Corn Trooper Bourbon Review (2020)

By Richard Thomas

Rating: B

Corn Trooper
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

When Flaviar got started, they were a service that dispatched parcels of curated samples, providing a way for novices and jaded enthusiasts to broaden their palates without having to go to the expense of buying whole bottles. The company has branched out into doing their own private bottling releases in lately, and has now introduced Corn Trooper.

This expression is the creation of Grisa Soba, a Flaviar co-founder and their master blender. Since the craft whiskey movement really got going a decade ago, I’ve been waiting patiently for a scene similar to the Scotch whisky negociants to emerge in the United States, to do for bourbon what folks like Compass Box have been doing for Scotch. That has finally come to pass in America, with Barrell Craft Spirits and Lost Lantern, and now Flaviar and their Corn Trooper.

This first installment of Corn Trooper draws on bourbon stock from seven small and mid-sized distillers, each from a different state (and all but one familiar to us here at The Whiskey Reviewer): Colorado’s Breckenridge; Kentucky’s Hartfield & Co.; Michigan’s New Holland; New York’s King’s County; South Carolina’s Highwire; Texas’s Balcones; Washington’s OOLA. The stock ranged in age from 2 to 12 years, yielded a production run of 3,000 bottles, and had was bottled at 101 proof.

Now, I suspect that the 12 years old part (and that Flaviar themselves say “+ some special casks”) means not all the bourbon in the bottle comes from the small and mid-sized distiller scene; some of it comes from a big distiller. But no matter, and in fact I’d encourage them to not be shy about revealing that part, unless bound by a non-disclosure contract. Even with some big distiller juice, the concept still makes it a proper American independent blend.

The Bourbon
In my glass, Corn Trooper has a mid-amber look. The scent sits squarely in the caramel and maple, traditional bourbon territory, jazzed up just a little with a touch of wintergreen. The flavor takes another step into traditional bourbon territory, reminding me of what it was like to lick cinnamon toast blend off my hand: brown sugar and table sugar, heavily seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The finish goes off lightly, returning to that earlier wintergreen note.

There is absolutely nothing extraordinary or exotic coming out of this blend of several bourbon whiskeys, but there doesn’t need to be. Corn Trooper (part 1?) is a nice, easy sipper, and that is all it needs to be. I’ll be trotting this bottle out whenever I run into another guy stuck in 2010 and saying “all craft whiskey is cloying and woody and gross.” It ought to shut him up quick enough, if only because he’ll be drinking it.

The Price
A bottle of Corn Trooper should run you $71.

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