Craft Distilleries | Review | Traverse City

Every Traverse City Whiskey Reviewed

Last updated Apr 18, 2021 | Published on Dec 18, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Disclaimer: The whiskey reviewed was furnished for free courtesy of the spirit distiller. The distillery did not pay us for this review. This review is our honest and unbiased opinion based soley on how the spirit tasted.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. was founded by Chris Fredrickson, now president, in 2011 along with his college friends Jared Rapp and Moti Goldring with the goal of reflecting the ethos of Traverse City by making great whiskey. Fredrickson says, “We’re telling the story of what Traverse City means to us, just on a bigger stage.”

“Family history, good friends, and passion for quality bourbon led to an idea and we’re thrilled with how our brand has been received,” said Chris Fredrickson, Co-founder, Traverse City Whiskey Co. “Our whiskey portfolio offers something for everyone, from the bourbon novice to the aficionado.”

TC Whiskey Co. is located in northern Michigan and is working hard to “reconstruct the [whiskey] recipe that’s been lingering in one of our family heirlooms for three generations” using “techniques derived directly from [Fredrickson’s] great-grandfather’s patents.” Fredrickson founded the company after he and his father uncovered his great-grandfather’s old distilling patents.

They’ve also opened a new location to highlight the enthusiast’s experience. “At the brand’s Stillhouse in Traverse City, Michigan, which opened in 2014, guests can experience the complete distilling process firsthand. A 400-gallon, custom Kothe still sits next to the Tasting Room and Stillhouse Cocktail Bar where visitors conclude their tour.”

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Bourbon

Traverse City Whiskeys

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Bourbon
TC Barrel Proof BourbonDetails
In the Bottle116.6 Proof
115 to 120, Varies by Barrel
ABV58.30%
Mashbill71% corn, 25% rye and 4% malted barley
Distilled and AgedTraverse City, MI
AgeComing Soon
StyleBarrel Proof
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$75
DistilleryTraverse City Whiskey Co.
201 E 14th St
Traverse City, MI 49684
ProsFull Flavored Nose
ConsLacks Some Balance
AvailabilityAvailable in 22 States
RatingSilver 89 out of 100 Points
InventorySold Barrel Proof Whiskey for a Cold Winter
Buy OnlineSipWhiskey.com

“Not all whiskey barrels are created equal. We reserved our most flavorful for this Limited Edition release. This is Traverse City Whiskey, pure and uncut, bottled at full barrel proof,” said Chris Fredrickson, co-founder of Traverse City Whiskey Co. “We crafted Barrel Proof with life’s simpler moments in mind — it’s meant to be enjoyed smoothly and richly, or whichever way you please.”

This bourbon is an oil slick with long, sloppy legs. Amber in color.

Nose Dive – 90 out of 100 Points

This barrel proof bourbon is savory with your typical baking spice and not so usual cardamom. An undercurrent of sweetness also arrives but it’s not your normal caramel. Maybe a hint of vanilla and something else I just can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s rose petals, but I’m not 100% sure. I returned to this, and I’m getting Snickerdoodle cookies. Nice treat.

Taste – 88 out of 100 Points

The mouthfeel is oily. It coats the entire palate. It drinks like a rye. I get a buttered rye toast note. I also taste more cardamom and floral notes at the top of the palate that soon takes a back seat to the heat. There’s also some muted vanilla oak and red peppercorn through the mid-palate.

Finish – 89 out of 100 Points

The finish is long with just subtle raw snickerdoodle dough sweetness followed by waves of savory, charred cinnamon and black pepper. It’s like eating a delicious yet spicy plate of Thai food.

Verdict – Silver 89 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey just might be the King of the North (I had not seen the logo on their homepage before writing this review. I love the antlers dubbing TC “The Whiskey of the North.”). It’s a cold-weather drinker. Tingle your toes to your nose kind of experience. It’s got some admirable complexity but may be missing some balance. The heat takes over the palate. If we’re continuing with Game of Thrones analogies, it’s Mad Queen on King’s Landing kind of heat. However, I returned to this a couple of times, and I enjoyed it more each pour.

