Tin Cup American Whiskey Review


Tin Cup American Whiskey Review

Tin Cup American Whisky is MGP bourbon that is bottled in Colorado and put out by a man named Jess Graber. If Graber’s name sounds familiar that’s because he was instrumental in creating Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. After being sent this bottle for review I did some research which opened up a lot of questions like “Why is it called an American Whiskey instead of a bourbon?” and “Why does the mashbill for Tin Cup not match any of the ones listed on MGP’s site?” To answer these I got on a call with Jess himself to get the full inside scoop on Tin Cup Colorado whiskey.

First off let me say that Jess is a nice, up front guy. He started the call by letting me know that it was a sourced whiskey (which I already knew) and that in no way does he consider this to be a craft whiskey like Stranahan’s. He then went on to explain that one of the reasons for not wanting to call it a bourbon is because he didn’t want to compete head-to-head with all of the other bourbons in the market. He wanted to create a slightly different flavor than what’s already out there so he worked with MGP on a proprietary blend of bourbons which resulted in the mashbill listed below.

After that proprietary mixing of bourbons happens at MGP they ship the whiskey to the Stranahan’s facility in Colorado where Jess and his crew do two things to it before bottling. They cut the whiskey with Colorado water and they add a little bit of Stranahan’s to the mix which, as Jess says, “is like adding salt and pepper to your meal, it’s just a little bit”. He won’t disclose how much, but at that point it couldn’t be called a bourbon any more anyways since it has another liquor added to it. Like the Jim Beam Spanish Brandy it would have to adopt a much clunkier name like “Bourbon Whiskey finished with Colorado Malt Whiskey” (or something like that). At which point using the catchall American Whiskey is a whole lot easier while simultaneously removing it from mental competition with bourbon.

For you whiskey geeks out there who know MGP mash bills by heart you might be wondering what kind of a mix they could be doing to reach the mashbill listed below and thanks to Red, White and Bourbon the math has already been done for us. So if you’re curious be sure to check out Josh’s post on RW&B to see the potential breakout. I have no problem with the actual process of the whiskey creation. I just wish they would take the next step and readily disclose it on their site and put “Distilled in Indiana” on the bottle.

Tin Cup American Whiskey Review

ABV: 42%
Age: NAS
Price: $30*
Distiller: MGP
Bottler: Proximo Spirits at the Stranahan facility
Mashbill: 64% corn, 32% rye & 4% malted barley

Light caramel

A nice caramel moves out first and is soon accompanied by some light nondescript spice, rye, a light touch of wood, green apples and a touch of dill. There is a sprinkling of cinnamon and a dusty sweetness that reminds me of Sweet Tarts and Pixie Stix.

Initially it has a sweet graininess to it that gives way to cherries, rye, citrus and a bit of dill. That same nondescript spice from the nose moves effortlessly across the palate but instead of a sweetness, it’s accompanied by a soft minerality that rolls through at the end.

Caramel, rye, chalky minerality and a touch of wood ease out on a medium finish.

It’s kind of a light whiskey al around and nothing stands out so in that regard it’s balanced. It has a thin light body and a bit of heat going down, but no more than an 84 proof whiskey should have.

There is nothing wrong with the aroma or flavor of Tin Cup American Whiskey; it comes together pretty well, but there’s nothing super exciting about it either. The nose is subtle and light, the palate is sweet with hints of spice and the finish mimics all of these characteristics. I’m not saying it’s a bad whiskey, it’s just a light whiskey and for my personal tastes I want something a bit bolder and more oak driven. But if you like the lighter sweeter whiskeys that still carry a bit of spice then this would be right up your alley.

SCORE: 82/100

*Disclosure: This bottle of Tin Cup American Whiskey was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Tin Cup American Whiskey Review - Score Breakdoen
  • Nose - 82
  • Palate - 82
  • Finish - 82
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 82


There is nothing wrong with the aroma or flavor of Tin Cup American Whiskey; it comes together pretty well, but there’s nothing super exciting about it either.

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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26 Responses to Tin Cup American Whiskey Review

  1. Interesting. I meet him in Houston at an event about 3 weeks ago and brought up 5.36 (d) compliance and he acted like it was the first time he ever heard of it. He then said we are not Bourbon, we are an American Whiskey. To which I replied, you are still obligated to comply with 5.36 (d).

