Editor’s Note: This whisk(e)y was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. 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.
If you’re not from Colorado, or an avid hiker, you’ve probably never heard the term “Fourteener” (14er). I know I hadn’t until marrying a woman from Colorado. Fortunately, hiking wasn’t her thing, so I’ve been spared the somewhat sadistic competition that is cresting all fourteeners in Colorado.
For the uninitiated, a ‘14er’ is a mountain whose elevation meets or exceeds fourteen thousand (14,000) feet. People voluntarily hike these mountains for an experience they claim is “fun.” The tallest peak in Oregon is Mt. Hood (Wyeast) which is 11,249 feet in elevation. The tallest mountain on the West Coast is Mt Whitney at 14,505 and Mt. Rainier at 14,411.
Excluding Alaska, the West Coast has around 14 total peaks at or above 14,000. Colorado has 58. As impressive as climbing a 14er is, which it is, you’re never starting at sea level and you can drive most of the way. Some of these peaks even have parking lots at the top. So, the next time someone is bragging about their 14er, ask how high the parking lot was.
Be that as it may, Coloradans love their mountains. Stranahan’s names their yearly Snowflake release after a 14er peak each year. It is probably appropriate to start with Stranahan’s in this review, because the founder of Tincup, Jess Graber, started Stranahan’s as well. He is a well-known fixture in the Colorado whiskey scene. Tincup, like Stranahan’s, has a nifty cup on the top of each bottle. Tincup gets its name for the Tin Cups miners would use to drink their whiskey. Or so the legend goes.
This marks the first foray into limited-edition releases for Tincup; this release will feature Long’s Peak illustrated on the bottle, celebrating Colorado’s “Front Range” of the Rockies. Future releases will highlight other 14ers. “I’m so excited for Tincup fans to try this new aged bourbon whiskey,” says Jess Graber, “not only does Fourtneer’s name pay homage to the rugged peaks that dot its home state of Colorado, its truly embodies our spirit of adventure. If you’ve ever been on the top of a 14er, you know it’s truly something to celebrate.”
In addition, Tincup will be donating $14,000 to the Colorado Fourteener Initiative to help preserve and restore trails.
Few things are better than enjoying whiskey in the great outdoors, but one of those things for this reviewer is when whiskey helps improve or maintain our great outdoors. With that, we turn to the glass.
Tasting Notes: Tincup Fourteener Bourbon
Vital Stats: Aged 14 years. cut to proof with Eldorado Springs water. 42% ABV. $70 MSRP.
Appearance: Burnished copper, with medium quick legs.
Nose: This smells well-seasoned. To start off I find cherries, pine, maybe citrus hiding in the background. With a few more whiffs I can pick up some white sugar, and yellow flowers. The oak is there but sort of a binder for the other flavors. There is the softest touch of alcohol on the last third of the smell, but overall, it is pleasant and approachable.
Taste: This greets you immediately with some pine almost juniper taste, which folds evenly into a nice oak profile. The softness of the nose does not immediately translate into the profile, but it seems to help mute some of the characteristics. There is some dark chocolate on the back end right before the finish takes over. This whiskey dials up the classic Tincup profile but helps mellow some of the younger edges of the standard offering. There is caramel, young leather, some incomplete esters which seem to give off a bitter taste. The finish is subtle and manageable. It holds nicely but doesn’t really push the narrative further before disappearing.