Liquid Arizona: Anatomy of a Whiskey

Craig OuthierJune 25, 2020
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Like many an Arizona distiller, Whiskey Del Bac churned out a fair amount of hand sanitizer during the pandemic – great for the COVID-19 effort, but bittersweet for tipplers who’d rather see the award-winning shop put its stills to their intended use. Flush with a not-shabby-at-all 89 score from Whiskey Advocate, Del Bac patriarch Stephen Paul and co-founder Amanda Paul, his daughter (both pictured), gave us the skinny on their efforts – and on their new, skinnier bottle.

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Photos courtesy Stephen Paul
Photos courtesy Stephen Paul

Though they preferred it from a design standpoint, the Pauls decided to jettison their distinctively squat original bottle last year. The reason? Ergonomics. “Turns out with that short neck and wide base, the old bottle was really hard to grasp!” Amanda says. More graspable neck = happier bartenders.


With its gentle taper, the new bottle shape conforms to a classic single malt silhouette, according to Amanda. “It feels old to me, but maybe more ‘Old World,’” she says.


Along with the bottle, the Pauls nixed the original cowboy-looking label in favor of this sparsely elegant design by Tucson artist Matt Walsh.


On that 89 score: The Pauls received it for their Distiller’s Cut, a cask-blended version of Del Bac’s Classic whiskey (pictured) utilizing cognac, madeira and sauterne barrels, among others. “It’s always a blend of different finishing casks… for complexity and nuance,” Stephen says. The current version mixes cognac with madeira.


In addition to producing hand sanitizer and surface cleaner for Arizona front-line workers, the Pauls also have a new 200ml convenience-bottle launching this summer “which should be great for to-go curbside orders,” Amanda says.

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