Launched in August 2019 by heavy metal band Slipknot, No.9 whiskey was the group’s first exploration into the world of celebrity-endorsed spirits and another addition to the ever-growing list of celebrity-owned spirits brands. So what sets this whiskey apart, you might wonder?
For a start, every drop is sourced from the family run farm-to-table Cedar Ridge craft distillery, operated by the Quint family and located around 120 miles away from the band’s hometown of Des Moines Iowa. This means every kernel of grain that has gone into crafting this whiskey first came from the family’s farm in Winthrop, Iowa before being milled, mashed, distilled and aged in Swisher to produce a through and through Iowa-made whiskey.
Second, Slipknot Percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan was personally involved in blending both expressions of No. 9 whiskey, and this is something you don’t catch a lot of other celebrities with spirits brands doing. Additionally, the blends carry no designation of bourbon or rye whiskey because Shawn didn’t just blend a few corn whiskey barrels together to make a straight-shooting corn whiskey, but instead went outside the box to make a blend of straight rye and straight bourbon whiskies that were mashed, fermented, distilled and aged at the Cedar Ridge Distillery.
Finally, this is very much a whiskey made to give their fans and the rest of the world a fine quality whiskey that’s uniquely Slipknot-influenced aswell as promote Iowa whiskey. According to Crahan they partnered with Cedar Ridge because:
“Number one, they’re the only whiskey company in the state of Iowa using Iowa corn for whiskey. I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and we’re from Iowa. So, number one, most importantly is to stick with family and the morals and the work ethic of Iowans. And I mean that…Cedar Ridge is family run and feels like home.”No Clowning Around: Slipknot’s No. 9 Whiskey Is Really Good. by Fred Minnick (Forbes)
Today I’ll be looking at the standard No.9 whiskey. This whiskey is 90 proof and carries no age statement but is understood to be from stock ranging in age between 3 and 4 years old and is comprised of a blend of 60% straight bourbon (74% corn,14% malted rye, 12% malted barley), and 40% rye (51% rye, 34% malted barley, 15% corn and malted barley).
Name: No. 9 Iowa Whiskey
Age: NAS (blend of 3-4 y.o. straight whiskies)
Proof: 90 Proof (45% ABV)
Type: A blend of straight rye and straight bourbon whiskies.
Mashbill: 60% straight bourbon – 74% corn,14% malted rye, 12% malted barley), and 40% rye – 51% rye, 34% malted barley, 15% corn and malted barley
Producer: Cedar Ridge Distillery
Nose: The nose opens light at first before earthy toasted oak, caramel, vanilla, and a hint of malt and faintly herbaceous oak emerge.
Palate: The palate opens sweet and viscous with notes of light honey before sweet fruity malt and earthy baking spices emerge. As you chew this longer, notes of milk chocolate and faint red fruit emerge alongside the fruity malt notes.
Finish: The finish opens with a kick of spice before vanilla, milk chocolate, oak, and floral malt notes emerge and linger into the aftertaste.
I have to say as far as an entry-level introduction to the No.9 line goes, this whiskey does a great job. It’s light, sweet, fruity and earthy with a lot of character shining through in every sip. It was a whiskey designed for the massive Slipknot fan base and I think it succeeds in being an inoffensive yet delicious and well-put-together whiskey that sets the stage nicely for more premium releases such as the special reserve bottling. The rye influence in this whiskey adds a lovely spice note to the corn and malt sweetness and these in turn balances out its earthiness nicely. Simply put, this is an easy sipping daily drinker that you can share with friends regardless of what level of whiskey appreciation they are.
From briefly speaking to the guys behind the brand, the No.9 portfolio is set to remain as it is for the time being and only include this release and the No. 9 Reserve. This doesn’t mean we won’t see Shawn reprise his pivotal role in future releases featuring different styles of whiskey or different blends, it simply means that the current Covid-19 situation has understandably put a halt to a lot of things and some balls are still up in the air. One silver lining of this year’s Slipknot tour being postponed is that those who weren’t quick at picking these up in the beginning now have a second chance to try whiskies that otherwise would have sold out in a heartbeat. With the overall success of this whiskey, Clown has really shown fans and whiskey connoisseurs alike that his skill set isn’t isolated to producing great music. By teaming up with the guys at Cedar Ridge he set himself up with the best opportunity to create something excellent and in my opinion he has succeeded. Although I haven’t yet tried the Limited Reserve release, having tasted the standard release now I’m already looking forward to when I do because I’m sure it’ll be great too.
Try or Buy?
As far as celebrity-owned or endorsed brands go this whiskey holds its own quite well for around $/£55. I’d say buy if you want to try something great whilst it’s still available because honestly once everything picks up again this is going to disappear quick!