Few Spirits collaborates with Smashing Pumpkins

The new Bourbon connects the Chicago-based distiller with the hometown alternative rock band.

Craft distillery Few Spirits, located in Evanston, Illinois, just outside Chicago, has announced its latest collaboration: Few Smashing Pumpkins Bourbon.

The whiskey is Few’s four-year-old straight Bourbon that’s been proofed to 46.5% ABV using Midnight Rose black tea from Madame Zuzu’s Emporium, a boutique tea shop run by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and his wife, located in nearby Highland Park.

“Whether you’re making music, painting, blending tea, or distilling spirits, you’re making art,” said master distiller Paul Hletko. “As a Chicagoan, I felt a personal responsibility to match the raw, primal energy of the Pumpkins. Songs like ‘I Am One’ – the opening track of the band’s first album, Gish – provided a ton of inspiration.”

Few Smashing Pumpkins Bourbon is priced at US$50 and is rolling out ahead of the band’s North American tour this summer. It will be available in select markets where the tour stops, and nationally through the distillery’s website.

Hletko said he wanted to capture the band’s “driving, yet symphonic quality” with the whiskey, which shows ripe honeydew, vanilla, and rose water on the nose, with sandalwood, caramel, and black tea on the palate.

The whiskey’s label was designed by Chicago visual artist Katelan Foisy, who drew inspiration from elements of vintage tea tins and labels, merging them with art deco and Victorian design. Foisy has previously worked with both Madame Zuzu’s and the Smashing Pumpkins and included a lyric to the band’s song ‘Tonight, Tonight’ on the back label.

In years past, Few has worked with The Flaming Lips, Alice in Chains, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on collaborative whiskies.

As for cutting whiskey with tea, it’s a practice that Few has experimented with in the past. In 2020, it released Immortal rye, a whiskey cut with Eight Immortals Oolong Tea. The distillery also offers Cold Cut, a Bourbon that is proofed down with cold brew coffee, as well as a full range of other, more traditional whiskies.

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