hit the 30s with the same complexity and vibrancy we’re seeing in this 10-year-old bottle.
In the meantime, this is a good bottle with a good price point ($55) that makes it a steal when compared to a lot of American whiskey products on the market (and bourbons, for that matter).