By Charles Passy
Fistful of Bourbon , $24.99
If the topsy-turvy events of the past week have you seeking something strong to drink — say, a fistful of bourbon — here’s a bottle with that very moniker. But there’s a reason beyond that for the naming of this relatively new offering. The fistful in this case refers to the spirit’s five-fingered approach — meaning it is a blend of five different bourbons, each with a distinct flavor profile. The idea is that from such mixing comes a telling and tasty combination.
In that regard, it makes perfect sense that spirits company William Grant & Sons, with its Scottish roots, is behind this all-American whiskey. After all, blending is common with Scotch. Plus, as William Grant senior brand manager Paul Coffey notes, making whiskey is “in our company’s DNA and has been for over a century.”
But the Fistful name also allows for some branding fun. The William Grant team has marketed the bourbon with a Spaghetti Western-inspired campaign, even going so far as to announce the bourbon with cinematic trailers that recall Clint Eastwood in his glory days (and yes, Eastwood did make a Spaghetti Western called “A Fistful of Dollars.”
Fistful arrives at a time when demand for American whiskey — both bourbon and Tennessee whiskey — has never been stronger, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade group. Category sales have soared by 48% over the past five years, reaching nearly $4 billion in 2019.
The whiskey’s name can be somewhat deceiving. Yes, it is a bourbon, but it’s actually a rather easy-to-drink and approachable one — the blending evens out any harsh edges and serves to emphasize the spirit’s more mellow, corn-driven side. Of course, Fistful will give you a buzz — it’s 90 proof, after all — but this isn’t anywhere near as alcoholic as some barrel-strength bourbons now on the market.
This is a bourbon that can serve many purposes. It’s fine to sip on its own — we suggest having it with a cube or two of ice — but its light character makes it a good mixing spirit. The brand has come up with some western-themed cocktails if you want to go that route — try “The Horse You Road In On,” a variation of the Moscow Mule with 1.5 ounces of Fistful, a squeeze of lime and a helping of ginger beer.