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The very last Balcones that I've got a sample of, and it's Labour Day here in Australia. I'm sitting here listening to Ray Donovan in the background, my wife Squidgy is in the other room on the computer, typing up her notes on this American Corn Whiskey and I'm looking forward to hearing what she thinks about it.
As Donovan plays it free and loose with the law, entertaining me, even when he isn't drinking Glenlivet or Highland Park, I'm nosing this whiskey and I'm once again surprised at how impressed I am by this little American micro distillery. It's very nice to see some great whiskey come out of my homeland that isn't a bourbon or a rye.
And as I sit here pondering this my wife hands me her first set of tasting notes, for the nose.
A bourbonish nose for her, with "coconut, triple X mints, tree musk and hot flat coke."
Alright my turn, what's on this bad boy!?
There's definitely a bourbonish nose to it, with oodles of vanilla and coconut, but that's not it, there's so much more.
Some dark chocolate/cocoa flakes, slightly dusty, corny at times, cinnamon and nutmeg, brown sugar, dusty book shelves, pears, very sweet nose.
Then comes my wife's tasting notes, which make me grin!
"hot in the mouth, tastes of iron, like warm blood, purple grapes, the big ones with seeds, and then the bloody iron taste returns"
Ok, not sure if I should be looking forward to trying this whisky or not!?
Oh well here goes!
Big oak, lots of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, some chilli, oranges, vanilla, slightly bitter, then caramel, more vanilla.
It is very warming and drying on the palate, so I totally get the heat that my wife is talking about, but no blood, thank goodness.
The finish is long, but then completely disappears. It's full of mild spices and vanilla.
Tasty! And very enjoyable. The high abv, in this case, 58.2%, is noticeable, and like the rest of the Balcones that I've tried, I've got a sneaky feeling that the whisky is going to be much younger then you think, 2 years, 3 years, maybe 4 years old, but it makes for an enjoyable change of pace from the profusion of American Bourbons and Ryes that we get here in Australia, seeing that American Single Malts tend to be very few and far between.
This bad boy runs around $170 or so AUS, which in my opinion is a little too much to pay for this. I'd prefer to see it at around $150 or even better $140ish, but sadly this is Australia and good cheap alcohol is rare.
However the sweetness might put you off, so I'd suggest trying it at a bar if possible before running out and buying a bottle.