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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  • WhiskyNotes: You're right, it is a refill bourbon cask. Sorry if I suggested otherwise, but I believe a single cask can never be 80% sherry and 20% bourbon like th
  • Tabrulavubeg: I've tried the 18yo Single Cask yesterday. It's really quite good, but from Ruben's conclusion "an exquisite version of this already really good dram"
  • Johan Andersson: Yes this cask is really fantastic. If you did the Cadenhead Warehouse tasting with Grant MacPherson in Campbeltown 2013 and until Open Day in May 2014

Coming up

  • Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7yo
  • Highland Park 1973 (Mackillop's Choice)
  • Kavalan bourbon cask for Belgium
  • Cardhu 18 Year Old
  • Glenrothes 1997 (Kintra)
  • Bladnoch 1992 (The Nectar)
  • Ledaig 2005 (Maltbarn)

1665 notes by Ruben

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