Review: Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey – Total Wine & More Private Barrel Pick

DSR – SC – 008: Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey – Total Wine & More – SC Private Barrel Pick

Company/Distillery: Six and Twenty Distillery

Location: Piedmont – South Carolina

Mash Bill: At least 51% Corn; Soft Red Winter Wheat, Barley, Black Seashore Rye, and Carolina Gold Rice

Age Statement: No age statement; Distillery website indicates 3 years old

Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/40% ABV

Color & Viscosity: Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon is light auburn in color. It produces a thin viscous line in the tasting vessel and appears medium bodied. Legs develop slowly and start as small beads. The beads merge to form larger droplets and are very sluggish to progress down the sides of the whiskey glass.

Purchase Price: $48.99 from Total Wine & More, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – July 2021.

Bottle Label Information:

Front Label

“Six & Twenty”

“5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey”

“Private Barrel | Exclusively Bottled For: Total Wine & More – SC | Barrel No. 401”

Rear Label

“Using water from the Blue Ridge Mountains and a grain bill that spans our state, we’ve created a complex tasting experience that is unrivaled. We use corn and wheat from the Upstate, barley from the Piedmont, and rye and rice from the Lowcountry.”

“Distilled and Bottled with Pride by: Six and Twenty Distillery, Piedmont – South Carolina”

Distillery Background

Six & Twenty Distillery

Six & Twenty Distillery, located just outside of Greenville, South Carolina, is a veteran-owned business founded in 2011 by David Raad and Farmer Redmond. The pair met at Clemson University where they played rugby together. Before starting Six & Twenty Distillery with David Raad, Mr. Redmond’s primary claim to fame was that he is a descendent of infamous South Carolina Moonshiner, Major Lewis Redmond. Mr. Raad recognized a need for homegrown, high quality spirits in South Carolina, so he teamed up with his former teammate to try and provide exactly that to the Greenville area.

Six & Twenty Distillery gets its name from the 1700’s legend of a Choctaw Indian maiden named Issaqueena, who fell for Englishman Alan Francis. Eventually, Issaqueena was captured by the Cherokee and overheard a plan by the tribe to overtake Francis’ trading post. Legend has it that, in an effort to warn Francis, Issaqueena made a daring escape on horseback. Along her ride, she would name landmarks to help identify them. One of those landmarks was the Six & Twenty Creek, located near the present day distillery, and was named because it was located about twenty six miles from the Cherokee village. (Source: Greenville Online)

In 2020, David Raad would attend the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Accelerate Program. This program assists veterans in identifying areas within their business that need tweaking, in an effort to achieve a more sustainable growth. As a result of his involvement in this program, Mr. Raad was invited to Dallas, Texas to participate in the Institute of Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Veteran EDGE Conference. At the end of the conference, after competing in the Accelerate Challenge, Raad was awarded the Disabled American Veterans’ Arthur H. and Mary E. Wilson Top Venture Impacting Veterans Award and its accompanying $10,000 prize. (Source: Upstate Business

Current product offerings at Six & Twenty Distillery include Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey, Six & Twenty Old Money Wheat Whiskey, Six & Twenty Carolina Cream, Heirloom Rye Vodka, Six & Twenty Avena Oat Whiskey, and Heirloom Straight Rye Whiskey.

Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey

Six & Twenty Distillery dubs this whiskey as The World’s First 5-Grain Bourbon. The mash bill used to distill this bourbon takes at least 51% corn and adds soft red winter wheat, barley, black seashore rye, and Carolina Gold rice. After distillation, Six & Twenty ages this 5-grain bourbon whiskey in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years. This particular bourbon was bottled at 90 proof and is a private barrel selection (Barrel #401) for Total Wine & More, South Carolina.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: October 4, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.


Christian: In the bottle, after being freshly cracked, Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey opens with a burst of sweetness that erupts from the bottle neck. A gentle shake and additional smell brings forth a pleasant and surprising aroma. It might seem crazy, but I swear that I am picking up a flavor profile reminiscent of Welch’s Concord Grape Juice – sweet and fruity. I also notice an accompaniment of tobacco. In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey smells super sweet. Dark flavors, such as all natural maple syrup (not the processed, mass produced store product–genuine maple syrup straight from the tree), light corn, cereal grains, and just a touch of grape juice really stand out. I’m reminded of a bowl of Frosted Flakes and Raisin Bran, mixed together. A swirl and additional pass really solidifies my thoughts on this nose, but I am also catching a very slight addition of a spice – perhaps the rye’s influence. I am really digging this nose and the way it evolves as it rests. One more quick swirl and sniff brings forth a hint of honey drizzled pastry. Adding distilled water to this whiskey takes the sweetness and turns it up several notches. Rich maple syrup, raisins, and cherry flavored tobacco are robust and delectable.

