On Saturday, Jan. 8, Elvis would have turned 87, if you can believe it. I don’t know much about the man’s sordid history other than the great songs he left us, but I do know he loved to entertain. So the fact that there’s now a whiskey named after him, I think he’d kinda dig it.
It’s not cold Kentucky rain — I mean whiskey — but it is bottled in Tennessee, where Elvis began his career and where his historic mansion Graceland still resides. In fact, the company that is launching Elvis Whiskey is Grain & Barrel Spirits, which is based out of South Carolina and doesn’t indicate exactly where this whiskey was distilled or aged. There are actually two Elvis bottles: Elvis Tiger Man Whiskey and Elvis The King Straight Rye Whiskey.
My guess is if you’re buying the whiskey because Elvis is on the label, you probably don’t really care where it’s distilled. It’s cool, it’ll look cool on your bar, and that’s that.
So let’s take a look at both releases.
Tiger Man Whiskey
Bottled at 90 proof and aged for 2 years — ack! — the aroma and flavor is very mild and sweet. Since it’s quite young for a whiskey and hasn’t spent much time in the barrel, the color is a light gold that you can see straight through. I like my whiskey aged at least 4-6 years, so for me it leaves a lot to be desired.
One of Elvis’ many nicknames was “Tiger Man,” and he had a song by the same name, which he first performed in 1969 at a Las Vegas concert. The mash bill is: 80% corn, 10% rye and 10% malted barley, and the suggested retail price is $49.99.
Elvis The King Straight Rye Whiskey
This 90-proof straight rye whiskey is also 2 years old and has that standard rye whiskey mash bill of 95% rye, 5% malted barley. It’s a bit more spicier, as you would imagine from all that rye and 0 corn, and it sticks around longer — like the chorus to the Elvis hit “Hound Dog.” It’s also priced at $49.99.
Elvis first launched his career in 1954 and quickly became known as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” With his controversial hip gyrations, his crooning voice and knack for hits, Elvis entertained millions and continues to do so. He even inspired many musicians then and now, including The Beatles. In fact, John Lennon once said, “Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”
Again, I’m guessing if you’re interested in one of these bottles, you’re not buying it for taste. If my mom was still alive today, I would probably get her a bottle for display purposes because she was a huge Elvis fan.
I could never get her to truly appreciate the nuances of whiskey, but I bet I could talk her into a few sips (OK, maybe just one) of this while “Love Me Tender” — her favorite Elvis song — played in the background.
Elvis Whiskey is available online and will also be available in Kentucky starting in February.