I am capping off my little mini-series on American craft whiskeys with one of my very favorite whiskies, Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky. This whisky is made from malted barley that is mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged at the Balcones Distillery in Waco, TX. Like most Balcones whiskies, there is no age statement on the bottle, but that is not a case of Balcones trying to hide bad spirit. This is truly a case of Balcones bottling their products when they are ready. Like most Balcones products, their single malt is bottled in small batches (this is batch #SM12-9) and without the use of coloring or chill-filtration. Like the Balcones Brimstone, Texas Single Malt is bottled at 106 proof (53% abv).
In the glass, Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky is a rich, deep mahogany color. The nose is a classic single malt, but wholly unique at the same time. It reminds me of rich, freshly baked banana bread, with the balance of toasted sweet breads, bananas, walnuts, tangerines, chocolate pound cake, and a light whiff of cinnamon spice. The nose on the whisky is unbelievably delicious. The palate is medium to full-bodied, fruity and buttery, with notes of pears, strawberries, cinnamon sugar, and toasted bread. The finish is warming and relatively long, with some spiced oak, cinnamon, and vanilla custard.
Overall, this whisky is absolutely brilliant. It is unlike anything else on the American whiskey scene today, truly in a class of its own. It is sweet, fruity, malty, spicy, and lightly wooded. Everything you would want from a single malt whisky is present, and yet this whisky sneaks into the realm beyond words. It also opens up beautifully in the bottle and with a few drops of water. It is slowly becoming more readily available, but still not the easiest whisky to find. Snag a bottle if you see one. My grade: A-/A. Price: $50-60/750ml. This is a little pricey for its youth, but the juice in the bottle is worth every penny. Balcones is definitely doing some great stuff with whisky, and letting it ride!