One Texan, three spectacular American Whiskeys
Whiskey royalists say real American Whiskey comes from Kentucky. That may be true, but the Lone-star fellas sure as heck aren’t sitting idly and will make the big boys sweat on their throne. Down in Waco, rivers of top-notch hooch are flowing: rugged Bourbons, delicious Single Malts, and liquid redefinitions of what an American Whiskey can be.
Balcones distillery is a small establishment with big ideas and an army of awards. The fact that their Single Malt received over fifty accolades should be enough of a reason to consider treason and declare it the true American Whiskey. We’re not here to incite riots – we love the Kentuckians and the Tennessean as much as the next guy, but America is big enough for more than three Whiskey kingdoms.
This box brings three princes: a fantastic Baby Blue (made from blue corn, no relation to Heisenberg’s ice), the overachieving Single Malt magic, and a lit 100% Rye Whiskey. The trio of bottles tells a story of ingenuity and love for the craft dating back to the frontier times. The Spirits are of different characters, but they belong to the same Tejano family.
If Texans, god forbid, decide to become independent, they already have all the key pillars of independence: great manners, wonderful country tunes, superb food, and now spectacular Whiskies. We can hear Kentucky shuffle nervously as you try these awe-inspiring Spirits and become a part of a Texas Whiskey Big Bang that is happening right now.
1) Not all American Whiskey is Bourbon. It also includes rye, rye malt, malt, wheat and corn Whiskeys. American Whiskey is made of a mixture of various grains following a particular formula called a mash bill. Bourbon’s main ingredient is corn, while the components of rye, wheat and corn Whiskeys are quite obvious.
2) American Whiskey was originally mainly made of rye, joined by other types when the colonists started distilling domestic corn. The settlers said the corn was a gift from the Native Americans and the rest is history.
3) Baby Blue Whiskey is made from blue corn, also known as Rio Grande Blue, which grows in Mexico and the Southwestern US. It has a sweet flavor and is commonly used to make tortillas. The richness and oiliness bring round nuttiness, roasted overtones and refined complexity to a Whiskey. It's a true Texas original and we can talk about terroir.
4) For a long time, Texans had to look outside their borders for a good dram of Whiskey. Surprisingly, the greatest hit in Texas isn't Kentucky Bourbon, but a mild-tasting Canadian Whisky. When Chip Tate and Stephen Germer began making Balcones' first Whiskey, they decided to make corn Whiskey - namely from the endemic blue corn.
5) Prohibition shut down the majority of booze-making establishments in Texas. The first post-prohibition distillery was founded in 1995 and only 10 new manufacturers popped up between then and 2008. Today, however, there are more than 100 active licenses in the Lone-Star State.
6) Maturing Whiskey in Texas is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the angels are greedy due to the climate and take a larger share than in other parts of the country, but on the other, the intense maturation environment means more wood character in shorter time. It's quality over quantity in Texas.
7) The idea of "Texas Whiskey" is relatively new and the big Texan wave is yet to come when the process of maturation is complete for the first batches. There is a lot of experimentation and Mark McDavid of Ranger Creek believes "Texas Whiskey" is a big concept with many definitions.