By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 19, 2021 at 2:02 PM

If you’re a member of the Whiskey Wisconsin Facebook group then you already likely saw my post a few weeks about about Cabin Strength, the single-barrel, distiller’s proof version of Central Standard’s Red Cabin bourbon.

The bottles are now at retail and with proofs ranging from 115 to 120 it arrives just in time to warm you up in winter.

The release is the first barrel-proof single-barrel release from Milwaukee’s Central Standard and it is double oaked. Aged first in new American oak barrels for four to six years, the whiskey was then transferred to rest a year in another new American oak barrel.

The juice is the same as would become Red Cabin, though instead of finishing in Cabernet wine barrels like that award-winning dram (it  won a Gold Medal at the prestigious Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits competition), Cabin Strength went into a pristine new oak barrel.

The result, as you’d expect, is rich in vanilla and wood tannin, with a nice complexity and mouthfeel.

Central Standard has bottled 12 barrels of Red Cabin at barrel strength – called Cabin Strength – and 11 of them have gone to retail so far.

“Like fingerprints, each batch of Cabin Strength is hand crafted and aged in a single barrel, so no two bottlings are alike,” says co-founder Pat McQuillan. “Each barrel imparts an individual personality, signature flavor profile and a unique proof – ranging from 115 - 120 – that are exclusive to that particular retail partner.”

Collectors will want to note that Woodman’s North has barrel 3; Woodman’s Madison has barrels 4 and 8; Total Wine has barrel 7; Otto’s has barrel 9 and Woodman’s South has barrel 10.

Other retailers, including Festival Foods, are still selecting their barrels from the remainder.

“With the initial release of Cabin Strength, we wanted to raise the bar with our first-ever distiller’s proof single barrel and offer our retailer partners an opportunity to co-brand a truly amazing bourbon,” says co-founder Evan Hughes.

“We’ve spent years perfecting this single-barrel-aging process and can’t wait for bourbon lovers and first-time bourbon drinkers to give Cabin Strength a taste.”


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.