Bourbons, like books, ought not to be judged by their covers, but there’s no way around it: Fistful of Bourbon has one of the cooler labels I’ve seen in some time. That, and its Spaghetti Western-inspired title, had me intrigued from the start.
But of course, what ultimately matters is the composition of the spirit itself. Fistful of Bourbon is a blend of five sourced, straight bourbons, aged at least two years. There’s even a nifty illustration on the back of the bottle spelling out what each bourbon brings to the mix.
In my own experience, I found it to have a nose that was dominated by cinnamon but also evocative of cherry pits, caramel, rough-cut vanilla beans, and even Twix-bar filling. It proves lighter on the palate than expected with initial flavors of vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, and a big cinnamon presence. Cinnamon continues to make itself known throughout the center, where it’s joined by leather, a bit of tobacco, and nutmeg. Oak breaks out at the finish, followed by waves of cinnamon that are powerfully spiced but just a bit underwhelming in body—like a wave that crests without leaving much substance behind it. That being said, it did conclude with a lingering, lazy note of black licorice that nicely capped off the proceedings.
When used in a Manhattan, Fistful of Bourbon brings a spice-rack quality to the drink, popping off with strong notes of cinnamon, licorice, and nutmeg, all of which were wonderfully amplified by aromatic bitters. I found myself wishing that the cocktail had more body, but the strong and flavorful spice presence still made for an enjoyable drink.
True to its adventurous name, Fistful of Bourbon is a thoroughly engaging bourbon that melds rich, almost candy bar-esque flavors of toffee and vanilla with wonderfully dry spice notes that fully engage the palate. If I had to knock it for something, it would be that its final act didn’t have quite the “oomph” you’d hope for from a bourbon that rides in as wild and kicking as this one. However, its $25 price tag makes it a remarkable value for something I enjoyed sipping neat and won’t hesitate to use in a cocktail.
— 45% ABV