Whiskey Friday: Traverse City Whiskey Co. straight bourbon

Colin Joliat

Traverse City holds a special place in everyone from Michigan’s heart, so when a local distillery made its way to the Chicago market, I had to check it out. I’m celebrating Whiskey Friday with Traverse City Whiskey Co. Straight Bourbon XXX Whiskey.

Unlike STilL630 Rally Point Rye, the aroma doesn’t jump right out of the glass. In the words of Frank the Tank though, “It’s so good…when it hits your lips.” The mash bill is predominantly corn (by law) with barley malt and premium rye. It’s slightly grainy, which I love, but it isn’t very spicy so I’m guessing the rye content is fairly low. There is a softness in the mouth, and it’s incredibly smooth. It’s not overly sweet nor does it have in-your-face flavor, both of which are frequent problems for bourbon.

I’m guessing the XXX in the name is a reference to the heat on the finish, which isn’t overwhelming but certainly lets you know you’re drinking whiskey.. It fits well with the motto they slap on the back of the bottle.

In Traverse City, we spend endless summer nights by the lake with nothing but a circle of friends, a campfire, and a bottle of whiskey. Here’s to more memorable summer nights for our hometown & yours.

For those who don’t know the area, they aren’t lying. That’s really is all people in Traverse City do at night in the summer. It’s perfect. I could definitely see drinking this around a campfire so long as the annoying guy with the guitar doesn’t come.

This straight bourbon whiskey aged 4+ years, is 86 proof, and will cost you $30 in Chicago. That price seems a little low for the quality of spirit you’re getting. Traverse City Whiskey Co. is a brand new operation though, with their distillery still under production. They’re planting their own crops so soon this whiskey will be hyper-local. I’ll be sure to check back with them when everything is up and running smoothly. Maybe I’ll put together a behind the scenes for all of you.

And before any of you complain to me on Twitter, no, bourbon does not have to be from Kentucky. No matter how much Kentuckians want to cry, it’s not champagne.