Mike: Nosing this bourbon from the bottle, I’m met with soft tobacco and oak char aromas along with the slightest hint of peach skin earthiness. From the glass, this whiskey intially presents itself as very sweet. Gentle swells of ethanol push through, but do not overpower, as fresh oatmeal that perfectly spiced with brown sugar and cinnamon, intensify. Another swirl releases rich bouquets of fresh cinnamon raisin rolls smothered with gooey vanilla crème icing. As the bourbon begins to settle, another push of soft ethanol mixed with honey bun glaze permeates. 


Christian: Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey has a silky smooth mouth feel that generously coats my mouth and tongue. The sensation actually intensifies some as I sit and allow things to develop. The first thing that hits my tongue is an unexpected bitterness. A quick punch of oak barrel tannins and a touch of smoke are very apparent. They are not overbearing, but they catch me off guard given the sweetness of the nose. The bitterness quickly transitions to notes of milk chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, and just a twinge of caramel – not super sweet and maybe even salted. Finally, I detect a touch of earthiness in this whiskey similar to something like hay or a dried grassy note. The addition of water takes a silky smooth whiskey and softens it up a bit. You lose most of the viscosity that was present. Flavor wise, this whiskey turns to Moravian sugar cookie (for the non local folks, that consists of vanilla with just a touch of sugar) and toasted walnuts or pecans. This quickly transitions to a bit of bitterness that sometimes comes with these toasted nut varieties.

Mike: Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon hits mid-palate first followed by a satisfying warmness that eventually consumes my entire mouth. Extremely rich flavors of aged leather arrive on scene then close with a spice of those tiny cinnamon candies. A second passing offers sweet syrupy qualities with an aroma of steel cut oats, followed by a suggestion of campfire charred marshmallows.


Christian: The finish on this whiskey is medium in length, a bit dry, and comes with just a short staccato hug that tingles the tongue and throat before quickly disappearing. This finishes up with loads of oak, vanilla, and a dab of caramel sauce. Long after the spirit is swallowed, I begin to notice a transition to dark roasted coffee, roasted yellow corn, and a red wine flavor and dryness that lingers on my palate. Adding distilled water to this pour really tames an already approachable finish, but leaves just a pop of black pepper spice to let you know you still are enjoying whiskey. The flavors in the finish become much less sweet with the flavor of grilled yellow corn and medium roast coffee leading the way.

Mike: This bourbon offers a medium finish. At 90 proof, this offering from Six & Twenty Distillery drinks more like a bottled-in-bond offering, but as per the norm, I’d prefer a little more heat. Oak and tobacco flavors remain on the palate, with the essence of a warm bowl of fresh oatmeal lingering late. 

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: I thoroughly enjoyed this whiskey. As a general rule, Mike and I try every whiskey at least 2 times before we sit down to write separate reviews. Sometimes we find that the flavors are not as vibrant or distinguishable from one tasting to the next. However, that is not the case with this offering from Six & Twenty! Both times I tried 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey by Six & Twenty, I have really enjoyed it. The nose is fantastic! The complexity and taste evolution that occurs from the bottle to the glass as it opens up, is both tantalizing and mouth watering. The mouth, although not nearly as complex as the nose, is enjoyable and has a flavor profile that screams fall to me. The cinnamon spice that is present could lean allspice or nutmeg, which seems like a typical Thanksgiving aroma. Finally, the finish is present but not overpowering for a 3 year old whiskey. My only beef with this offering is the price tag, which is probably in line for a craft whiskey, especially one that incorporates 5 grains, but it’s still a little steep. As far as flavor and drinking experience goes, this is a whiskey I see myself enjoying on the porch in a rocking chair watching the leaves fall from the trees. If you are in South Carolina, you might give Six & Twenty 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey a chance before you mosey out of the store!

Rating: 3.50 Rickhouses

Mike: There is a lot to like about Six & Twenty’s 5-Grain Bourbon Whiskey. This is more than a well-rounded bourbon, it’s a total drinking experience–my only knock is the proof. This pour has loads of complex aromas in the nose, then closes with a more refined, traditional mouth. Huge props to Total Wine for doing a superb job with this barrel pick and to Six & Twenty for continuing to produce high quality bourbon. This distillery is easily my favorite South Carolina distillery thus far and is a sleeper craft distillery that people need to keep their eye on. A lot of great things are going on at this Greenville, SC distillery.

Rating: 3.50 Rickhouses


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