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. 

Balcones – Baby Blue Corn Whiskey

Baby Blue Corn Whiskey 
Balcones Distilling LLC

Proof: 92
ABV: 46%
Style: Corn
State: TX 
Price: $$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 7.0

Nose: Corn husk with a bit of medicinal bang.  Golden raisin and oak essence with slivered almonds and hay.

Palate: Corn oil wrap with apple and dried apricot.  Faint vanilla and honey sweep dissolving into an earthy throw of wood.

Finish: Modest heat Small bites of citrus and cornbread with a toasty frame. 

Comments: Would be a nice mixing partner with light syrups and herbaceous flavors.  Would welcome a little more oomph.

Susan Reigler – 7.8 

Nose: Freshly shucked corn and sweet vanilla with dry oakiness. Simple, but inviting. 

Palate: Vanilla predominates with ripe apple and cornbread.  Corn does not overwhelm. Sprinkling of white pepper and a drop of honey. 

Finish: Warm and relatively short.  Dries to a touch of sweet oak. 

Comments: This is not a complex whiskey, but it is well made and the proof gives it a little heft without overheating it. 

Balcones – True Blue

True Blue 
Balcones Distillery

Proof: 100
ABV: 50.0%
Style: Corn
State: TX
Price: $$$

Rob Allanson 9.1

Nose: Huge nose, plenty of layers. Coffee liqueur, gentle menthol and caramel mint chews. Hot buttered cornbread and salted popcorn. Sweetens with strawberry juice and black cherry compote.

Palate: Leather, those dark cherries and coconut ice cream. Unsmoked bacon and corn frittatas. Then floral notes emerge, violet and lavender.

Finish: Dries leaving floral notes and wood tannins hanging about.

Comments: A little left field, but what a field!

Sam Coyne 8.6

Nose: Woah! Really deep, rich spices; cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Rum notes. Vanilla near the end. Black Forest gateau. 

Palate: Sweet with Maraschino cherries. Light on the tongue. Liqueur comes through. Sweetness becomes earthier as cinnamon and just a faint maize replaces the cherries. 

Finish: Nice and long. Really sweet, but also fantastically smooth.

Comments: Enjoyable from the ‘go’. More than a little different. One to impress friends with.