By John Rayls
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company is big on creating marketing images both verbal and visual. They have built their organization around two primary ideas: 1) the toughness and resiliency of the men who began training for combat in the 1940’s just south of Vail, in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and; 2) the pure enjoyment and excitement of living an active outdoor lifestyle.
Of course, Vail conjures up both of those images as well. The company includes this writing on its bottles, “10th Mountain Bourbon embodies the same characteristics of the 10th Mountain Soldier: confident yet humble, adventurous yet grounded, bold yet modest.”
The founders claim to use locally sourced ingredients, and one of the most exciting parts of this company is that it used Kickstarter for at least a portion of its funding.
I found the bourbon to be sweet at the start, in the middle, and at the finish. This, no doubt, comes from the “sweet, sweet corn” grown near Vail, which comprises 75% of the mash. The whiskey seemed a little thin to me, this despite swirling it producing a coating on the glass which receded reluctantly.
At 92 proof, it produced a nice warmth which lasted a long time even after the flavor had died down. However, it does not come across as “hot”. It’s a very smooth, easy drinking whiskey. This is especially surprising considering it was aged for only six months. You will certainly get the hint of vanilla with a stronger flavor of toasted nuts. Although I can appreciate deeply the desire to recognize of the 10th Mountain Division, I continue to struggle with tying this bourbon to “…confident yet humble, adventurous yet grounded, bold yet modest.”
Their website lists the 10th Mountain Bourbon at $57.99 for a 750ml bottle, and you can purchase it directly from their website. That isn’t cheap, but of course, if you’ve ever been to Vail, you already know there isn’t anything inexpensive anywhere near there.