Tincup American Whiskey Review

Tincup American Whiskey Review

Our verdict

Tincup American Whiskey… is it a bourbon? It does meet the criteria (a bourbon has to contain at least 51% corn, must be stored in charred new oak barrels (at less than 125 proof), it must be distilled at less than 160 proof, and there can’t be any preservatives in it), and yet it’s not called a bourbon by its makers. It’s a marketing thing. But does that make any difference to how it tastes and what it does? Let’s see.

Overall rating

The longer review

Distilled in Indiana and bottled in Colorado, Tincup American Whiskey has a fair journey to make until its drinkers can finally get hold of it. Still, the fact that it is a sourced whiskey doesn’t detract from the great flavors you’ll get when you have a glass. It’s an interesting mix, too sweet for some, just right for others, and although it has an eye-catching design, that might be the best of it. 

tincup american whiskey bottle beside fire

History Of Tincup American Whiskey 

Tincup American Whiskey comes from the mind of Jess Graber, a Colorado-based distiller who has plenty of other brands under his belt. He is, in fact, the man behind Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, which has many, many fans and is considered a craft whiskey.

However, this is not what Tincup is, and that’s where the confusion may stem from.

If you’ve done your research and you’ve checked out the history of what you’re drinking, you might be surprised at the vast gulf of difference between Tincup and Stranahan’s. Graber wanted to make a whiskey that had a bourbon base, but that hit slightly different, with a stronger tone and a more fiery edge. That’s where Tincup American Whiskey came from. 

tincup american whiskey bottle and glass

Where Is Tincup American Whiskey Made? 

Actually, where Tincup American Whiskey literally comes from is Indiana. It’s made at MGP and then shipped to Colorado so that some finishing touches can be made and the drink can be bottled. The bottle is a sight to behold; it’s a thing of beauty. All glass (no label), the name Tincup is raised along the side, and the cap is an actual, honest-to-goodness, tin cup that can be used to drink your whiskey from and makes it an ideal bottle to share.  

How Is Tincup American Whiskey Made? 

As we’ve said, Tincup American Whiskey is distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This process occurs at the MGP Ingredients factory, and the whiskey consists of 65 percent corn, 32 percent rye, and four percent malted barley. The distilling takes place in copper stills, and then – as bourbon is – this whiskey is aged in new charred oak barrels for between four and five years. 

After this process is complete, the whiskey is shipped across to Denver, Colorado, a journey of around 1,200 miles, where some real-life water from the Rocky Mountains is added to the mix. After which it’s all bottled, ready to be bought. 

tincup american whiskey bottle on hand

Tasting notes.

What to expect

Sourced whiskies can certainly vary in their quality which is something that makes them both problematic and interesting. If you can find a good one, value for money isn’t a problem. Otherwise, it can be a big bite out of your bourbon budget. Understanding how something is going to taste is key to making this all-important purchasing decision. 


The whiskey’s caramel color in the bottle becomes a caramel scent once opened, and that isn’t something you can always rely on when it comes to whiskey. All too often, what you see (and what your mind imagines) is not what you get. This is not the case with Tincup American Whiskey. After the caramel wafts away, you’ll get hints of spice – cinnamon mainly – and apples, along with some more herby scents sitting right at the back. 


Yes, it’s all about the caramel. It’s light in color, which hints at a thinness (which is actually the case). However, since it’s always wise to taste whiskey and never to judge it by its color, don’t let this weak look worry you. 

tincup american whiskey cocktail


With the look and smell of caramel, you might be forgiven for expecting to taste it as well. However, if that’s something you’re looking forward to, you will be disappointed; there is no caramel to be found in the flavor of Tincup American Whiskey.

What you do get is a lot of vanilla and maple sugar, along with a sweet pepper finish that burns and fades. There is even a little chocolate, although it’s faint. Sweet is definitely the order of the day, and if you like your whiskey to pack a bit of a rye punch, this is not the one for you. If you’re looking for something to easily sip as you wind down for the day, Tincup might work well. 

How To Drink Tincup American Whiskey

The best way to drink Tincup American Whiskey is in a cocktail. Its overwhelming sweet taste will ensure that it works perfectly well with all kinds of combinations and offers you something a little more interesting than the straight drink would do. Having said that, a neat shot of Tincup would not be an issue. 

tincup american whiskey bottle

The Whiskey Rocks verdict.

Is it good?

Tincup American Whiskey is almost there, but not quite. It’s a thin, light whiskey (which is why it works so well as a mixer), but there is no substance to it, and that’s what is going to disappoint some drinkers. There’s nothing technically wrong with it, but perhaps the addition of the Rocky Mountain water has diluted it too much, even if it does give it a USP to hang onto. 

If you’re looking for a bold, deep whiskey, then Tincup should be avoided – it’s just not going to do anything for you. If you don’t mind something light and subtle, it could be a good addition to your collection (but it probably won’t be the only whiskey you own).

Ashleigh Cain

Ashleigh is a key part of the editorial team at Whiskey Rocks. You'll often find her either writing educational articles or reviewing the latest artisan whiskeys. Her favorite drink? Ashleigh loves smokey scotches like Laphroaig, but you'll also often find her with an old fashioned in hand.

Pepperjam Verification

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