Still Austin Whiskey Co. represents another entry into a growing sector of Texas produced whiskey. Focused on in-state sourcing, small batches, and grain-to-glass productions, the movement represent premium whiskey’s current direction. After years of work and waiting, The Musician is the first 100% in-house distilled & aged, 100% Texas, straight bourbon whiskey, expression from Still Austin.
Still Austin’s early years are familiar to most observers of start-up distilleries. A group of serious enthusiast wanted to create a quality spirit within their growing city—in this case, Austin.
Alas, whiskey requires aging.So, even after spinning up a ginormous, 42 foot column still custom fabricated by Forsyths in Rothes, Scotland, the team in Austin was still years from a sell-able whiskey. Like many in the industry,Still Austin kept themselves busy with an undercard, distilling (and selling) a gin.
In Fall 2020, the main event arrived. The distillery released ‘The Musician’ Straight Bourbon, their inaugural whiskey expression.
“After six years of hard work and perfecting our technique, we’re ready to launch our new flagship straight bourbon whiskey. We started Still Austin Whiskey Co. because we saw an opportunity to create our own kind of distillery where we do everything intentionally,” said Still CEO Chris Seals in a release.
“This bourbon is an expression of true Texas terroir, but also the distillation of all we are, and of all that has created us. We’ve managed to bottle the inclusive spirit of our home city; a complex bourbon with substance, flair, and finesse.”
Like their peers in the Lone Star Whiskey Movement, Still Austin is focused on corn varietal. The Musician’s entirely local mash bill includes 70% non-GMO white corn, 25% Elbon rye, and 5% ‘wildfire malted barley’.
Still employs a technique dubbed ‘slow water proofing’. That fancy term means that instead of cutting the juice down from barrel proof to the bottle strength, the distiller slowly dilutes the whiskey by adding water directly to the barrel throughout the aging process. Theoretically, use of the uncommon method compensates for Texas’ unique environment. The result is a 98.4 proof (49.2% ABV) spirit.
No age statement is provided. Based on the use of the term ‘young’ (and the afore-mentioned economics of running a distillery), we’re guessing that bottling occurred shortly after the two year minimum.
Still’s bottles are adorned with illustrations by Texas artist Marc Burckhardt. The images are intended to pay homage to local Astonians and this bottle features the titular musician. (However, it evoked Blind Faith’s controversial album cover to us.)
A 750 ml carries an MSRP of $45.
On the nose, The Musician yields the expected notes of caramel of charred oak. Just a hint of stone fruit also enters the mix.
Upon sipping, the bourbon reveals a pleasant surprise. Despite the ‘young’ designation, the whiskey is complex beyond its years. On taste alone, the liquor could pass for a five-year-old.
A taste offers an earthy, roasted corn flavor—no surprise given the outfits pride from sourcing high quality white corn. The second note is a jalapeño like spiciness, likely the result of the mash bill’s high rye content. A sweetness follows, evoking caramel apples, baking spices, and maybe just a hint of cherry.
A soft finish wraps up the experience, presenting a kind muted pecan pie a la mode flavor.