Balcones – Blue Straight Corn Whiskey

True Blue Straight Corn Whiskey 
Balcones Distilling LLC

Proof: 100
ABV: 50%
Style: Corn
State: TX
Price: $$$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 8.5 

Nose: Beautiful grain bouquet. Vanilla and white cherry. Wood with white pepper, cardamom and butterscotch.

Palate: Vanilla is distinguished at first sip, with herbaceous basil and sage. Toffee, oak and cayenne pepper. Nice dark raisin and hints of milk chocolate.

Finish: Bold and distinct wood first, which mellow quickly to sweet raisin and corn. 

Comment: An unexpected complexity makes for an surprising cocktail that your guests will enjoy.

Susan Reigler – 8.0 

Nose: Candy corn, vanilla and banana. There’s cinnamon and even milk chocolate. Unexpectedly complex nose for this style.

Palate: There’s still plenty of candy corn and vanilla. There’s virtually no fruit or spice in the mouth, though.

Finish: Warmth with a great deal of oak spice, an interesting root beer-like note at the end that had not been present.

Comment: Very smooth for a 100 proof whiskey. It shows character, but I do wish the palate had lived up to the nose.

Balcones – Texas Rye Whiskey

Texas Rye Whiskey 
Balcones Distilling LLC

Proof: 100
ABV: 50%
Style: Rye
State: TX
Price: $$$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 6.8

Nose: Blast of brown sugar and caramel. Soft rye and pepper. Big barrel notes. Nutty and earthy blend that grows and develops. Hint of liquorice and anise.

Palate: Tannins speak first with a smouldering char taste. Pepper develops after the grains pull through and get past the smoulder.

Finish: Dominated by smokey essence, leaving raw cigar flavor.

Comment: If you are an earthy/smoke flavor kind of person, this one may be a slightly unusual option.

Susan Reigler – 7.0

Nose: Rye grass with caraway seeds, dried fruit, black pepper and burnt marshmallows.

Palate: Very herbal, like a field of tall grasses and wildflowers on a warm autumn afternoon. Note of vanilla and hints of dates and figs.

Finish: The herbal continues. The ending sweetens with some vanilla and dried fruit, but then is ruined with something ashy. 

Comment: Water sweetens it, giving it more cinnamon spice and fruit. That ashy note is worrying, though. 

Balcones – Texas Single Malt Whiskey

Texas Single Malt Whiskey 
Balcones Distilling

Proof: 106
ABV: 53%
Style: Single Malt
State: TX
Price: $$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 8.3 

Nose: Fresh and clean nose of Bing cherry and black pepper. Delicious smoke and leather. Earthy malt and cereal.  Nice caramelized wood sugar aroma.

Palate: Great mouthfeel and texture.  The cherry-sherry combo works well and a great spice backing of cinnamon and clove. Well rounded.

Finish: Long baked fruit compote and spice kick.

Comments: Truly a reliable “go to” on the bar shelf and would pour for any occasion.

Susan Reigler – 8.0 

Nose: Malty with some vanilla, green apples, hint of honey and
some oak. 

Palate: Like roasted almonds. The barest flavor of anise is a welcome addition. Caramel appears and intensifies as it sits in the glass.  

Finish: Malt becomes honeyed. The oak tannins at the end are very soft.  

Comments: Water almost completely changes it. Chocolate covered cherries and cinnamon take over and there’s plenty of caramel.