Whisky Advocate Exclusive: Country Music Star Eric Church Releases a Blended Whisky That Sings a Different Tune
May 19, 2023 –––––– Laura Pelner
The whisky world is known for honoring tradition. But a new whiskey—released just this month—is taking a different approach and turning the old rules upside down. Enter Whiskey Jypsi, a new offering from country music superstar Eric Church, in partnership with entrepreneur friend Raj Alva and whiskey maker Ari Sussman. Whiskey Jypsi aims to carve out its own space in the whisky scene, blending bourbon, American single malt, and Canadian rye.
Whiskey Jypsi’s first release is Legacy 001 ($200). It’s blended from four whiskies—7 and 8 year old 99% corn bourbons from Indiana, 20 year old 91% rye from Canada, and 4 year old American single malt—in a 70:21:9 ratio. Those components give Whiskey Jypsi, which is bottled at 57.5% ABV, flavors of corn, butterscotch, and vanilla, with deep wood character and smoke notes. The spirit is currently sold through reservebar.com and can be shipped to 38 states. It’s also available at select retailers in Tennessee while supplies last.
Whiskey Jypsi is named for a lyric from Church’s popular song “Never Break Heart.” “I wanted to be involved more in the creative spirit of a whiskey, the commitment to it, and the journey of it from start to finish,” Church told Whisky Advocate in an exclusive interview. “It’s something that appeals to me in the same way writing a song and making an album appeals to me as a musician.”
The urge to do something new is what led Whiskey Jypsi’s co-founders to work together. Church and Alva met on a golf outing and they bonded over their similar values and shared love of family, and of course, whisky. The pair created Outsiders Spirits in 2020 as an incubator for whiskey innovation and later tapped Ari Sussman as blender. Church already had experience in the whiskey space, as he worked with Jack Daniel’s on a couple of special whiskey releases, including a single barrel select offering.
“This whiskey was produced without regard to classifications, and it doesn’t fit into customary whiskey categories like country of origin, style, or type,” Sussman explains. “The constituent whiskies were distilled in the U.S. and Canada and barrels were aged in Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, and Canada. They were blended and bottled in Tennessee.”
Alva adds that Sussman’s willingness to break with tradition was refreshing. “Our platform is: Don’t follow anyone else’s idea of how it should be done. Just make the finest quality whiskey possible, and be creative and fun,” Alva says. “We set out for this knowing we were going to respect tradition but also not be scared to try something different and unique, and most important—we were going to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.”
Church and Alva have big plans for Whiskey Jypsi. The pair expects to release several additional expressions across various price points, including more limited releases in the Legacy series and additional high-end exclusive products, as well as more accessible labels for the broader whisky audience. “The Jypsi spirit embodies the fearlessness and courage to be able to chase something that’s worth chasing,” adds Church, a Country Music Association “Entertainer of the Year” winner and 10-time Grammy Award nominee. “That can’t-be-defeated spirit is the thing that should be most celebrated among all of us. That’s something we hope people get from the way we’ve crafted this brand.”