William Grant & Sons now has their first American whiskey from scratch. They've brought the sensibilities they use in blending whiskeys (for example, Tullamore D.E.W.) to bourbon. Fistful of Bourbon blends five different barrels, ages that blend for two years, and produces a straightforward and pleasant bourbon.
The bourbon's name takes inspiration from the film Clint Eastwood had his first starring role in, Fistful of Dollars, and the branding of the whiskey leans into that happily. From the spaghetti western motifs in the marketing to the curves of the label's font, suggestive of ropes and lassos, it's clear that William Grant & Sons is embracing the fun side of this new offering.
During our virtual tasting, brand ambassador Anthony Bohlinger noted, "We want to do with bourbon what Hendrick's did with gin: bring some fun." While we agree that there's nothing wrong with the character pieces and history associated with other whiskey brands, there is room for some lightheartedness in the whiskey world.
Fistful of Bourbon is currently available in select markets but is eying a full launch around September. The original launch was intended for March but got pushed back due to you-know-what. With an MSRP of $24.99 for a 750mL bottle, the whiskey is a friendly price. (Of course, that pricing is for national sales, so it's probable that we could get a lower price in the New Orleans market.) "The goal was to create an American whiskey that hits all the marks and is a good entry-level whiskey for the masses," Bohlinger said.
In my opinion, William Grant & Sons succeeds in that endeavor. The whiskey is extremely approachable. Even at 90 proof, it's an easy sipper, with the heat building up smoothly in the finish. It finishes spicy, with notes of cinnamon and creamy nutmeg. And when I say "cinnamon," I mean in a subtle and polished way, not cartoony or sweet. To be completely blunt, this bourbon is nice enough to drink neat or on the rocks, but not so fancy you'd feel guilty using it in a highball or an Old Fashioned.
"It's like comfort food," Bohlinger noted with a smile. "Like, it's always gonna be there."
2 oz (parts) Fistful of Bourbon
¾ oz (parts) cold-brew coffee
½ oz (part) simple syrup
2 oz tonic water
Combine ingredients (except tonic) and shake well. Strain over ice in a rocks glass. Top with tonic. Garnish with a lemon twist.