A stylish entry into the category. (photo courtesy of the brand)

The bourbon industry’s modern customer base is becoming more diverse all the time — a reality that Frank August recognizes and is hoping to capitalize on. Founded in April 2022 by Johnathan Crocker, the brand aims to please a widespread range of consumers with an approachable inaugural offering. 

Drew Kulsveen, a Willett veteran, helped his friend Crocker make whiskey connections that led to a confidential production partnership with an operation that remains to be named. The result is a rye-forward, small-batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon (retailing for around $70) packaged in a sleek minimalist bottle that functions as its own decanter.

Clocking it at 100 proof and light amber in color, the flagship blend presents a surprisingly gentle nose of traditional oak, caramel, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is light at first sip, with the heat of warm rye, malt, and cinnamon kicking in to coat the palate a few seconds later. Since it’s not overly sweet, we can’t help but think this bourbon would make a nice mixer—right for an Old Fashioned, say, or with a splash of Coke. The finish doesn’t linger especially long.

It’s a handsome package to be sure, and would make for an elegant gift, especially for bourbon drinkers still learning their way around. The price tag may be a little prohibitive for some; we’re interested to check out a five-year Single Barrel offering expected this fall.