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Bird Dog 10 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey vs. Tincup 10 Year Old Whiskey

Bird Dog 10 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey vs. Tincup 10 Year Old Whiskey

In the world of bourbon and whiskey, sometimes a unique bottle or a label that has images of things people can associate with are two of the best ways to attract buyers.  Case and point, the two whiskies before us today.  I mention “whiskey” and not just “bourbon” because the Tincup is indeed, just a whiskey that is a combination of MGP bourbon distillate and Stranahan’s Malt Whiskey. 

But it has an age statement!  10 years in fact.  And look over there!  The Bird Dog does too.  Also 10 years.  Both are low in proof (Bird Dog is 90 and Tin Cup is a paltry 84 proof) and both are inevitably aimed towards an American Whiskey newcomer.  That’s all well and good, but when the Tincup has a starting price in the mid $40’s and the Bird Dog raises their price from $40 to more than $70, it raises the question “what kind of suckers do you think we are?”

But maybe I’m being too hard on them.  What if they’re both great whiskies?  Well, there’s only one way to find out, it’s time to pit these both in a side by side semi-blind review and see which one comes out on top.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  For this review, I sampled both of these neat and from a Glencairn.

Blind Glass #1

Nose: Light scents are the name of the game here.  Not absent, just light.  Like cherry blossoms, cedar wood, orange and lemon zest, vanilla and a little bit of brown sugar.

Palate: Light cinnamon on the tongue gives it a little flicker of spice followed up with biscuits, oak, caramel and a strange burning sugar sensation.  Overall, the mouthfeel is very thin on this one.

Finish: A dash of black pepper and cinnamon gives as much excitement as elderly folks get when they learn that pudding is for dessert at the local nursing home.  There is some seasoned oak and caramel macchiato notes to sweeten things up.  Overall, not a poor finish, just kind of lacking.

Score: 5.3/10


Blind Glass #2

Nose: Melted butter scents, red fruits, lemon drop candies and strangely, glazed donut (I’ve not had this come up too many times before!)

Palate: Overdone pancakes, caramel sauce and a slight tinge of black pepper flake make this a decidedly boring palate.

Finish: Well I found out where the palate’s sweetness was hiding… the finish.  There’s some sweeter notes that then start to hit a wall of bitter, tannic oak.  Then, as your tongue is drying, a gross sensation of metallic flavors shows up.  I quickly check if I’m having a heart attack.  Nope, must just be the juice.  This is a pretty gross finish to a pretty average whiskey.

Score: 4.9/10



Glass #1: Tincup 10 Year

Glass #2: Bird Dog 10 Year

Winner: Tincup 10 Year!

I was actually wondering if Glass #2 wasn’t the Bird Dog while I was drinking it.  I’ve read in other reviews that this Bird Dog 10 distillate is known for a metallic aftertaste, which is usually a telltale sign of a flawed distillate.  No wonder the original distiller decided to source these barrels out rather than use them for whatever product they make (Barton, is this you?). 

Then Bird Dog has the audacity to raise the price from $40 to $70.  What is this all about?  The Tincup’s watery proof doesn’t do it much favors, but at least it’s not obviously flawed like the Bird Dog is.  Plus, it comes in an admittedly cool bottle (not my favorite design, but very polarizing).  If you’re new to whiskey and insist on messing around with these two low-proof bottles, do yourself a favor and avoid the Bird Dog.

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Scoring Index:

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)

6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)

7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)

8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)

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