I was extra excited when I had the opportunity to select this quarter’s American Whiskey Club,  as Balcones has long been on my radar for a visit. I discovered their single malt over eight years ago when their founder, Chip Tate was making the sales rounds in San Francisco. Since then, the brand has been through some ups and downs, but now their whiskey is better than ever. The Blue Corn Bourbon, Texas Rye, and Texas Bourbon are nothing to sleep on, but the Single Malt really takes the prize. One day a few months ago, a well-dressed Texas gentleman by the name of Alex from Balcones Distillery walked into the store and introduced himself. Rather than the usual storyline and sales pitch, this guy played it cool, and we hit it off talking music and other topics before talking whisky. Next thing I knew, he was inviting me out to pick a barrel. After going through seven different barrels, ranging from American oak, French oak and Hungarian (European) oak barrels, my favorite was clear. This whisky reminds me so much of a Speyside style scotch, rich and sweet and spicy. Its hard to believe its just over two years old! Who would have thought? Texas is making some of the best malt whisky in the country! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Joshua Thinnes, Whisk(e)y Evangelist

Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky

64.1% ABV, Aged in New Hungarian Oak for 27 Months

From: Waco, Texas, USA

Producer: Balcones Distillery, Master Distiller Jared Himstedt

Price: $90 per bottle

Pairing Suggestions: Texas Ribeye, Chili, Maduro Cigars, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate OR try using in cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan

Driving into Waco Texas has a very unassuming feel to it. The town has seen a huge influx of tourism thanks to the show ‘Fixer Upper’, but it still feels like it is sitting there waiting for another suitor to come in and shower it with love. The original distillery sat in a tiny old welding shop nestled underneath the freeway bridge. Now the expanded facility is located in town with a very well designed and acoomodating visiter center. Everything in the production facility was designed around making their own style of Texas whisky, yet with an homage to how it is done in Scotland. Their still and mash tun was made by Forsyths from Rothes, Scotland. The still was custom designed still is one of a kind with huge coil tops to maximize production output while still fitting into the space. Everything about the process is borrowed from methods in Scotland. They even use ‘Golden Promise’ malt vareity, the same used by Macallan and other producers. The color of the whisky produced at just two years old is astounding. You can really begin to realize that age means nothing without the balance of other factors. The aromas in the nose confirm the initial impressions with an explosion of chocolate and burnt orange rinds blasting from the glass as sweet flavors of brown sugar and caramels persist. The first thing you notice on the palate is the viscosity, followed by intense chocolate covered orange rind flavors. You’d never guess the proof on this bad boy is 128.2! With the addition of air in the bottle or time in the glass, it really begins to open up. Just a few drops of water will do wonders too. Enjoy!

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