Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky

American Whiskey Review #41: Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky

Distillery: Balcones

Region: Texas

Price: $5.50 for 50 mL mini.

ABV: 53% Cask Strength

Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon

Age: Minimum of 22 Months.

Color: 1.5, Auburn/Polished Mahogany.


Nose: (according to the wife) There’s so much caramel here that it smells like a caramel macchiato. There’s a bit of oak as well before you get a lot of Fall smells. There’s even a bit of pumpkin spice latte that pops up.

Palate: There’s a strong note of a slightly tangy fruit. It’s some kind of a berry that I can quite place; blackberries, huckleberries, and juniper berries all came to mind at one point or another. With a little bit of water, some vanilla cream pops up as well.

Finish: Short. There’s a bit of cream, a bit of oak, and a bit too much ethanol. With water, the ethanol goes away somewhat and a burnt sugar note comes out.

Conclusion: I have to wonder what it is about American Single Malts and having lots of berry notes packed into them. I’ve had a few and they all have berry as the dominant note in the palate. Maybe the ones I’ve tried are using barley from the same source? In any case, this single malt from Balcones starts off with a really lovely nose. The caramel macchiato and pumpkin spice latte smells just set expectations high. Unfortunately, the rest of the whisky doesn’t quite deliver. It’s really straightforward and there’s a bit too much ethanol towards the end. The youth of the whisky surely doesn’t help and I’d be very interested to see how this would’ve turned out with a few more years in the barrel. Not bad as a whole, but not something I’d go out of my way to get.

Final Score: 75.

American Whiskey Review #41, American Single Malt Review #3, Whisky Network Review #259


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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