Balcones Texas Single Malt & Baby Blue

Going to start out by thanking /u/mentel42[1] for the two swaps so I can finally try this Texas Malt that people have been going on about.

Let me just start out by saying, there are aspects of Texas that make me think it would be awesome. First off, no winter, and trust me, that’d be nice. However I’m bad in the heat… though it’s a dry heat, so I should love it. And second off, Texas seems to have figured out that meat should be served plentifully after being roasted over a pit. Not to mention, Texas is now home to Balcones Distillery, which makes me want to go there more than the above two points.

However… well, I’m quite liberal, and I like my whole healthcare thing in Canada, so it looked unlikely that I’d be moving, or heading down for any drams (my wife has only a few days off a year). Lucky me that /r/scotchswap[2]exists.

Balcones Distilling started 5 years ago in an old welding shop under a bridge. And because I usually use hyperbole and jokes in my reviews, I’ll now tell you that I’m not making that up. They made a little shack, hammered and welded their own stills, and basically are living the American Dream.

Which is impressive, as I thought that was dead from what I’ve been reading.

Anyway, in 5 years they have produced 7 different unique spirits, of which 5 are Texas whiskey. I’ll be reviewing Balcones Texas Single Malt and Balcones Baby Blue today as a start.

Balcones SM 2

Balcones Texas Single Malt is completely mashed, fermented and distilled at the distillery. Non chill-filtered, non-coloured, and based on the Abv, I’d say they don’t mess around with it too much.

This is why I respect Texas. Well, this and the guns.

Okay, mostly the tall people and the guns. I’m kinda short and fat, thus I’m an easy target.

Balcones SM 1

Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Texas

Abv: 52.5% (may be off)

Colour: Golden-Brown

Nose: Lemon, burnt flowers, cherry liquor, white sugar, fresh cute grass, dark chocolate

Yes, burnt flowers. Like you set flowers on fire, and then I smelled them, and then we both wondered why we were setting flowers on fire, and then went about our lives, never speaking of it again until I smelled this whiskey.

Anyway, it has a Lowland smell to it, with a lot more sweetness than normal. I can see why it has quite a few medals, this is a unique experience.

Taste: Toffee, smoke, guava, bubblegum, umami, pineapple, corn

There’s a sweetness in this that’s quite present. A little too sweet for my tastes, though the odd tart, smoke, or umami flavour does its best to attempt to balance it out.

Finish: Apple, cassia buds, hops, sour grapes, brine, chocolate

Quite the tannin flavours at the end, and a little sour as well. I’m not enjoying it too much.

Hopefully that doesn’t get me shot quicker than the time I asked “Hey, isn’t Spanish your second language down here” in Kentucky once.

I’m not a smart man.

Conclusion: This is what I call a good start to a distillery. As a very young spirit, it is doing a lot right. The nose is complex, the taste has some interesting mixture of flavours. That said, there’s some elements I want to develop in the oak more, namely the finish.

Try this if you ever have the chance, it’s a unique experience, and a sign of great things to come out of Texas.



Balcones Baby Blue is a unique corn  whisky made from roasted blue corn meal.

Anyone ever have Hopi? Seriously, I’ve never eaten blue corn, and up here it’s usually just used as decoration at Halloween. So when I read the above, I assume that someone stole my mom’s decorations and then gave us whiskey.

Which, by the way, is fine once or twice, however eventually she’s going to get pissed.

The first Texas whiskey on the market since prohibition, this whisky is doing things differently than other American spirits, specifically trying to not be white lightning or bourbon. We’ll see how they did.


Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Texas

Abv: 46%

Colour: Light gold

Nose: Lemon rind, astringent, peat moss, caramel

Took me awhile to pick up anything other than the astringent alcohol flavour on this one. After letting it breathe some more, I had a little bit of earth and caramel, some acid then taking over like it owns the place, putting its feet up, not using a coaster.

What a dick acid is, am I right?

Taste: Smoked cocoa, lemon rind, grapefruit, sesame

Simple, very bitter, earthy flavour. Ouch. Not enjoying this too much. Glad I shared it with someone.

Finish: Paprika, smoke, cranberry, Crystal Light crystals (without water added), almond paste

Interesting finish on it, I’ll give it that. However again, there’s almost a fake flavour mixed in with the earthiness.

Conclusion: Maybe I’m not a fan of corn whisky. Or maybe this needs longer in the barrel. Either way, I’m not going to run out and get a bottle too quickly. It’s basically the Tobermory of American Whiskey.


Bourbon reviews #16-17, Texas reviews #2-3, Whiskey Network reviews #221-222

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