Good luck disentangling Garrison Brothers Small Batch from the state where it was created. The bourbon, made from barrels aged a minimum of four years, features a raised Lone Star on its bottle, and proudly lists its Texas-grown ingredients on the side: #1 panhandle white corn, harvested in 2013 from farms in Dallam County. The bottle also lists the year of its release in prominent numerals on the front, as each year sees a new vintage of Small Batch released.
Like all the whiskeys produced by Garrison Brothers, Small Batch was entirely distilled and aged by the company in Hye, Texas. The brand’s website contends that the punishingly hot local climate allowed the whiskey to pull more flavors from its new American oak barrels as it aged.
Garrison Brothers Small Batch has a complex nose that features sweet corn, juicy green apple, bone-dry barrel, and a combination of creamy vanilla and cinnamon that reminded me of a rice pudding dessert. Its very rich vanilla character is evident from the first sip, alongside almonds and hot, dry oak. The fruity notes first detected on the nose emerge at the center, this time as baked yet juicy apple. Those vanilla and oak notes return at the end with a vengeance, with sweet creamed corn, baking spices, and cinnamon in tow. Once the cream and vanilla pass, the incredibly long and tannic finish soars into overtime with bold spice notes that seem to account for every inch of the barrel.
Small Batch’s spice factor is so powerful that I had to taste it over a couple of sittings to better absorb its flavors before my palate was blown out. But that’s not a knock against Small Batch; on the contrary, it’s a testament to how the spirit seems to turn every part of what makes bourbon great up to 11 without drowning out its other flavors.
If you like bourbon, it’s probably because you appreciate rich, creamy vanilla and dry, spicy oak. Few bourbons I’ve tasted have captured those elements in such a satisfying way as Garrison Brothers Small Batch has. It isn’t cheap, but for those supercharged flavors, it’s money well spent.
— 47% ABV