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. 

Stranahan’s – Sherry Cask

Sherry Cask
Proximo Spirits

Proof: 93.8
ABV: 46.9%
Style: Single Malt
State: CO 
Price: $$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 8.5

Nose: Lush sherry nose that expresses huge overtures of sweetness and bonfire toffee.

Palate: Nice mouthfeel that speaks to cherry and a pleasing spine of wood sugars.  Bites of astringency that even out and reveal the underlayer of chipotle and juicy plum.

Finish: Sense of polish on the finish, long, sweet and dry.  Pipe smoke and baked crust.

Comments: Assertive personality and admirable texture, perfect for a chilly evening as well.

Susan Reigler – 8.2

Nose: Very floral. Light vanilla is accompanied by sweet maltiness, very much like that in a fine English ale. 

Palate: Prunes, figs, and dates. Vanilla is now burnt caramel and there’s an element of root beer flavor. Virtually no spice at all. 

Finish: Sweet oak tannins arrive at the finish, which dries nicely in the end. 

Comments: Mixture of flavors that make this whiskey atypical. Well worth a taste. It’s also warm without being at all hot. 

Virginia Distillery – Chardonnay Cask Virginia Highland Whiskey

Virginia Distillery
Chardonnay Cask Virginia Highland Whiskey 
Virginia Distillery

Proof: 92
ABV: 46%
Style: Single Malt
State: VA
Price: $$

Peggy Noe Stevens – 6.9

Nose: Hay-like and lemon peel. Grains and granola with honey drizzle. Yellow apple with sugar cookie and subtle vanilla.

Palate: Slight soapiness and young wood. Apple pulls through and small oak bites.

Finish: Bone dry.  Dissipates quickly.

Comments: Let this one sit awhile to open.  Not as sippin’- friendly as it could be.

Susan Reigler – 7.0

Nose: Nearly undetectable. Given time on the glass, some malt emerges, as well a light apple note.

Palate: Malted milk chocolate, but very light. Not unpleasant, but there’s little complexity. 

Finish: Short. A little sweet at first, quickly drying to light oak. 

Comments: I suspect this is a very young whiskey. The proof gives it some character, but more age would probably give it come more depth.  

Stonecutter Spirits – Heritage Cake Whiskey

Stonecutter Spirits
Heritage Cask Whiskey 
Stonecutter Spirits

Proof: 90
ABV: 45.0%
Style: Single Malt
State: VT
Price: $50-$99.99

Rob Allanson – 8.4

Nose: Gentle but all these tropical fruits emerge, papaya, mango and dried pineapple. Grain comes through, malt and raisin bread.

Palate: Huge sweetness and then those fruits come through. Gentle and delicate. A wood grip, coconut ice cream and caramel sauce.

Finish: All that fruit – nice and long, Coconut ice cream and gentle spicy notes at the end.

Comments: A delicate and gentle whiskey, one to savour. Takes its time to reveal its delights, but well worth it.

Sam Coyne – 7.8

Nose: Vanilla up-front, before lashings of flambé fruit. A little acetone and those fruit-salad chews. Apricots and cherries. Yum.

Palate: Big ol’ spices welcome you in, we’re talking cinnamon and nutmeg especially. More of those sweeties in the background and a slightly tannic hint. A slightly oily mouthfeel.

Finish: More and more of the chews, but becomes cleansing with a herbal, menthol finish.

Comments: A little surprising, but might not appeal to the purists.