Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ Review [In Depth]

Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon

Alex author
Founder, writer
still austin bottled in bond blue corn bourbon header

Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ Details

Distillery: Still Austin

Type & Region: Bourbon, Texas, USA

Alcohol: 50%

Composition: 26% blue corn, 25% white corn, 44% rye, 5% malted barley

Aged: At least 4 years

Color: 1.5/2.0 on the color scale (auburn, polished mahogany)

Price: $80

From the company website:

For this winter release, symbolized by the winter crow, we employed blue corn to invoke the endless winter night sky. The spirit’s deep, oaky flavor and hints of butterscotch and cinnamon make this the perfect bourbon for sipping by the fire.

Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ overview

In part 3 (of 4) of Still Austin’s seasonal bottled in bond releases, they dug into their bag of corn and pulled out another heirloom varietal – blue corn. Still Austin has already set the bar very high, with the first two releases (Red Corn and High rye bourbon) earning “Top Shelf” ratings. Hopefully this blue corn release follows suit.
If you didn’t know already, Still Austin is the Austin, Texas-based distillery producing a range of whiskeys. The kicker – they work with Nancy Fraley to select and blend many of the releases.
Blue Corn is a variety of heirloom corn native to the southern US, and it is not commonly used in bourbon. Most bourbon is made with yellow dent corn, and it is what it is. Those blue tortilla chips that are found in stores – made from blue corn. It’s not blue food coloring. But unlike bloody red butcher corn, blue corn wasn’t revived from borderline extinction.
With blue corn being rarely used in bourbon, I have no idea how it changes a bourbon’s personality. I mean…it’s probably different. I know, such a helpful comment. I’m sure that Still Austin has a general idea of what might happen, but they’re not telling us what they expected.
Let’s find out if this unique corn adds something great in this Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon review.
still austin blue corn bourbon back

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Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ smell

On my first few sniffs I get rich caramel and heavily baked red apple, fragrant pine, vanilla, orange peel, toasted oak, cinnamon, bright cherry, caraway seed, rosemary, and fresh corn. While Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon isn’t all that varied, it has a nice sweet and fruity fullness with a slightly pine / earthy-forward personality that’s very pleasant.
This is very different from their High Rye release, which has a more caramel and chocolatey personality that feels like 10+ years old Kentucky bourbon. This isn’t meant to elevate or put down this Blue Corn bourbon…it just has a different profile.
Now, I wish it had more low-end roundness and fullness, because all the other parts smell great. I don’t know how old these are, probably 4-5 years old, but it still smells mature beyond its years.
After swirling, I get expressive and rich caramel, baked red apple, cinnamon, and orange zest followed by earthy pine and caraway seed, roasted oak, vanilla, cherry, mint, coffee beans, and lightly toasted tortilla chips. It may be the blue corn, but this feels more high rye than Still Austin High Rye Bourbon, with more pine and overarching earthiness.
Note after the review: After I did the review, I learned that there’s 44% rye in the mashbill. That very high, borderline rye whiskey, amount of rye adds a lot of earthiness too.
There’s solid fullness and expressiveness, although it still doesn’t blow me away with any noticeable heft, pop, or standout trait. But you know what, the combination of expressive sweetness and fruitiness backed by dark oak and earthiness is still really nice. I don’t know how Still Austin makes bourbon this young smell so good, because it doesn’t make any sense.
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Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ taste and aftertaste

The flavors have darker honey, cherry, orange, roasted oak, cinnamon, earthy caraway seed, vanilla, roasted coffee, fennel, and a bit of back end earthy bitterness. While there’s sweet, fruity, oaky, and earthy range, none of it has much impact because of the middle of the road richness and viscosity. They taste plenty enjoyable but don’t really get my juices flowing.
Even at 100 proof it feels oddly light. It’s not flat, but I almost feel that it is.
While Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon tastes mostly developed, it doesn’t have the same oomph that I’ve gotten from other Still Austin releases, and they’ve had some really good ones. It just doesn’t taste as good as it smells, and it smells so good.
With intense “chewing” I taste honey, fresh red apple, vanilla cream, orange peel with some of the lightly bitter white part, pine, pumpernickel, roasted oak, cinnamon, clove, licorice, and a little mocha.
“Chewing” definitely opens it up more, bringing forth more fruity sweetness, while the earthy and spicy back end complements it well. Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon is the earthiest Still Austin bourbon that I’ve ever had. It feels like there’s a lot of malted rye or some wacky barley thing, which I find often adds more earthiness.
The finish leaves honey, cherry, orange peel, roasted oak, cinnamon, caraway seed, and roasted coffee with lingering honey, caraway seed earthiness, cherry, and fennel. With “chewing”, it leaves honey, pine, caraway seed, cherry, roasted oak, cinnamon, rosemary, and mint with a lingering sweet earthiness and spice.
Even though it tastes a lot better after “chewing”, with better expressiveness and range, the richness, liveliness, and fullness are still average at best, which doesn’t help elevate the experience as much as I’d like. Nothing quite pops or has enough of an impact to be amazing. So while it’s tasty, it has more obvious shortcomings that aren’t in some of Still Austin’s other releases, even the non-special releases.
Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon still tastes very good, but often leaves me wishing for more.
I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Still Austin Bottled in Bond Blue Corn Bourbon​ Rating

Mid shelf+
Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon is one of their weaker releases to date, although that still makes it one of the better craft bourbons out there today. Given that the Red Corn and High Rye bourbons were amazing “Top Shelf” bourbons, it’s a bummer that this one couldn’t follow suit. I really wanted it to, but I can’t force it if it’s not there.
The body, depth, richness, and pop just aren’t there like they have been with their other releases. The bar for Still Austin is already so high, and I hoped for it to be pushed even higher with their 3rd release.
Nonetheless, there still are all these mature sweet and fruity notes, plus the distinct rye earthiness that comes from the very high percentage of rye in the mashbill + maybe the blue corn. I have no frame of reference for what blue corn brings to a bourbon, so it’s hard for me to say anything intelligent about it. I can’t tell if that’s what made this more earthy, or something else in the production process.
Speaking of that distinct piney earthiness, I’ve found two other whiskeys that have a similar thing going on. The first is Milam & Greene Unabridged Volume 2, partially composed of sub-4 year old bourbon made with malted rye. The second is New Riff Winter Whiskey, with all sorts of malted and unmalted barley. Still Austin Blue Corn Bourbon has far more controlled, balanced, and pleasant earthiness that doesn’t weird me out, so that’s a good sign.
While this isn’t the must-have release some of the others were, especially the High Rye, Still Austin still did a good job with this release. Not every experiment is going to be a wild success, but it still ended up being very good.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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