Tag Archives: texas

Balcones Brujeria & Hechiceros Review

Balcones Brujeria – Distillery: Balcones. ABV: 62.9%. Grain bill: 100% malted barley. No age statement. Price: $120.

Balcones Hechiceros – Distillery: Balcones. ABV: 61.5%. Grain bill: 100% malted barley. No age statement. Price: $90.

Longtime followers of The Axis know that I have what some have described as an “obsession” for American single malts – a relatively new category of American whiskey produced using 100% malted barley. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the Balcones 10th Anniversary party in Waco, Texas.

The highlight of the event was the release of two special single malts, this sherry cask finished Brujeria (Spanish for ‘witchcraft’) and the port cask finished Hechiceros (‘sorcerers’). I’ve been impressed with the classic Balcones “1” single malt for a long time now, but these cask finished releases offer an exciting new exploration into what is possible down in Texas.

The Brujeria (62.9% ABV, $120) has notes of dark fruits and earthiness mixed with a pleasant nuttiness. The Hechiceros (61.5% ABV, $90) is sweeter and lighter with notes of berries, dried fruits and a light spiciness. Both are built on a solid framework of Balcones’ distinct single malt DNA and the finishes add plenty of unique layers to unwrap. Although proudly Texan, these could hold their own against any sherry or port finished single malt from abroad.

Stay tuned for forthcoming reviews of the Balcones whiskeys that are not single malts, including their blue corn and rye whiskeys.

Cheers, friends! -JTR

Garrison Brothers 2015 Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

Distiller: Garrison Brothers. Age: 3 years. Mashbill: 74% white panhandle corn, 15% wheat, 11% barley. Price: $75.

Didn’t have a cowboy campfire available to go with my Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon, but I got as close as I could.

This latest batch of Garrison Brothers’ flagship is 3 years old, with a wheated mashbill. The distillery has been tweaking its production methods, mashbill, and barrels since its first batch in 2009–its original mashbill was 100% corn–and has single barrel and cask strength releases to go with the flagship. More on that cask strength to come.

On first opening, you’ll get a whiff of small-barrel woodshop, but hang in there. The nose improves considerably after a few days/drams. The rawer notes blow off to reveal roasted corn, saddle leather, and waffle cones.

The palate’s where this really shines. Tons of spice–clove, cinnamon, and ginger snaps, along with dark caramel. Remarkable how prominent the spice given the lack of rye in the mashbill. Great mouthfeel. Medium finish with maple and hickory smoke creeping in.

It’s a premium pour at $75 for a bottle of the flagship and $200 for the cask strength Cowboy Bourbon, but for craft whiskey lovers, it’s a must-try. Cheers, friends! -BO

Garrison Brothers kindly provided a bottle for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Buy Garrison Brothers Bourbon online at Mash + Grape