Awards

  • Best Small Batch Bourbon – 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
  • Double Gold Medal – 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC)
  • Gold – The 8th Annual Denver International Spirits Competition (2019)
  • Top 100 Spirits of 2018 – Wine Enthusiast

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Traverse City Whiskey Co Bourbon

TC Straight Bourbon Whiskey
TC Straight Bourbon WhiskeyDetails
In the Bottle86 Proof
ABV43%
Mashbill71% corn, 25% rye and 4% malted barley
Distilled and AgedTraverse City, MI
AgeAt Least 3 Years Old
StyleSmall Batch
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$41.99
ProsFull Flavored Nose and Great Mouthfeel
ConsFinish Flavors Flat
AvailabilityAvailable in 22 States
RatingSilver 88 out of 100 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker
Buy OnlineSipWhiskey.com

According to TC, “Aged four years and bottled at 43% ABV. This sophisticated bourbon offers a timeless profile (71% corn, 25% rye and 4% malted barley), revealing hints of vanilla, citrus undertones and a smooth finish. Kosher Certified.”

These TC Whiskeys are thick. More ribbons of oily bourbon cover the curves of my glass with long legs dripping down.

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

This TC bourbon has nice vanilla soaked charred oak flavor with light caramel undertones, rock fruit, and floral notes.

Taste – 88 out of 100 Points

The mouthfeel is full with notes of cinnamon and clove oatmeal. The more you chew white pepper and toasted oak show up.

Finish – 86 out of 100 Points

It’s creamy through the finish with more cinnamon, clove, and oak.

Verdict – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

I loved the nose on this bourbon but felt the palate and finish fell flat.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. North Coast Rye Whiskey

Traverse City Whiskey Co North Coast Rye

Traverse City Whiskey Co. North Coast Rye
North Coast Rye WhiskeyDetails
In the Barrel120 Proof
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
Mashbill100% rye mashbill and a 95% rye and 5% malted barley mashbill
Distilled and AgedTraverse City, MI
AgeAged At Least 3 Years
StyleBlend of 100% American Rye and Straight Rye Whiskey
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$75
ProsFull Flavored Nose — This seems to be a signature of these TC Whiskeys
ConsNo Major Flaws
AvailabilityAvailable in 22 States
RatingGold 93 out of 100 Points
InventoryKeep Stocked
Buy OnlineSipWhiskey.com

According to TC, “This unique blend of two mash bills: 100% rye and 95% rye and 5% malted barley is barreled at 120 proof and bottled at 90 proof. This rye whiskey has a minimum age statement of three years and is the company’s newest addition to the whiskey line-up.”

Ribbons of thick whiskey coat my Glencairn glass. Amazing viscosity.

Nose – 95 out of 100 Points

The nose is phenomenal — floral, subtle strawberries, creamy vanilla yogurt, and lightly toasted rye bread with honey sage butter.

Taste – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s creamy vanilla yogurt. Floral, honey, and rye spice. This rye spice is more forward than on the nose balances out the creamy, floral, sweet notes.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium and mirrors the palate.

Verdict – Gold 93 out of 100 Points

Floral rye lovers will nerd out over this North Coast Rye’s robust flavor profile. Next is their barrel proof North Coast Rye.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Port Barrel Finish

Reviewing coming soon

Traverse City Whiskey Co. American Cherry Edition and Michigan Apple

Reviewing coming soon

 

The American Cherry Edition features more than 10 pounds of local Montmorency Sour Cherries. I did not know this ahead of time but Traverse City is the  “Cherry Capital of the World.”

According to TC Whiskey Co. – American Cherry Edition:

  • 70 proof, 35% ABV
  • Mash: Corn, Rye, Malted Barley

When you live in the “Cherry Capital of the World” and come from a multi-generational cherry farming family, a cherry whiskey is a bit of a must. Our American Cherry Edition is different than most cherry whiskies on the market today and is steeped with Montmorency cherries grown on our family’s farm. We like to say that its flavor profile resembles “whiskey with a hint of cherry, not the other way around.”

According to TC Whiskey Co. – Michigan Apple:

  • 80 proof, 40% ABV
  • Mash: Corn, Rye, Malted Barley

A blend of three varieties of northern Michigan Apples, this whiskey exudes a subtle balance of tart and sweetness with notes of honey and traditional baking spices.

Which Traverse City Whiskey is the best?

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Why trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Bourbon Bard, PO Box 1501, Taylors, SC 29687, https://www.thebourbonbard.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. Emails are sent by MailChimp.

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