Author Mack McConnell is a contributing writer for Cocktail Enthusiast, and he also runs the Taster’s Club Scotch of the Month.
Based in Waco, TX, Balcones Distilling was founded in 2008. During that time, they’ve put out a handful of solid whiskeys and have received plenty of recognition for their efforts. Most recently, Balcones was named Craft Distillery of the Year at the inaugural Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Awards.
Those awards bestowed high praise upon the smoky Balcones Brimstone whisky. And while the Brimstone is certainly good stuff, I wanted to give some attention to their more-impressive (at least to me) Single Malt.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Balcones Single Malt Texas Whisky is the color — it’s quite dark. There’s no artificial coloring here, so the dark color is partly due to the whisky being unfiltered. But also because Balcones uses new barrels, which imbues the spirit with lots of woody character.
Part of the Balcones Single Malt’s secret sauce is their commitment to long, slow fermentation, which isn’t the norm for American whiskeys. According to Balcones: “Rather than fermenting 70 hours, typical of most whiskey distilleries, we ferment over seven days. We have more of a brewery approach to fermentation in this respect.”
Color: Weak coffee.
Nose: A very noticeable malty-sweetness right off the bat. The vanilla is unmistakeable and reminiscent of a scotch. It has some darker hints like dates and maple sugar, and just under the darker sugar is a bit of light banana, pear and orange marmalade.
Taste: Quite smooth. The sweetness from the nose is apparent – brown sugar and dates. It’s very toasty and malty, which is particularly interesting combined with classic American whiskey notes of caramel, cinnamon and oak spice.
You can find Balcones spirits in more than a dozen states, including Texas, California, Illinois and New York.
– 53% Alcohol by Volume
Balcones… not what it used to be at all… check out the blog and my conversation with Chip Tate….
newbourbondrinker: yes, we know. We also talked to Chip about this, and it’s a damn shame. Our review is from 2012, when Chip was still in control. In your article, you mention you haven’t tried any Chip Tate-made Balcones whiskeys, which makes it impossible for you to know the difference. Chip is super talented, but maybe you just don’t like Balcones whiskeys.
Thanks for your thoughts and taking the time to share them. So glad you enjoy the whisky.
President & Head Distiller