Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon 46% 70cl
Founded in Waco, Texas in 2008 by Chip Tate, Balcones has an excellent reputation and a troubled history. Chip set up the distillery in an old welding shop and named it after a fault line that runs through part of the state. Instead of buying in stills, he built his own - even making his own barrels. Idiosyncratic in every way, Balcones launched into an American whiskey market that was just about to explode. With a great liquid and a memorable character at the helm, things could not have started better. Although Garrison Brothers started production before them, Balcones was able to release the first legal Texan whiskey since Prohibition with the launch of Baby Blue, and it can be considered one of the earliest of the current wave of 'craft' American whiskey producers.
But in 2013 things started to go wrong. A major investment from Gregory Allen resulted in changes to the board, and while the first few months were better than ever as growth could take place, the relationship at the top started to go awry, resulting in Tate being sued by the others on the board, and countersuing himself. Eventually Tate left the following, under the proviso he could not make whiskey for 2 years. Tate would eventually go on to set up Tate & Co Distilling.Despite the palaver in the background, Balcones continues to impress with an excellent range of spirits that feel Texan in every way, with current Head Distiller Jared Himstedt steadying the ship and maintaining quality.
First released in 2019, Balcones Pot Still Bourbon uses a mashbill of 4 grains - the exact proportions aren't known at the time of writing but it is a minimum 51% of Texas Blue Corn with wheat, rye and malted barley, with an aging of a minimum of 2 years in virgin oak.
This is certainly on the spicier side of Bourbon, with an earthy chocolate note as well. This might be because of the younger age, and this might be a little too intense for those who prefer their Bourbon on the sweeter side. But if you like a kick in your glass, you can't go wrong with this!
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