The bottle (er, can)
Stillhouse Black Bourbon, $24.99
The back story
Apparently, even your bottle of bourbon wants to sport a Halloween costume.
How else to explain the oddity that is the Stillhouse line of spirits, all of which are packaged in stainless-steel containers that vaguely resemble the traditional oil or turpentine can? One of the stars of the Stillhouse lineup is its Black Bourbon, which, as its name implies, comes in a black can. Stillhouse brand manager Ludlow Dawes says it now accounts for 45% of the brand’s sales, up from 30% previously.
Stillhouse has been around for a while — indeed, we wrote about it in 2016, when it was primarily known for its flavored moonshine. The bourbon came later — and so did a new ownership: Spirits giant Bacardi fully acquired Stillhouse in 2019.
These days, Stillhouse is promoting itself as a brand for the active-minded set — meaning you can grab a can of bourbon (or any of its other products) and enjoy it when you’re camping, boating, hiking, what have you, without the worry of dropping a bottle and creating a shattered mess. “We can go places that glass can’t go,” says Dawes.
The popularity of the bourbon can should perhaps come as no surprise, because the American whiskey has become the “it” spirit in recent years. U.S. sales of bourbon (and Tennessee whiskey, its near equivalent) surged by 48.8% from 2015 to 2020, based on supplier revenue, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
The Stillhouse product lineup, with the Black Bourbon at the far left.
What we think about it
We admit there’s a certain amusing shock value in pouring your bourbon from a can. But fortunately, the spirit itself isn’t half bad. This is not a connoisseur’s bourbon, with sumptuous notes of sweetness and spice. Rather, it’s a lightly aged one with a mellowness that makes it very approachable — and very mixable. Dawes notes you’ll get plenty of notes of vanilla and caramel, with a hint of coffee to balance things out (as part of the aging, coffee beans are added to the barrel).
How to enjoy it
You can have this one neat or on the rocks — or keep the can in the fridge as an alternative way to chill. And yes, you can mix it in most any bourbon-based cocktail. Dawes suggests combining it with ginger ale for an easy-to-make mixed drink.