I remember tasting my first Balcones. It was the Brimstone Resurrection. Quite possibly the most fiery and powerful whisky one can have. Massively smoked and audaciously spicy it was a no-holds barred attack of the senses.
And I loved it!
Chip Tate, the man behind the distillery, was a true innovator using techniques and ingredients only he could think of. Sadly his association with his own distillery was short-lived thanks to a rather public spat with the other board members. He left soon after and is now working on producing spirit for his own Tate Distillery.
Before he left, though, he conjured up this rather unique little expression. Using tiny 235 gallon copper stills, all hand-made at the distillery, this spirit is twice distilled and then aged in five gallon oak barrels making this quite the craft distillers' whisky.
But the key to the flavor is the rather unique Baby Blue Corn used to extract the spirit. After trying multiple varieties of corn Chip settled on the roasted Hopi blue corn and has, in my opinion, managed to put together quite a unique little whisky.
My pour is from a 30ml sample from the chaps over at Master of Malt and served at 46% ABV
Quite malty at first. Hops. Fruity too. Papaya. Chocolate. Jack fruit. Pepper. Buttered corn. Gets sweeter after a bit. Vanilla. Toffee. Ground coffee. Worn leather. Spices. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Let it sit and the maltiness goes away. More crisp now. Not bad. I like it. 22/25
Nice weight. Tropical fruit. Oak. Touch of smoke. Spice. Cinnamon. Burnt brown sugar. Bubble gum. Bubble gum? Green tea. Hint of lime. I think this palate needs a little getting used to. Definitely an acquired taste because the few people I've asked absolutely hated it. But I have this thing for anything just off the beaten path and this does it for me in some way. 23/25
Medium. Leather. Cinnamon. Quite savory. 22/25
If you know me you know that I go out of my way to look for the weird, the unusual, the stuff that questions the status quo. And I think I may have found it in this whisky. Is it spectacular? No, of course not. But there's just something alluring about it that I can't put my finger on.
@newreverie, that 61.8% abv True Blue came out about 2 years before the 100 proof True Blue. There are probably other batches at slightly different proofs as well. It was never a common whiskey. When you do open your bottle, note this: it really gets phenomenally rich after it gets a lot of air. I reviewed my sister's bottle of the 61.8% True Blue early after it was opened and liked it but was not bowled over by it. Later on, with more air, it just completely wowed me. That is one bottle which I do not own which I would like very much to have. I've mentioned a couple of times that my pantheon of corn whiskies contains, in no particlar order: Balcones True Blue 61.8% ABV, Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, and Highwood Ninety 20 yo. All three are fabulous.
@MaltActivist, I don't recall an acidic aftertaste from any of the Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky which I have had. I think I would have remembered that. I'll have to go back and re-taste some more from my sister's bottle of that one.
I found the first bottle of Nikka Coffey Grain from which I sampled, at a restaurant, to be phenomenal, and a whisky I would have rated about 92-94 points. The bottle my sister has has not seemed just the same to me and a bit lesser, though also good. I think I reviewed it around 87 points.
I am beginning to wonder whether there is a lot of variation in the batches of this one.