Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.
What we’re drinking: Corn Trooper United Craft Bourbon, a marriage of seven different whiskies via Grisa Soba, the master blender (and CEO/co-founder) of the craft spirits retailer Flaviar.
Where it’s from: Flaviar worked with Breckenridge Distillery (CO), OOLA Distillery (WA), Balcones (TX), Kings County (NY), New Holland Brewing (MI), High Wire Distilling (SC) and Hartfield & Co. (KY) to craft this 101-proof blend of straight bourbons. Each whiskey selected brings along a unique characteristic: the New Holland release was finished in beer barrels, for example, while Hartfield adds a more pronounced malted barley element. The age range of each individual bourbon here also varies (from 2 to 12 years).
Why we’re drinking this: Whiskey blending is a craft, even if it doesn’t get the same love here as it does in the rest of the world. And we’re all about the unique challenges of mingling bourbons with very different MOs and hailing from seven different states. “New Holland’s beer barrel finish was great. Hops add this slightly meaty, savory and brothy flavor profile,” as Soba tells us. “I believe the most tricky one was High Wire’s juice, which was very robust and woody; I had to be extra careful, but in the end it really played nicely with the others.”
How it tastes: The phrase “in corn we trust” is printed on the label — that’s your giveaway. It’s the dominant note in this spicy, not-as-sweet-as-you’d-think release, which also possesses hints of caramel, cherry, vanilla, ginger and even a slight vegetal note. Given the wide range of bourbon aging here, there’s a punchiness here that you’d recognize from a more youthful release.
What I do like is that the juice subtly shifts with each sip (third sip was a bit nutty, fourth with a drop or two of water actually upped the spiciness). It’ll be fine neat/on the rocks, but I think this is built for cocktails. Soba suggests a bourbon sour to “add a bit of tang and kick.”
What to know: Some proceeds from Corn Trooper sales will be donated to the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling, which offers training and mentorship to underrepresented groups within the spirits industry. “There’s a lot of diversity in the products themselves, but there are practically no Black-owned distilleries,” as Soba notes. “With Corn Trooper, the idea of the brand is to unite in diversity. We like MJF’s mission of empowering BIPOC by helping them gain technical education. And it’s not just to get a job, but to actually start a career. They definitely help the whiskey world become a more diverse and inclusive place.”
Where to buy it: Corn Trooper is available only on Flaviar for $65 (for members) and $71 (non-members).
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.