Whiskey Review: Sixth Street Bourbon

If you’ve ever been to Austin, then you’ve probably been to Sixth Street. It’s one of the most famous places in the city, lined with bars that stay open into the small hours of the morning playing live music and giving the town the ability to claim itself as the Live Music Capitol of the World. Some say that the vibe on Sixth Street is like lightning in a bottle — but the folks at Dime Box Distilling have attempted to bottle that essence in their Sixth Street Bourbon.



While the name of their flagship product might be Sixth Street Bourbon, the distillery that produces it is actually located some distance east of Austin in a small town called Giddings. Not much information about the Dime Box Distillery is available, but we do know from records that it was founded in 2012 by brothers and business partners Michael and Peter Leidel.

The name “Dime Box” apparently comes from a smaller town even further away called Dime Box, Texas — population 236. The city gained that name reportedly from the practice of townspeople leaving a dime in a box in their local post office to encourage the mail carrier to bring them their mail from the relatively larger town of Giddings.


This is one of those situations where the whiskey may be bottled by a local distillery, but the actual spirits used in the bottle are manufactured elsewhere. In this case, the label clearly states that the whiskey was distilled in Indiana… meaning that the famous MGP Distillery is probably their source. That’s not necessarily a band thing, though. Dozens or hundreds of other small outfits do the same thing (and many are less transparent about it), and MGP wouldn’t stay in business if they put out bad whiskey. But it does slightly temper my expectations of what this could taste like.

Our bottle today is labeled as a 100-proof 4 year old straight bourbon whiskey, which does give us a general idea of how this whiskey is made.

All bourbon in the United States is made from grains, and at least 51% of those grains are required to be some kind of corn. The remainder can be whatever the distiller wants, from barley to rye to oats or whatever, but the majority needs to be corn. In this case, we don’t get any specifics about the grain content so the remainder of that other 49% is a mystery to us.

Those grains are milled into a fine powder and cooked with enzymes that convert the starch within those grains into fermentable sugars. Yeast is then added to convert those sugars into alcohol (and some other associated compounds). After a few days, the yeast has eaten all of the available sugar and leaves behind a mildly alcoholic liquid.

That liquid is then distilled to concentrate the alcohol content and selectively capture the desired components that make the whiskey taste and feel the way it does. Typically in bourbon production that process happens in a continuous still or a column still, which is a large industrial piece of machinery that can constantly operate and create large quantities of raw alcohol very quickly.

After distillation, the newly made whiskey is placed into brand new charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years to be considered a “straight bourbon whiskey” — although we know from the bottle that this was actually aged for the full four years. After that period of time, the barrels are mixed together and blended to create the right flavor profile before being proofed down and bottled for sale.

In our case here, the distillery is only on record having done that last part — actually placing the whiskey in the bottle. To what extent they blended or processed the whiskey is not disclosed.


This is a smart way to pay homage to the local Austin area and really capitalize on that fame and notoriety. (Nevermind that the facility is further away from Austin than Baltimore is from Washington, DC.)

The bottle is shaped like a guitar, reminiscent of the “live music capitol of the world” that Austin claims to be and of which Sixth Street is one of the main places to go in terms of bars and live music. Around the neck of the bottle is a metallic guitar pick on a chain which continues that vibe. At the mouth of the bottle (which is the end of the neck of the guitar), there’s a wood and cork stopper to keep the contents from sloshing out.

I do appreciate that the bottle is almost completely transparent and un-cluttered. There’s a sticker where there would normally be an opening in the guitar and another one at the base that convey the brand and bottle information, but otherwise there’s nothing but clear glass to let the color of the spirit inside shine through. I think it’s a well thought out placement that is visually appealing.



It certainly looks the part of a good bourbon, with an amber colored liquid sporting a slightly orange tint. The aroma is starting to make me suspect that they might have gone with the “high rye” mashbill from MGP, as not only am I getting the usual corn sweetness alongside some caramel, vanilla, and brown sugar, but there’s also some rye bread and green apple aromas that are common with that grain.

