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The officially-licensed spirits launched last fall with a Tennessee straight whiskey ($58) (dubbed “Tiger Man” whiskey after one of Presley’s many nicknames) and a straight rye whiskey ($58), both sourced and bottled in Tennessee. Both are now available to purchase online, just in time for what would have been Elvis’ 87th birthday on January 8.
According to Matti Anttila, Founder and CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits, the idea to add an Elvis-inspired line of whiskeys to his company’s portfolio was a no-brainer. “Our team at Grain & Barrel Spirits are big Elvis fans and liked the idea of honoring his legacy by doing what we do best — producing a duo of premium whiskeys inspired by The King,” he tells Rolling Stone. “The Elvis Whiskeys represent another way to memorialize and celebrate his legacy. We made it a point to create and build a brand with him in mind.”
While Presley was known to be a long-time whiskey fan — Anttila says “most of Elvis’ young life was spent living with his maternal grandfather, the majority of whose money was made by producing and bootlegging whiskey (moonshine) to make ends meet” — both expressions also pay tribute to the entertainer by being sourced and bottled in Tennessee, where Elvis began his career and called home.
The “Tiger Man” whiskey offers aromas of toasted oak, sweet corn, citrus and apple, with notes of maple, creme brulee and caramel. The name is taken from a nickname that the singer reportedly got from his father, though some accounts say he got it from a fan; Presley later went on to record a song called “Tiger Man,” which he released in 1969.
The straight rye whiskey, meantime, features aromas of “sweet rye grassiness upfront,” per a release, followed by hints of citrus and apple. Flavor notes include toasted oak, butterscotch, “vanilla wafers “and a soft hint of pepper, for a complex yet creamy mouthfeel.
Nods to Presley are also visible on the bottles, with his signature on the label, alongside the letters “TCB,” referring to “Taking Care of Business,” a mantra for Elvis and his Memphis Mafia.
The whiskeys are part of a licensing collaboration between Grain & Barrel Spirits and Authentic Brands Group, who bought the Elvis brand from the Elvis family.
“Elvis was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century and his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence unleashed a musical and cultural revolution that changed the world,” says Michelle Ciciyasvili, PR Director for Authentic Brands Group. “His life and music have inspired countless hit musicals, movies and TV series, books, musical covers, and commercial endorsements, as well as a robust merchandise program spanning collectibles and fashion collaborations. More than 60 years after his global debut, his legacy is stronger than ever.”