  2. You are spot on with your rating, Josh. It is “good (or average), but not great whiskey.”

    I tried some of this, since it is fairly inexpensive and I knew I would be using some for a bourbon-flavored recipe I was cooking that night, and it is pretty good for what it is. It is one of the sweetest bourbons I have ever had, that is for sure. Right after opening it, I had a pour and thought it was almost like a dessert drink.

    That being said, it is kind of a one-note Johnny, in that regard. There is nothing bold or complex about it, and it doesn’t really make any changes after sitting in the glass for a while or after the bottle has been opened for a period of time. It’s not the kind of bourbon where you take a sip and close your eyes while you savor all the different flavors from the glass.

    If you understand you are getting a simple, straightforward, sweet bourbon for a modest price, then you will likely not be disappointed. It is very drinkable and, it seems, would be very approachable for someone making early forays into the world of bourbon. I think it would even make a good dinner party or poker gathering type of bourbon. It is fairly inexpensive and is something you don’t have to pay attention to while drinking it, along with the fact it won’t distract you while you enjoy an evening with friends.

    • Thanks for the comment Abe and I can’t say I disagree with anything you said. My one big complaint is their labeling. They need to change it to be more upfront about where it’s distilled. Cheers! 🙂

      • I totally agree with that, Josh. In fact, the store I bought it from was mistakenly under the impression it was a “Colorado whiskey.” Their label and marketing are active misdirections, for sure.

  3. I’ve been wanting to try this for some time, but at the price point I was unsure. It’s in the same area as Bulleit and Knob Creek and that’s where the majority of my whiskey dollar goes. However, I happened to find it on sale today in a local shop for $16. So I think at that price I’ll give it a whirl.

  4. I’m in general agreement here. I bought a bottle of it and while it wasn’t offensive in any sense, it didn’t stand out either. Completely agree with it being a very light whiskey – not something you want on the rocks. Might be a good starter or introductory whiskey for someone just starting to experiment.

  5. Thanks, guys, for your insight on Tin Cup. My whiskey drinkin’ friends (we’re novices) have seen the TV ads and asked each other what we knew about it.

  6. This is good whiskey ! If I want Great whiskey I’ll pay for it. But for everyday drinking Tincup is quite good. I’m not a bourbon fan. Corn liquor is far too sweet for me. But that’s me! Jack Daniels tastes like lighter fluid to me and I think it’s fan base has more to do with merchandising and marketing than it does actual quality ! I’m not offended that the whiskey is sourced at MGP – they make good whiskey !! I like rye and malt whiskey. I like a very strong rye !! Tincup has just enough rye to know its there – a bit more and I’d be a bigger fan !

    • Hey Guy,

      For my palate the best whiskey-for-my-dollar are the Evan Williams Vinatge, Wild Turkey 101, Henry McKenna 10 year BiB, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses Small Batch.

      Hope that helps.

  7. Hey , I’m glad this is here . I had a bottle of this earlier in the year and I had never heard of it before . I enjoyed it pretty well . All in all , it was pleasant and my wife liked it and she’s not a whiskey/ bourbon drinker . So that was nice that we could have some together . I’m not sure what it was about this stuff that she enjoyed over other whiskey and bourbon she’s tried and never liked . But hey , I’ll take any victory I can get . The mouthfeel was a little thin but the flavor was pleasent for us . If I saw it and the price was right , I’d snag it again . I also kept the tin cup for some reason

  8. I’m just trying to get into drinking whiskey so I’m using this as my get used to/intro. I enjoy it for what it seems to be which gives me a lighter flavor profile to allow me to adjust my pallet.I do enjoy strong flavors in my craft beer so I’m hoping to phase myself into more richness sooner than later. However, I am finding it good for what I was hoping for.

  9. Awesome article. Just getting into pouring some whiskey again and am really glad I found this. Did some expectation management and grabbed a bottle to give it a shot.

  10. I have been drinking whiskey for over twenty years (I am 68), tin cup is my preference and chosen drink. It does not make you put a fist through the just to swallow it. My opinion for what It is worth, TIN CUP is perf

  11. All marketing. Zero whiskey. Anyone who drinks it is a dupe of the New York advertising echo chamber. Colorado my A$$. Wake The F*&^% up people. Do your homework. Jose Cuervo does not live in Colorado.

  12. I am a Jack D man but I wanted to try Tin Cup.Its a good whiskey,It is smoother than JD goes down easy.I am 53 years old.I only drink on days that end with Y.Happy Holidays LOL.

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