What’s a distillery to do after the launch of its pinnacle product? This spring, when Still Austin Whiskey Co. debuted the first of its aged spirits, a roughly one-year-old bourbon, the distillers weren’t about to rest on their laurels.
Other whiskeys are aging in barrels now, including more of the high-rye bourbon. In the meantime, Still Austin is about to release an even more limited whiskey — the Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon — available for the first time this weekend exclusively at the South Austin tasting room.
To create it, barrels of the original bourbon were set aside and the liquid inside added into a Spanish sherry cask for four more months of aging. The additional time in the sherry barrel imparted extra complexity and sweetness to the bourbon, which also has a nice, lingering finish as a result.
“It’s a finish that goes on forever,” head distiller John Schrepel said. “That has a lot to do with the sherry barrel. When Nancy (Fraley, master blender) and I were figuring out what kind of barrels we wanted to finish with, sherry or rum barrels, that's what immediately grabbed me about this cask, that I had never tasted anything like it before.”
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The Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon is the first offering in Still Austin’s new Distillery Reserve Series, featuring limited spirits sold solely in the on-site tasting room. And with only 1,270 bottles of the new bourbon on hand, it’s likely to go fast. This series is intended, in part, to highlight the flavors that various barrels can lend to aged spirits.
With the inaugural release in particular, the distillery wanted to honor the Hispanic community that helps to make Austin as special as it is, Still Austin CEO Chris Seals said. He noted that Texas has a long history with Spain, the country where sherry — a fortified wine — comes from.
“When you're marketing and reaching out to people about your bourbon, you realize that it’s a very diverse community that we talk to,” he said. “And I think that's partially what draws people to Austin, that we're so diverse.”
To celebrate our city’s rich Hispanic culture, he said, the bottle of the Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon features a back label entirely in Spanish, which for a whiskey released in the U.S. might be a first.
“We thought it was a unique way of honoring a big part of our community,” he said.
Taste the Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon for yourself this weekend at the release party, running from 12 to 9 p.m. Saturday. There will be a flamenco guitarist and paella from Austhentico, and the first 200 people to buy the 375 ml bottles can get them signed by Schrepel.
Still Austin is located at 440 St. Elmo Rd. For more information, visit stillaustin.com.