Review: Somehow, Coors Just Released a Very Good $60 American Whiskey
An intriguing blend, Five Trail is thankfully not the Coors Light of whiskey
What we’re drinking: Five Trail, a new and “intentionally blended” American whiskey with a rather famous name behind the spirit
Where it’s from: Coors Whiskey Co, which is, yes, part of the Miller Coors Beverage Company (and bottled in partnership with the Kentucky-based Bardstown Bourbon Company). This initial release was the brainchild of David Coors, the fifth generation of Coors to work in the family booze biz.
Why we’re drinking this: Because at first we didn’t believe “Coors” and “whiskey” belonged in the same sentence.
And David Coors understands. “While we have 147 years in the business and that gets us credibility, I know we’re known for $2 beers,” he tells InsideHook. “And there’s certainly a dichotomy between that and producing a $60 whiskey.” To that end, “Coors Whiskey” is on the label but not the name of the product.
It turns out David, even in a beer family, had a passion for whiskey that started two decades ago in college. However, his father shot down those ideas quickly. “He said, ‘We’re good at one thing, and that’s beer,’” as David remembers.
But two years ago, David helped head up an expansion of Molson Coors — which, to note, produces everything from Blue Moon to Topo Chico — into new beverage spaces, including wine, CBD and, most importantly, spirits.
One good thing about having Coors as a last name? Access to a both huge malting facility and an ideal water source. Unfortunately, the timing for starting a big new whiskey project was a bit off. “I started sourcing some whiskey samples, and then Covid hit,” David says. “And then I got shingles.” Stuck at home, he began using his tabletop to mix and match dozens of samples to discover a taste profile he’d enjoy. And once things got less dicey in the outside world, he was able to collaborate with Kentucky’s Bardstown on a final blend, a Colorado single-malt whiskey and three bourbons from Kentucky and Indiana cut with Rocky Mountain water.
How it tastes: Five Trail comes in at 95 proof. It’s a combination of a four-year wheated bourbon from Indiana (45%), a four-year four-grain whiskey from Kentucky (35%), a four-year single malt from Colorado (15%) and a 13-year old Kentucky bourbon (5%).
Impressively, this is a blend that captures all notes from each of those expressions. You’ll get sweet caramel at times, but also some kick from the high rye mashbill in the non-Colorado whiskeys, along with chocolate malt and a bit of fruit on the palate, rounded out by a long but tempered finish. It’s an extremely balanced sipper that morphs a bit in the glass; that said, it seems ideally built for transforming your traditional whiskey cocktails into something a little more conversation worthy. Coors himself suggests a highball, which is where his beer side creeps in.
“The beer drinker in me likes light, refreshing and cold,” he says.
This isn’t the wow factor I get with a blend from, say, Barrell. But it’s a crowd pleaser with some complexity.
Fun fact: Although mountains and water play a big part in the whiskey’s packaging, Five Trail isn’t a term related to the Colorado outdoors. “It’s about five generations of trail blazers,” says David. “And it drives my brother crazy because there’s no ‘s’ on the end.”
Where to find it: Five Trail is currently available in four markets: Nevada, Colorado, Atlanta and New York City, for $60.
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