Balcones Texas Single Malt

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Distillery/Brand: Balcones Distilling | Region: America | ABV: 53% | Color: Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 87

Review
The first two whiskies I had from Balcones Distillery were the Brimstone Resurrection and the Brimstone Blue Corn. Both spirits being uniquely treated to sun baked Texas Oak smoke.

The result was a truly unique flavor profile which can be best described as a spicy Texas campfire. Now for those of you who know me I’m a sucker for anything unique and anything that can challenge my palate and both of these wonderful whiskies ticked the right boxes for me.

With my curiosity piqued I got my hands on one of the very few single malts out of USA, the Balcones Texas Single Malt.

Chip Tate, the owner of this wonderful micro-distillery, uses a secret formula to mature his spirit – experimenting with used bourbon barrels of different sizes and ages to create his flavors.

The Texas Single Malt is distilled from Scottish malted barley called The Golden Promise. Produced by Northern Brewers this traditional strain has a sweet, clean flavor and is favored for making good Scottish ale.

My sample is from Batch SM12-10 (bottled 12/31/2012) and served at 53%.

Nose: So fruity. Lots of citrus. Floral. Light fleshy fruits. Banana. Apricots. Jack fruit. So much Jack Fruit it’s insane. Chocolate. More Horlicks. Fresh grass. Beeswax. Honey dew melon. And mango. This reminds me of a Yamazaki Distiller Reserve I recently tried. Like a tropical fruit basket.

Palate: Chili. Lots of it first up. Mellows out mid-palate with pink melon. Chocolate. Lots of oak. Fennel. Cumin. Banana. And there it is again. That jack fruit. That never-ending jack fruit. Such an overripe tropical fruit platter.

Finish: Long. Oak. Orange. Pink papaya. And the melon is back.

Now let me be honest. After the first two Balcones I had pegged this distillery to produce only highly smoked, insanely unique flavor profiles. However, this Texas Single Malt is more like a Scapa 16 and Yamazaki Distillers’ Reserve blended together.

That’s not entirely a bad combination but it doesn’t work for me given my first two experiences. One need not go to Waco, Texas to get this flavor profile. With some creative blending it can be found in Scotland.

Mind you, it’s not that bad but it certainly belies it’s heritage as a kick-ass Texan.

Rating: 87

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