Monday, 18 March 2013

Whisky Discovery #346

Balcones #1 Texas Single Malt NAS (52.7% abv)
Texan Single Malt Whisky
Circa £75.00 70cl
Continuing our Balcones Whisky Mission we reach number five and their first Single Malt Whisky, aptly named 'No.1', first released in July 2011.  A unique style of malt whisky, Texan style! Made from malted Golden Promise barley imported from the UK and made in the traditional way it would have been in Scotland right up through to the distillation process. The difference being the maturation; Balcones cask selection and management alongside the Texan climatic conditions.

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Just like the Baby Blue, this whisky needs time to develop in the glass. It’s bold at 53 % abv so for me I like it with a splash of water to mellow things out. This whisky is very smooth already but with a runny syrup consistency, by watering this down its freer flowing and has a really nice silkiness to it. So after taking my time over a few hours to sample this whisky, here is what I've found. 

Nose:  Dark chilli chocolate (the chilli note is more of that of dried cayenne chilli powder with its slightly smoky aroma but without the heat), cream corn (perhaps a bit of power of suggestion creeping in here), over ripe bananas, Demerara sugar, and baby powder. In the empty glass, dry woody notes appear like the smell of tree bark. 

Taste:  Very sweet with the same taste and consistency as runny honey, very smooth velvety, and some malty notes. To balance this out all out there are bitter citrus acidity notes from grapefruit

Finish:  It is long and lingering one. First the sweetness hits you but this gets replaced in a few seconds (I’d say by the time you count to 3 elephants it’s done) with the bitter citrus grapefruit that stays until the end. I enjoyed it but personally I enjoyed the Baby Blue more. 
Dave: What I have noticed during the tasting of the Balcones range so far is the amazing depth of colour these whiskies (and distilled spirits) have. Bearing in mind that these distilled spirits can be no older than five years old as the distillery was only founded in 2008, the rich tarnished copper colour of this single malt is exceptional and considering no colouring has been added must be a testament to the careful cask selection and management

The nose starts off quite brash, almost spicy probably due to the alcohol vapours escaping quickly from this young whisky, before settling down to be rich, sweet and creamy with notes of fragrant vanilla, fruit comes by way of soft pearsmaltloaf, sweet honey, buttered granary toast and some fresh cut green hardwood. With time both liquorice and aniseed can be teased out too. In my opinion it is hard to beat a buttered granary toast note, and this is my favourite from this whisky.

The palate starts with a short spicy blast and the notes of liquorice that took a while to tease out on the nose are fairly up front on the palate. It comes across as quite malty with a maple syrup, light honey sweetness. The maple syrup, light honey sweetness is joined with butterscotch popcorn and some white pepper on the long finish which ends up quite drying.

Another interesting whisky from this new distillery, a single malt in the Scottish style but with a Texan edge. Balcones will be at Whisky Live London 2013 next weekend (22nd & 23rd March) and this is one to add to your list if you've not tried it before. Come and say hello to us too as Kat and I will be on the Balcones stand all afternoon on Saturday.

Many thanks to Johanne McInnis (@Whiskylassie) of The Perfect Whisky Match and Emily Harris (@emilymayfox) of Mayfox Communications for samples and photographs

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