Founded in 2015 and led by head distiller John Schrepel, “master nose” Nancy Fraley, and master distiller Mike Delevante, Still Austin has settled nicely into its Texas capital digs and is putting its 42-foot custom column still to good use producing the “Musician,” a 98.4 proof high-rye straight bourbon.
The mash bill boasts 70% non-GMO white corn (the same stuff you’ll find in local Austin tortillas), 25% Elbon rye, and 5% wildfire malted barley, all sourced from Texas farmers for grain-to-glass authenticity.
“After six years of hard work and perfecting our technique, we’re ready to launch our new flagship straight bourbon whiskey,” said Chris Seals, CEO. “We started Still Austin Whiskey Co. because we saw an opportunity to create our own kind of distillery where we do everything intentionally. 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.”
At first pour, the Musician ($45) wafts aromas of fruit and toasty caramel with a rye-forward flavor tinged with intriguing banana/tropical fruit notes. The finish eases out quickly with crème brulee and toffee. An ice cube smooths out any raw sweet heat, and the bourbon marries nicely with sour mix or a snappy ginger ale.
Still Austin commissioned Texas artist Marc Burckhardt to design a series of labels featuring Austin archetypes; the Musician was, of course, a natural first choice in the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World.” Soon to come: the Naturalist, the Visionary, the Writer, and the Artist.
Given the ongoing flowering of creativity out of the capital city, we look forward to what’s next.