The Scots Have Landed in Texas, Let’s Give Them A Proper Welcome

Oh hell yes, mates.
Oh hell yes, mates. Photo by Kate McLean

Last night, at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, a sardine-esque room of people were some of the first in the world to taste Fistful of Bourbon; the newest project from acclaimed William Grant & Sons distillery. Their portfolio includes flagship, Glenfiddich, one of the best selling single malt whiskies in the world, Hendrick’s Gin and 18 other alcoholic drinks ranging from mezcal to rum to now, bourbon.  Thanks to the thirsty Scotch, Irish and German immigrants long ago, distilling found its way to America. Now, for Scotch and bourbon lovers alike, it’s safe to say the Mothership is back.

With more than 100  years of Scotch blending experience, William Grant & Sons set its sights on America. Kelsey McKechnie, their whisk(e)y blender explains, “the ability to add complexity and depth to each sip [by] marrying different flavors is something we do in Scotch everyday; we were excited by the challenge of applying that to American whiskey.”

Kelsey McKechnie, Whisk(e)y blender for William Grant & Sons talks the art of blending and new-to-market, Fistful of Bourbon. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Kelsey McKechnie, Whisk(e)y blender for William Grant & Sons talks the art of blending and new-to-market, Fistful of Bourbon.
Photo by Kate McLean
What better spirit to begin with than bourbon, and where better to launch than in Texas, where the robust market lives and breathes the stuff. McKechnie continued, “Texans know their bourbons and have a great appetite for new brands; [they] felt like a great fit from the start.”

It took “nosing” hundreds of samples to settle on a fistful of flavors they loved. From there, William Grant & Sons' master blender Brian Kinsman and colleague McKechnie worked to marry the five different bourbons.

Different ages in charred oak, different variant grains, different peaks of flavor were fused under the accomplished eye of both chemist-trained blenders.

Fistful of Bourbon intrigues from the beginning with neither a hot nor overwhelmingly sweet nose. Hot refers to a high presence of alcohol that can immediately be noticed in the smell or taste. Typically, a 90-proof spirit like this one will get you in the eyes.

With just a dash of cold water, notes of toffee instantly bloom. Willie Chestnut, regional director for William Grant & Sons USA helped explain the shift of flavors on the palate, returning back to how smooth it was for the high proof. A testament to the skill with which it was blended. It’s safe to say you won’t be sporting a Clint Squint while enjoying this well-crafted blend at your favorite saloon or on your favorite horse.

Having been in the works for about a year, Fistful of Bourbon will launch in Texas only beginning September 1. Expect around $25 retail. The company plans to observe how consumers take to the product and hopefully branch out to other markets in 2019.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.