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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Balcones Distillery (TX)

Whisky Tasting Notes Review

Chip Tate, Founder, President and Head Distiller

 

Jared Himstedt, Production Manager

 

Balcones Distillery is the result of a fascination with fermentation and a life long appreciation of fine things.  It is not insignificant that the first meeting was at a local homebrew club meeting 11 years ago in 2002.  

 

The founders have 25 years combined experience in both professional and home brewing and believe that you begin being a good whisky distiller by brewing good beer.  “You can’t get anything out of the stills that you don’t put in, and starting with a great fermentation is the first step to ending up with a great spirit.”

 

Work on the actual distillery started in  2009 in a converted ex-welding shop the distillery and its equipment where hand built by Chip Tate and his crew.

 

These hand crafted, small batch spirits are lovingly made in the distillery that the founders built with own hands. This hard work and attention to detail has helped the company to achieve recently over 40 national and internationally recognised awards

 

Balcones Brands

Texas Single Malt Whisky

Brimstone Texas Smoked Corn Whisky

Texas Baby Blue 46%ABC 80proof Corn Whisky

True Blue 50%ABV 100proof Corn Whisky

True Blue Cask Strength Corn Whisky

Rumble A Texas Honey Based Liquour

 

Balcones Distillers Pledge:  

“It is our pledge to you that everything that goes into making our spirits is done by the distillers themselves.  We receive and inspect the raw ingredients, run and monitor fermentations, distil the spirits, monitor the aging in barrels, bottle and label ourselves.  When a bottle of Balcones receives it’s wax seal we are saying to you that it has met our standards and is something we are proud of and willing to affix our name to.”

 

The spirits are truly hand crafted. they do not buy alcohol from other producers and redistill it, They start with the very best corn, malted barley, sugar, figs, honey.  ferment their own wash and distil all of the products start to finish.

 

The commitment to Hand Crafting their spirits extends into the design and layout of the distillery and the engineering and construction of equipment.  

 

“The benefits of building and installing our own equipment became clear to us as we put together our distillery.  By building our own condensers, wash stills, heat exchangers, hot liquor tank, etc. we were able to build exactly the equipment we wanted to use to make spirits.  We became extremely familiar with the tools of our trade.  The equipment itself is one more level of the distilling process that we get to craft with our own hands.”

 

We are very proud to not only taste spirit we made as it ages and matures, but to also work everyday with equipment that was painstakingly and lovingly made.”

 

Balcones Distillery

Texas Single Malt Whisky Cask Strength

Single Malt Whiskey is hand-crafted in small batches in copper pot stills.  Non-chill filtered, no artificial colouring, barrel aged, inspired by Scottish methods.

 

Tasting Notes:

Nose; ripe, buttered stone fruit, banana and pears; honey and rose water with delicate citrus accents.

 

Taste: silky and full on the palate; lightly toasted bread with fresh butter and marmalade.

 

Finish:  long finish with lingering toast and burnt sugar notes morphing into rich malt and wood flavours with counterbalancing acidity

 

Best enjoyed neat or with a little cool water.

 

Brimstone 53%abv Texas Smoked Corn Whisky

Instead of using Scottish peat smoke, this one-of-a-kind whisky is smoked with sun-baked Texas scrub oak using the distillery mastered secret process. The result is a whisky full of fresh youthful corn and light fruit notes married with a bold smokiness.

 

Nose:  confectioners' sugar, cold-smoked butter, corn husk, BBQ pit, stone fruit, chilli peppers and graham crackers

 

Taste: candied oak smoke, English pipe tobacco, butter, orange marmalade, fruit cocktail, sweet tea, chili peppers

 

Finish: long dry finish, herbal/mint ends in a mineralness as smoke returns .. ....a Texas camp fire in a bottle.

 

Balcones Distillery  Baby Blue Whisky

Baby Blue is not only Texas’ first whisky, but so far we know the only blue corn whisky made anywhere.  It pays homage to the American whisky tradition and while adding something we think is new and innovative.

 

Tasting Notes:

Nose: melted butter, kettle corn, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon and nutmeg, fresh bread and honey, fresh ground coffee, baking chocolate

 

Taste: tropical fruit, slight apricot, brown sugar, cotton candy, sweet tea with lemon, smoked chilis

 

Finish: medium long warming, late cinnamon/leather spice, mint and green pepper corns.

 

The unique aging process encourages a maturation that is surprisingly balanced and smooth for such a young whisky...young whisky with an old soul.

 

Best enjoyed neat, with a little cool water, or even on ice.

 

True Blue Cask Strength Corn Whisky

True Blue is a unique corn whisky made from roasted Atole, a Hopi blue corn meal, a rich and nutty corn to produce a whisky that  brings something new to the corn whisky tradition. At cask strength,

 

Nose; chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, butter, corn, hints of red chile, brown sugar, dried apricot, cinnamon, candied pecans, fresh brownies, wet coffee grounds.

 

Taste; caramel, fudge ripple, orange spice, cocoa, vanilla, fresh oak, pear, leather, salt, cinnamon/spice, jasmine.

 

Finish; chillis, warming and long.

 

True Blue 50%ABV 100proof Corn Whisky

ade from the same select barrels as the blue corn whisky that has gone in to the  True Blue Cask Strength However diluted down to 100 proof.

 

Nose; ripe apricots & mango with cinnamon, singed sugar on top of cocoa and dried chilies

 

Taste; deep oak and char, black tea and salty baking chocolate, old leather, roasted corn and coffee

 

Finish; lin

 

Balcones Distillery Peated Single Malt Whisky

Not in production at the moment

 

Also Produce

 

Rumble A Texas Honey Based Liquour

This unique Texas spirit is made from the finest local wildflower honey, mission figs and turbinado sugar and aged in small oak barrels.  Inspired by rum, but not rum...Rumble.  This is what happens when whisky distillers play with sugar.

 

Tasting Notes:

Fresh baked bread with melted butter and honey, citrus notes, malty depth and deep fruit.

 

Rumble is clean and smooth, complex and multi-faceted.  It's fine for mixing, but is exceptionally suited for drinking straight.

 

Available in two strengths, Standard  47%Abv and a variable cask reserve

 

 

Balcones Distillery  

 

212 S 17th StWaco, TX 76701-1736, United States

 

(254) 755-6003

 

No Visitor facilities

Tours available by appointment. To arrange a tour, please contact the distillery

Balcones Distillery  Awards

Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky

2012 Craft Whiskey Distillery of the Year

 

Wizards of Whisky International Competition

2012 Global Distillery of the Year

2012 US Craft Distillery of the Year

Single Malt Whisky Awards

Chairman's Trophy

2013 Ultimate Beverage Challenge

 

2012 SFW Wine & Spirits

Double Gold

 

2011 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition

Best Single Malt

Baby Blue Whisky Awards

2010 SFIS Competition

Double Gold

 

2012 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition

Silver Medal

 

2012 Wizards of Whisky

Silver Medal

Brimstone Whisky Awards

2013 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible - 95.5 Points

 

2012 American Distilling Institute Competition - Best in Category

 

2011 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition - Gold Medal.

True Blue Whisky Awards

2012 San Francisco World Wine & Spirits Competition - Silver Medal

 

Jim Murray's 2013 Whisky Bible- 95.5 Points

 

2012 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition Silver Medal

True Blue 100 Whisky Awards

 

2012 Wizards of Whisky - Gold

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