Taking a sip, there’s a depth to the flavors that I really appreciate. Sometimes a bourbon will be a little too light in terms of the flavors, but those four years in a barrel seem to have been beneficial in this case. Right off the bat, I can taste some nice dark chocolate and cocoa nibs combined with a bit of brown sugar sweetness. As the flavors develop, some cherry works its way in and is accompanied by baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. About this point is where I see a bit of apple and a touch of black pepper spice before the brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and dark chocolate all combine for an unexpectedly rich finish.

On Ice

The addition of some ice can normally result in the spirit losing some of its character and flavor. In my experience, this happens mainly with the lighter or less saturated flavors. And here, I think we do lose some of the apple and cherry flavors — but there are still plenty of deeper and richer components to keep things interesting.

The dark chocolate is still present, and combined with the brown sugar and vanilla makes for a nice flavor profile all on its own. It also seems like the raw corn is much more apparent here, adding almost a grassy or herbal component to the flavor profile. I don’t think it’s quite as complex as we saw initially, but there’s definitely plenty of interesting flavors for someone to play with and make a good cocktail.

Cocktail (Old Fashioned)

Darker, richer spirits are my preference when it comes to making an old fashioned cocktail. Some people gravitate towards the sweeter and fruitier variations, but I’m personally convinced that’s also the section of the population who would visit New York City and get a slice of pizza from Sbarro. Thankfully, there’s plenty of depth and richness in this spirit to make a good old fashioned here.

On the positive side of the equation, that depth from the dark chocolate and cocoa is just want you need to balance out the aromatics and herbaceous components from the bitters. Even the added raw corn and the brown sugar notes provide some sweetness here, which helps balance out the bitterness without needing to resort to sugar cubes.

I do think that this isn’t quite as complex as I’d prefer, though. There are some flavors, but there could be more. The cherry and apple fruit notes aren’t really making an appearance anymore, and it feels a bit simple as a result. My favorite versions of an old fashioned are made with spirits that provide an abundant bouquet of flavors to inspect, and this ain’t that.

Fizz (Mule)

I’d say that this makes an acceptable Kentucky (or Indiana, as the case may be) mule. The flavors in general are good, but it’s missing a bit of a kick that I really enjoy.

Those darker flavor components from the chocolate and even some of the brown sugar do a great job balancing out the bright, tangy ginger beer and the zesty lime juice. The flavors all play nicely together and make for an interesting profile that is sippable and enjoyable.

What I’m missing is something interesting on the finish. I’d love to see a bit of black pepper spice or something more unique that changes the texture of the cocktail, but that simply doesn’t materialize. I suppose you could throw in a jalapeno pepper and get some nice texture and kick off of that, but I’d prefer that to come from the spirit.


Overall Rating

There are some companies that would jump at the opportunity to do a quick cash grab and capitalize on the popularity of some local landmark with a sub-par product. We’ve reviewed some of them on this very site, and I truly don’t feel like this is one of those times. In fact, I feel like a good amount of time and effort went into making something that was legitimately good tasting, in an appealing bottle, and with just the right level of pandering to tourists. In the end, this is something that actually might be worth taking back as a souvenir from your trip to Austin.

These folks don’t hide the fact that they sourced their spirits from a larger producer in Indiana, which is a practice many small companies employ — and often aren’t as up front and honest about it as Dime Box Distilling chose to be. And the actual spirit they chose to bottle, while slightly less interesting than I’d like, was downright drinkable and worthwhile. I’d have very much preferred something locally distilled, but I’m not going to complain too much about a solid product that is being transparent about the origin.

If you are looking for a souvenir from your trip to Austin, this is a fine choice. The name, the bottle design, and the contents are all on point. I do recommend that you might also want to try one of the local distilleries that actually make their own whiskey while you’re here… but to be fair, I don’t think any of them come in a bottle anywhere near this fun.

Dime Box Distillery Sixth Street Bourbon
Produced By: Dime Box Distillery
Production Location: United States
Classification: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Aging: 4 Years
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $79.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 3/5
A rich, dark chocolate whiskey that works great in cocktails and comes in a fun bottle. But just like seemingly everyone else in Austin, it was not actually born here.


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