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Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whisky

Unusual Flavor Profile

0 1689

@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

8th Dec 2015

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    89

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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16 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@MaltActivist, greetings! Thanks for your review.

If you like Baby Blue,...then if it is ever possible to do so, get yourself a bottle of the old release barrel strength True Blue, sold at around 61.8% ABV. It is a religious experience, particularly after it has taken some air.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Brilliant review! I'm sitting on a bottle of Baby Blue and have been hesitant to open it as most reviews are not positive. Your spin on "weird and unusual" whiskies has given me hope that I too might find this one interesting. I have a shelf in my cabinet with expressions that possess a unique or quirky flavour profile. Now there is one more.

5 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

Cheers gents!

@Victor Definitely going to try and source True Blue now. Any advice?

@paddockjudge please note that I'm an anomaly when it comes to whisky reviews. I hate stuff that other people love and vice versa. I'd be really interested to see what you think of it.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@MaltActivist, I wish I knew where to find a bottle of barrel strength True Blue now. I don't. If I see one, I will likely buy it for myself. I believe that my sister's bottle is not quite empty, so I can still drink some of it.

And, in the realm of the unusual, I wish I still had some of my 150 ml sample of 62.5% ABV High West Western Oat (unaged) Whiskey to share with you. Wild and wonderful. I'd jump at the chance to drink some more of that. It was a distillery sample.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

You can find it (try wine-searcher), but only in the US. Also, the UK carries the 50%abv version. I own both versions and am still trying to figure out which one I prefer. But buy up, because availability has surely become an issue; you can't drink Balcones without knowing what's been going on (the Tate era is over): nytimes.com/2014/12/…

5 years ago 0

@newreverie
newreverie commented

I have 2 bottles of Chip Tate true blue 100, which is the 100 proof variety. More interesting is that Balcones now releases a cask strength blue corn whisky. I have one unopened bottle, but more available to me. Having never opened it, I can't tell you how it compares to the barrel strength true blue, but they are probably similar.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@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.

5 years ago 0

maltmate302 commented

Victor I never realized how highly you regarded Nikka Coffey Grain. I see it for sale everywhere in Europe but never considered buying it . I'll have to get it next time I make a purchase. I wonder if you've tried the Coffey Malt and if so what do you think of it?

5 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

@maltmate302 @Victor I've reviewed the Nikka Coffey Malt a few months ago. I liked it. Quite an unusual flavor profile if you ask me. Running 100% malted barley through column stills. I have a bottle of the Coffey Grain which I haven't opened yet. I think Victor just gave me an idea to do a H2H tonight with the two.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@maltmate302 @MaltActivist, I haven't yet tried the Nikka Coffey Malt. I do look forward to it, though.

I am looking forward to hearing your observations on the Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky. That one has this sort of silky chocolate-y thing going on which is different from every other corn whisky I've tried. I don't know why they call it "grain" if the only grain in it is corn. I do not taste any wheat in the Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky. If it had wheat, the wheat would take over. Clarity is good. If it is corn whisky, then just call it corn whisky. I hold no reverence whatsover for obscure anachronistic conventions of Scottish whisky nomenclature. In my book it is way past time to deep six a number of those ridiculous traditional Scottish labels. Clarity should be the guiding principle.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

@Victor I'm sitting with the Coffey Malt and the Grain side by side and I'm not liking the finish on the grain. I'm getting some sort of astringent / acidic after taste. Did you get something similar?

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@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.

5 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

I have in my possession Bottle Code 14B06B6 - I wonder if that helps

5 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

And when I compare it to the Coffey Malt it feels even more so - because the Malt is tasting quite spectacular in comparison

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Two days ago I had the good fortune to partake of both the Coffey Grain and Coffey Malt with @Nozinan who had purchased these recently in Vancouver.

The Grain is a solid whisky, sweet and closely resembling the Irish and Canadian styles of Coffey (single) Grain. The Malt Coffey is indeed spectacular. I came home with a bottle of Coffey Grain, and I am grateful to have it, especially since @Nozinan and I had the opportunity to sample both the Grain and the Malt. I would definitely choose the Malt over the Grain.

5 years ago 0

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