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Balcones Distillery USA

Balcones Brimstone

Review of American oak-smoked corn whiskey.

Origin: Texas (USA)
Type: Texas Corn Whisky
Gradation: 53%ABV
Ageing barrels: Virgin American Charred Oak
Chillfiltered: No
Added coloring: No
Owner: Balcones Distilling
Average price: € 65.00
Official website: balconesdistilling.com
Vote: 84/100

I am returning to this craft distillery, one of the most interesting on the recent American scene, with sophisticated and innovative bottlings.
In particular, this whiskey, with a strong character right from its name, gets its smoky characteristics not from peat or from ageing barrels, but from a particular type of American oak, too small for casking, which is burnt to smoke the distillate before it’s poured to mature.

It’s therefore not only a smoking process that originates from wood (one of the few in the world), but also one that is carried out directly on the distillate rather than on the raw material, that blue corn of which the distillery makes ample use in its whiskies.
Its ageing period isn’t known, presumably less than 2 years.

Mahogany in the glass, beautiful.
It’s precisely firewood that greets the nose, with that scent of toasted resin with a strong balsamic component that fills the nostrils. Sweet notes accompany this main motif of caramel syrup, toffee and vanilla. Rosemary and thyme thread their way through the aromas, with ash in the background. Very full, substantial and unusual.
The balsamic and resinous vein continues on the palate, with the addition of plenty of chilli pepper thanks to the not exactly harmless (but not at all intrusive) alcohol content, with a hint of pencil shavings mixed in with the caramel. Tasting notes remain along the lines of the nose, with the addition of toasted pecans.
Medium-long, ashy finish of wood, caramel and herbs.

The wood influence is very strong, perhaps even too much so as it tends to prevail and make the drink a bit monotonous, but it’s definitely a unique and intense experience, a smoky alternative to the ‘usual’ peat.
Thanks to Ralf of Whisky Samples for the sample.

Other bottlings in the blog:
Balcones 1 Texas Single Malt Whisky Classic Edition
Balcones Rumble Cask Reserve
Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon
Balcones Texas Rye 100 Proof
Balcones True Blue Cask Strength

Other perspectives:
The Whiskey Jug

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