Celebrity-endorsed spirits are all the rage these days, but few actually involve the celebrity doing anything. That’s not the case with No. 9, a new Iowa whiskey, from the popular heavy metal band Slipknot, known for wearing scary masks that match their edgy sound.
Percussionist Shawn Crahan, a.k.a “Clown,” actually blended No. 9’s two expressions—No. 9 and No. 9 Reserve. If Clown decides to give up his musical career, he may have shot as whiskey blender, because the blends are good. In fact, Slipknot’s No. 9 single-handedly puts Iowa whiskey on the map and is the best liquid distilled there. Named after the number of band members, No. 9 will be available nationwide starting in August.
Fred Minnick Tasting Notes
No. 9, 90 proof, $39.99
About: A blend of straight rye and straight bourbon mashed, fermented, distilled and aged at the Cedar Ridge Distillery. The blend is 60% bourbon (three to four years old; mashbill: 74% corn,14% malted rye, 12% malted barley) and 40% rye (three to four years old; mashbill: 51% rye, 34% malted barley, 15% corn and malted barley.)
It begins quite floral, with hints of honeysuckle and lily. Then, corn and caramel hit. On the palate, cornbread, jalapeño, apple butter and a hint of charred marshmallow. A lovely medium finish offers a hint of chocolate. This is very much a worthy everyday pour.
Score: 85 points
No. 9 Reserve, 99 proof, $69.99
About: Same mashbills and blending percentages as above. But minimum age on barrels is 4 years old.
Think cinnamon, clove, butter and oak. As it hits the palate, it coats it with this goodness, buttery almost, dripping down the side of the cheeks and warms all throughout. There’s a comfort here, cornbread-like, with notes of fried apple pie, apricot and macaroon. It finishes medium to long with a hint of bananas foster.
While rock stars have long had a hankering for whiskey, this is the first time the actual rocker did the work. And Clown’s toil could very well be the push his distilling partner, Cedar Ridge, needs to get into the national spotlight.
While Iowa-based Cedar Ridge is the No. 3-selling bourbon in the Iowa market and has been distilling since 2005, it’s lacked a national moment and gets lumped into the Iowa whiskey conversation that often starts and ends with Templeton’s class action lawsuit.