Balcones Distilling Baby Blue Corn Whisky

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Distillery/Brand: Balcones Distilling | Region: America | ABV: 46% | Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
I remember tasting my first Balcones. It was the Brimstone Resurrection. Quite possibly the most fiery and powerful whisky one can have. Massively smoked and audaciously spicy it was a no-holds barred attack of the senses.

And I loved it!

Chip Tate, the man behind the distillery, was a true innovator using techniques and ingredients only he could think of. Sadly his association with his own distillery was short-lived thanks to a rather public spat with the other board members. He left soon after and is now working on producing spirit for his own Tate Distillery.

Before he left, though, he conjured up this rather unique little expression. Using tiny 235 gallon copper stills, all hand-made at the distillery, this spirit is twice distilled and then aged in five gallon oak barrels making this quite the craft distillers’ whisky.

But the key to the flavor is the rather unique Baby Blue Corn used to extract the spirit. After trying multiple varieties of corn Chip settled on the roasted Hopi blue corn and has, in my opinion, managed to put together quite a unique little whisky.

My pour is from a 30ml sample from the chaps over at Master of Malt and served at 46% ABV

Nose: Quite malty at first. Hops. Fruity too. Papaya. Chocolate. Jack fruit. Pepper. Buttered corn. Gets sweeter after a bit. Vanilla. Toffee. Ground coffee. Worn leather. Spices. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Let it sit and the maltiness goes away. More crisp now. Not bad. I like it. 22/25

Palate: Nice weight. Tropical fruit. Oak. Touch of smoke. Spice. Cinnamon. Burnt brown sugar. Bubble gum. Bubble gum? Green tea. Hint of lime. I think this palate needs a little getting used to. Definitely an acquired taste because the few people I’ve asked absolutely hated it. But I have this thing for anything just off the beaten path and this does it for me in some way. 23/25

Finish: Medium. Leather. Cinnamon. Quite savory. 22/25

Overall Comments: If you know me you know that I go out of my way to look for the weird, the unusual, the stuff that questions the status quo. And I think I may have found it in this whisky. Is it spectacular? No, of course not. But there’s just something alluring about it that I can’t put my finger on.

Rating: 89

Balcones Brimstone

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Distillery/Brand: Balcones Distilling | Region: America | ABV: 53% | Color: Dark Bronze
Nose: 23 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 90

Review
Up until a few months ago I had not heard of Balcones Distillery. The brainchild of Texan Chip Tate this micro-distillery is only six years old and has already won a Confederate pickup worth of awards including a WWA for it’s Brimstone Resurrection bottling.

After managing to get hold of the award-winning sample I decided this micro-distillery was far too exciting to just pass up after one experience. They have around seven expressions all of which are under two years of age. Using mainly blue corn for distillation the unique spirit is smoked with sun baked Texas Oak giving it it’s signature charred barbecue pit flavor.

Balcones Brimstone is made with 100% blue corn and matured for just under two years in American Oak but only after it’s undergone a thorough Texas oak smoking. My bottle is from Batch BRM14-1 bottled on January 22, 2014 at a lovely 53%.

Nose: So unique. I have not nosed a whisky this different. Sweet diesel. Cinnamon. Garam Masala. Charred oak. Bitter chocolate. Red chilies. Barbecue pit. Burnt caramel. Digestives. Jute bag full of husky grains. Imagine sitting in the desert around a campfire.

Palate: Medium bodied. Red chilies. Bitter chocolate. Sour cherries. Smoked oak. Dried tobacco. Bitter marmalade. Red wine tannins. Leather. This is quite an intense delivery with the red chili leading the way. Sadomasochistically delicious.

Finish: Long. Herbal. Minty. Lots of wood. Husk.

I’m a sucker for anything out of the ordinary. Be it a creative process or unusual taste. And if something has both then it’s got me.

Can’t wait to get through the other expressions.

Rating: 90

Balcones V Brimstone Resurrection

Blacones Brimstone Resurrection
Distillery/Brand: Balcones Distilling | Region: America | ABV: 60.5% | Color: Dark Gold
Nose: 24 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 92

Review
I had never heard of Balcones Distilling until they won the WWA 2014 award for best American Whiskey. While I’m not a big fan of awards this time around I’m grateful to them for bringing this Texan distillery on to my radar.

When you think of Texas you don’t think of whisky. And, frankly, the only thing I know about Waco, Texas (where the distillery is located) is that a certain madman by the name of David Koresh burned down a ranch along with a lot of people.

Luckily now I will begin to associate Waco, Texas with pretty awesome whiskey. So thanks to Balcones for that.

Started only five years ago Balcones is the lovingly built brainchild of a certain Mr Chip Tate – can’t get any more Texan than that! Hand-built pot stills and a unique smoking method are responsible for this unique tasting corn whiskey.

Legend has it that one fine day Chip managed to burn a heck of a lot of corn at the bottom of his stills. Rather than throw it away he decided to use it. But not before he subjected it to his rather unique method of smoking the spirit with Texas Scrub Oak and then aging it in heavily charred barrels.

The result is the award-winning Brimstone Resurrection (get it?) released to commemorate the distillery’s 5th year of operations. This is a spirit that can only be described as a raging Texas campfire.

Nose: Completely scorched! Burnt leather. Dry barbecue meat. Clove. Ginger. Nutmeg. All spice. Cigar box. Let it breathe and it gets sweeter. Molasses. Baby ginger. Figs. Spicy Fruitcake. Cherry cough drops. All treated to that heavy Texan oak smoke. Wicked.

Palate: Seriously intense. Very woody cocoa. Peppers. Fruitcake. Java coffee beans. Nutmeg. Dry fruits. Figs. Raisins. All charred. All smoked. All fantastic.

Finish: Long with herbs. Wood. Cocoa. And did I mention smoke?

Powerful dram that is only three years old with a limited run of around 155 bottles so count your self lucky if you have one of these bad boys.

I’ve not tried any of the other Balcones offering but you better be sure I’m going to.

Rating: 92