I absolutely loved the original Assassin’s Creed when it came out. I thought the story was original, the gameplay was engaging, and setting the story during the Crusades was something I hadn’t seen before in a big video game. Since then, the games have been a little hit or miss for me and the brand seems to have been creeping closer to jumping the shark. But it remains a popular (and profitable) brand, so Ubisoft is capitalizing on that with a number of spirits using the game’s name — and this Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the latest entry in that line.
Assassin’s Creed is a popular video game made by Ubisoft which follows the stories of members of a fictional guild of assassins through the centuries. First released in 2007 (back when I was in college, for some context there), the game is preparing for its 13th canonical installment in 2023.
As a video game creator, Ubisoft naturally doesn’t have a distillery license. To create their associated spirits for the Assassin’s Creed universe, they worked with the Tennessee Legend Distillery, a facility that not only distills its own whiskey but also sources and bottles spirits from other facilities.
- Learn More: What Is Bourbon Whiskey?
For the Assassin’s Creed Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the Tennessee Legend Distillery sourced their spirits from a distillery based in the Texas Hill Country. Exactly which distillery they used is not disclosed (but I’m personally guessing that Dripping Springs Distillery might be the source).
As a bourbon whiskey, this spirit is made from 100% grains with at least 51% of the mixture being corn. According to Tennessee Legend’s instagram, the grain bill also includes rye and malted barley, but the specific proportions are not published. Those grains are milled, cooked, and fermented to create a mildly alcoholic liquid that is then distilled to create the raw white whiskey.
From here, the specifics once again get a bit murky. The claim is that this spirit is aged for four years in a combination of the Texas and Tennessee climates — but how long it stays in each place isn’t really known. I’m guessing that this is probably aged in charred new oak barrels for at least two years in Texas to gain the “straight bourbon whiskey” label, and then shipped to Tennessee and rested for a while longer up there to finish off the process. (Once again, just my educated guess.)
Once appropriately aged, the various barrels are blended together to achieve the desired flavor profile, proofed down, and shipped for sale.
I don’t think we’ve seen this exact bottle design before, but it seems to be reminiscent of some of the more trendy and hip distilleries on the market. Few Spirits has a similar design, only with a flatter and less rounded shoulder to the bottle. In this case, you have a square-ish body with flat sides and a rectangular cross section, a round shoulder, and a short neck that is capped off with a wood and cork stopper.
The label is where I really start to see my personal pet peeves. I hate it when a label takes up the entirety of the bottle’s surface area, especially if there’s no reason for it to be that big. And in this case, all that space is just being used for… black. (And of course, for the recognizable game branding.) It isn’t really necessary, and doesn’t give much space for the actual color of the bourbon to shine through.
I haven’t had a chance to review them yet, but I like the way they styles the vodka and rum bottles much better, with the painted on labeling and ability to see the spirit more clearly. I feel like this whiskey bottle is a bit of a misstep, which I hope they correct to be more in line with their other Assassin’s Creed spirits.
There’s a surprisingly interesting and complex aroma coming off the glass here. I’m getting the usual brown sugar and vanilla components, but there’s also some depth and richness that I didn’t expect. I’m picking up notes of dark chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange citrus, apple, and a bit of sourdough bread.
Most of those flavors translate competently to the flavor, resulting in a rich and delicious spirit. Brown sugar and nutmeg are the two initial flavors which lay the foundation, and it quickly develops some black pepper spice, dark chocolate, banana, apple, and sourdough bread flavors that all combine nicely. There’s plenty of depth and saturation here, too.
Honestly, the ice doesn’t do much here. There’s some slight attenuation to the flavors, but all of the key players are still here: the brown sugar, dark chocolate, banana, apple, and a bit of sourdough bread.
If anything, all this is doing is bringing out the orange citrus flavors more than we saw before. It wasn’t a huge component when taken neat, but now that the main flavors are reduced a little, that orange note can really come out and play. The flavors still have a good depth and saturation, although not quite as much as we saw before.
Cocktail (Old Fashioned)
This is exactly what I want to see in a good old fashioned.
In terms of the flavors, there’s a great interaction here between the herbaceous bitters and the richer, deeper flavors in the spirit. Especially that dark chocolate note and the orange citrus that we’ve been seeing — those give the bitters something interesting to play off of and make for a flavor profile that has some real richness and depth. Like a velvety chocolate cake with a Cointreau dressing, this is a deliciously boozy treat.
I’m not entirely satisfied about the finish, though. I feel like there could be a bit more of the rye content making for a peppery and spicy kick here, but instead it’s the sourdough bread that provides a smooth end to the experience. Not necessarily my first preference, but not a bad result either.
While I’d expect the dark chocolate to take a starring role in the flavor profile, it’s actually the orange citrus, crisp apple, brown sugar, and the nutmeg spice that are leading the charge. Those flavors combine beautifully with the ginger beer and lime juice to make something rich and tropical without being overpowered and unbalanced. It really is a delicious sip.
I’m a little disappointed on the finish, though. With the rye content making this much of an impact, I’d have expected the black pepper spice to contribute more to the texture of the finish… but here it is once again the sourdough bread that adds some smoothness and a touch of sweetness to the mixture. I’m not necessarily mad, this still works and is very drinkable, but I usually like a little bit more interesting texture here.
To say that I had low expectations for this whiskey would be an understatement. Promotional tie-ins have historically been pure cash grabs with little attention actually paid to the quality of the product. But in this case, this turned out to be a legitimately delicious bourbon that just happened to have an Assassin’s Creed tie-in.
The flavors here are well balanced and well saturated, and they work no matter what form you enjoy this in. Whether you are drinking this neat, in a classic cocktail, or making something a little more complex, this spirit adds a depth and a richness to the experience that is absolutely worth the price of admission.
Where this falls down a tiny bit is the finish, and how that compares to the competition. Despite the solid rye content, I don’t think there’s a lot of complexity to the finish (as we saw both with the Kentucky Mule and the Old Fashioned), and there isn’t enough rich dark fruit to pull off some of the more complex finishes that we see in the competition around this price point. I think this is a great whiskey and definitely a good buy at this price point, but there are some other truly outstanding bottles out there for just a few dollars more.
|Assassin's Creed Straight Bourbon Whiskey|
Texas, United States
Classification: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $69.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 3/5
A surprisingly rich, flavorful bourbon that is more than just some random whiskey cashing in on a famous name.