Sunday, 15 December 2013

Balcones Single Malt and a quick vertical

Advent Calendar 13/24.  I’ve been considering a Balcones vertical for a while, so the inclusion of the single malt in the advent calendar encouraged this quick flight.  Thanks to Scott Munro for the other two samples!

Balcones Single Malt, 53% A


Nose – Fresh, sherried, furniture polish, red apple, some musty wood behind this and a little ground almond.  Very good – just holding back from being a tropical assault. 

Body – Very spicy, immediate hit of barley and cereal sourness.  A deep malt sweetness, sharp wood at the side of the palate.

Finish – Very hot, quite long, well structured but lacking a little richness.

What's not good about it: Nose indicates a fruit bomb which isn’t delivered.  That’s just expectation management.  A little lacking in richness perhaps?

What’s good about it: Fantastic nose, loads of structure, bold, different and well made.

Balcones Baby Blue 100% Corn Whisky, 46% A+

Baby Blue-new label

Nose – Deep, rich, waxed fruit.  Really smooth, quite creamy, banana and green apple with only muted brightnesss – no off-putting sour, over-ripe or sharp notes.  Yet very ripe, balanced and moreish.

Body – Deeply sweet (the sweetness is deep rather than bright), corny, rich and malty.  Very, very smooth, but still has enough fire, spice and structure to balanced the corn sweetness.  Lovely.

Finish – A little fizzing. Ripe, medium finish.  Well balanced and smooth.  Lingering newly cut oak.

What's not good about it: Could do with more structure, just a little, plus a bit of a longer finish. 

What’s good about it: Really complex, ripe, full and rich and seriously delicious.

Balcones Brimstone, 53% A+

BrimstoneScrub oak smoked corn whisky – the whisky itself is smoked, rather than the grains.  No idea how.  This is Texan BBQ in a whisky.

Nose – Oak smoke, the inside of the lid of a Weber Smoky Mountain.  Ash, fireplace, underneath lurks marker pen, wet charred tree and burning oak, and some fresh, dry oak.  Oddly tropical and delicious.  Liquid BBQ competition.

Body – Initially malty sweet, then like licking sandalwood joss sticks.  Deeply aromatic and perfumed, totally remarkable.

Finish – Like sucking sandalwood joss sticks.  Numbing.  Long and bold, but surprisingly balanced.  Then a whole raft of Mexican things, like agave, tequila, Mescal and roasted grasshoppers.

What's not good about it: Not exactly approachable, and not what you’d expect from “whisky”.  Not sure when I’d go for this if I owned a bottle.

What’s good about it:  Fascinating, beautifully balanced, evocative, zero off notes, very well made – long, odd and beautiful. 

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