There’s potential here—this whiskey could become a championship contender
The best thing about NBA superstar Steph Curry’s recent entry into the world of celebrity spirits is that he chose not to release a tequila. Seriously, we don’t need any more celeb-backed tequilas, and The Rock and George Clooney have that game on lock. No, Curry decided to go with a bourbon called Gentleman’s Cut, and while it’s certainly not a brick, this whiskey is more rookie than seasoned vet.
We covered the news of this release when details started to become available, so here’s a recap of what’s actually in the bottle. Curry’s SC30 Inc. venture partnered with John Schwartz, owner of the Amuse Bouche Winery in Napa, to create a company called Game Changer Distillery. No, they didn’t actually start a distillery—instead, they worked with Kentucky’s Boone County Distilling Co., which opened in 2015 and has its own eponymous portfolio of pot still-produced bourbons. Gentleman’s Cut is made from a mash bill of 75 percent corn, 21 percent rye, and four percent malted barley, aged from five to seven years, and bottled at 90 proof.
According to Schwartz, this project originated in 2015 when Boone County began laying down barrels of whiskey. “Stephen and I have been working on our bourbon project for many years to perfect the taste profile that was important to him,” he told Robb Report. “During this time frame dating back to 2015, the identified mash bill was the result of tasting though many barrels at different ages to select, blend and then proof to a proprietary style of Kentucky bourbon that we knew would resonate with both new and seasoned consumers.” Despite being comparable in age to other well-known whiskeys from Jim Beam, Evan Williams, and Buffalo Trace, my overall impression is that this is a slightly immature whiskey—it’s a bit grainy and green on the nose, and that follows through on the palate. That being said, there are some pleasant notes of balsa wood, vanilla, tobacco, green apple, spiced pear, and caramel as you sip. The finish is a bit hot and it lingers for a while with some toasted almond and pecan flavour on the final stretch.
This isn’t a bad bourbon by any means, but it’s not as refined as I might have hoped. It veers towards a craft whiskey flavour profile more than that of something made by the tried and true Kentucky institutions, but that makes sense given its origin. Kudos to Curry and his team for not going to the MGP well for this whiskey—that distillery make great whiskey, but so many brands are sourced from there. Perhaps it was more economical, efficient, or just easier to go with Boone County as a distilling partner, and that choice does make the whiskey stand out. Again, I appreciate that the Baby Faced Assassin didn’t join the ranks of Kevin Hart and Michael Jordan and dunk into the world of agave spirits. The US$80 price tag feels a bit high, but the branding is all about celebration, craft, and elegance, and this bottle will likely appeal to both Curry fans and whiskey aficionados who like to venture outside the best known distilleries. A couple of tweaks in the blend, perhaps the inclusion of some slightly older liquid, and Gentleman’s Cut could prove itself to be a championship contender.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA