Single malt whisky - tasting notes

09 Apr 2013

Balcones True Blue 100 Proof

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: * USA

Balcones whiskyBalcones is one of the better known craft distillers in America, getting a lot of publicity after raving reviews by Jim Murray and recently in the World Whiskies Awards 2013. The distillery is producing corn whisky in Texas since 2008.

Balcones True Blue is made with blue corn (maize), which is toasted before going into the mash. Spirit is matured in charred American Oak and European Oak casks. New oak casks, although to meet the law a couple of litres of alcohol are poured in and taken out immediately, hence making a used cask…

Apart from True Blue (available in 100 Proof and cask strength versions) there is a Baby Blue, a Single Malt and a smoked Brimstone expression.

We’ll be trying a couple of interesting winners of the recent World Whiskies Awards 2013. Talisker Distillers Edition won one of the awards, just like Bernheim Original, George T. Stagg, Cutty Sark Tam o’Shanter, Yamazaki 25, Ardbeg Galileo and this Balcones True Blue (best non bourbon American whiskey).

 

 

Balcones True Blue 100 ProofBalcones True Blue ‘100 Proof’
(50%, OB 2012)

Nose: butter and popcorn galore with a heavy sweetness of maple syrup and caramel. Honey pops. Soft sawdust. Cocoa cookies. Cinnamon. Hints of dried and slightly musty flowers as well. Mouth: a lot of oak spices and heavy char. Lots of chilli pepper, hints of ginger and salt. Caramelized nuts. Hints of baked banana. The sawdust notes are now a little disturbing, it’s just planky and even a little cardboardy. Goes back to cocoa. Finish: long, sweet, spicy and again a little tannic.

It’s a unique and promising dram and I’m sure being 100% blue corn based accounts for most of its character. Even though I’m not a huge popcorn fan, I like the base flavours. The oakiness is already very high, let’s hope they manage to control that in later (older?) releases. Around € 80.

Score: 82/100

Balcones True Blue 100 Proof 3 Ruben Luyten 2013-04-09
  • Miguel Angel Blanch Lardin

    The photos I saw of the distillery show little casks, maybe 30 or 40 litres… so I don’t think they will manage to age whisk(e)y there for much longer that 3-4 years. I really enjoyed their Single Malt.

  • WhiskyNotes

    I understand they’re not a distillery aiming at aged whiskies, they’re really “contemporary” in that respect. But it would also mean that – apart from a few lucky shots due to batch variations maybe – this is it, their products are at their optimum quality already?

  • Ricardo

    I like popcorn and corn on the cob but not whiskey made out of corn. Call me narrow minded if you like, I like my whisky made out of Barley.

  • Ricardo

    BTW: Any plans to test the new Kilchoman Loch Gorm?

  • WhiskyNotes

    I’m not particularly interested in all these Kilchomans.

  • pb

    I’m new whisky enthusiast (relatively…just picked it up this year). I recently tried the Balcones Single Malt—not bad, it’s a different style of whisky. Almost made me question if it’s even a whisky (I sort of felt like that after trying the French ‘whisky’ Brenne). From a value perspective—if one is to spend $80, not sure I’d go for this one again. For that same amount or less, can’t really beat the Lagavulin 16.

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  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

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1600 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.