nothing brings people together like whiskey
TEXAS VS. EVERYONE
Dozens of fantastic whiskeys have popped up over the last few years from all over the world, even from places as far away from the U.S. as Australia. As whiskey making has grown more popular, people from all over the world have learned how to make great
Our primary grains; white corn, brasetto rye, and wildfire malted barley, are grown throughout North and West Texas, mostly from Lonestar Family Farms. Lonestar is a third generation Texas family farm, focussed on conservation, organic growing and family-oriented business practices. These farmers are setting the bar for family-owned agriculture. While many distilleries use commodity grains like yellow dent corn or Canadian winter wheat, Still Austin’s uses only Texas-grown grains from these farms, which are often organic and always non-GMO.
When our whiskey is ready to age, we place it in our sustainably sourced white oak barrels. The barrels are toasted first, and then given a level 3 char. This helps to prime the barrel, making it easier for the whiskey to draw out more desirable flavors from the wood. Charring the barrel releases caramelized wood sugars and aldehydes that give our whiskey its signature, sweet vanilla flavor.
Once we’ve milled and mashed our grains, our state-of-the-art column still, Nancy, takes over. Nancy was custom made by world-famous still manufacturer Forsyths in Scotland to the exact specifications of our Master Distiller, Mike Delavonte. Named after the titular character in the cult-cassic sci-fi horror film, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Nancy is so massive, to install her at our distillery, we had to cut a hole in our roof and drop it in with a crane.
After the whiskey is barreled, we activate our secret weapon, the wild Texas weather. Anyone who’s spent time in Texas knows that our weather swings are that of legend, (our record is 56 degrees in 24 hours). As the old saying here goes, “If you don’t like our weather, wait a minute.”
Through years of trial and error, our Head Distiller, John Schrepel has learned to fully leverage these weather swings and age our whiskey to perfection. With these rapid temperature changes, our whiskey expands and contracts in our barrels at much higher rates than in other climates. It is because of these erratic climate swings, that our whiskeys are able to take on many more complex flavors and characteristics so much quicker than anywhere else.
As the Texas weather works its magic, as much as 15% of the spirit in the barrel can evaporate in the first year alone. To keep our whiskey in proper balance, our distillers employ an ancient process called slow water reduction or ‘elevage.’ This deeply complex process was developed in the brandy-making regions of Cognac and Armagnac in France and brought to us by our Master Blender, Nancy Fraley, who spent years in this region learning from masters of their craft. During this process, over the course of several months, we constantly monitor and add very small amounts of water to aging barrels to help reduce the impact of smokey phenolic compounds and break down more soluble sugars from the oak.