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timd
01-15-2013, 16:44
Big kudos to the great folks at Balcones for their recent barrel full of awards - and some awesome press in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/dining/american-malted-whiskeys-win-acclaim.html?_r=0

When I first discovered this brand about 2 years ago, I never imagined how far they'd go - and how good their stuff would be. The number of honors Chip Tate (owner/master distiller) has collected over the last 6-12 months is impressive (http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/11/02/4382417/awards-pour-in-for-waco-distillery.html)

I've had the chance to get to know Chip and visit the distillery a few times (even though it's nearly 2 hours away) over the last year or so and can honestly say he's one of the nicest, brightest guys in the booze business I've met.

Just so that this post has some practical purpose other than kudos to Chip & Balcones, here's my tasting notes on the most recent batch of Balcones Single Malt:

Nose: fruity & floral, but solid elements of baking spice. I'd never confuse this with Scotch, but clearly not a bourbon or rye. I can tell it's malt vs. corn, but just barely.

Palate: Rich, caramel bomb - loads of cloves, cinnamon and hints of tannic oak that offset the overt sweetness of the barley. Nothing cloying about it, but it's not bitter either. In many ways it calls to mind the best elements of a solid wheated bourbon, but then you get just the slightest hints of smoke and char that mingle quite differently than they would with bourbon. Mouthcoating and delicious. Very subtle tingle on the mid-palate from alcohol.

Finish: lingering and coating. The spirit won't give up. It sticks around, but doesn't overstay its welcome. Nice heat in the back of the throat (more from cinnamon or pepper than from alcohol per se).

Overall: This is what you'd expect from an American (or more importantly a Texan's...) single malt. It's rich and powerful, loaded with rich caramel, cinnamon, doughy and grainy flavors. It's not a sophisticated pour - it's got vibrancy and energy, but not to the point where a purely Scotch drinker will be turned off, but it's got enough "oomph" to satisfy even the most devout CS Bourbon drinker.

Score: 91

Keep up the great work, ya'll! And for those of you (like me...) who thought all craft whiskey was bad... Get some Balcones, you won't be sorry (oh - and MB Roland, McCarthys, & Corsair are all pretty good too).

Jono
01-16-2013, 12:36
Will have to keep an eye out for it.

MacinJosh
01-16-2013, 12:46
Agree Tim. Congrats to Chip, Winston, and the whole crew over there in Waco! Well done lads and keep up the great work!!!

mopgcw
01-16-2013, 18:09
yep, absolutely love the baby blue. great stuff.

Curtisc84
01-17-2013, 12:48
I've got Brimstone and True Blue, both good pours.

Balcones Winston
02-27-2013, 08:25
Tim, a man after my own heart.

World domination is definitely on the bucket list, but we have a series of other activities to accomplish first. Keep an eye out for our 5th Anniversary series :)

squire
02-27-2013, 09:07
Welcome aboard Balcones Winston, drop by more often.

scubadoo97
02-27-2013, 14:19
Congrats Winston, Chip and all those at Balcones. For a small distillery you guys are making a big impact

Balcones Winston
02-27-2013, 15:10
Thanks guys. We aim to please!

omgmarclol
03-24-2013, 13:14
revisting the single malt after a few months and at first i thought it was good but average. it's been sitting on my shelf with a few pours out and it looked neglected. i like it much more than i remembered. malty, pear, vanilla, and brown sugar are what i come out for me. hats of to balcones, loving brimstone and apparently loving 1 as well.

Smokewagon
03-28-2013, 10:30
I went to Go Whisk(e)y Weekend in Westborough and got to bend Chip's ear and then taste everything he brought. Went home with True Blue and Brimstone. Hadn't opened either one since then, and thought I should rectify that. Cracked into the Brimstone last night, just as good as I remember, and as good as my initial notes indicate. Balcones is doing things right. Really wanting to try the Rumble Cask Reserve, hoping they get some in at Julio's.

MacinJosh
04-03-2013, 07:05
The RCR is very nice. Such a unique and interesting pour. One that everyone should try. Blindfolded, I swear I'd peg it as a whiskey. You can definitely pick up the fig and honey notes but they're subtle. It really opens up with some air time too and changes. An enjoyable, easy sipping pour.

15085

tanstaafl2
04-03-2013, 14:24
The RCR is very nice. Such a unique and interesting pour. One that everyone should try. Blindfolded, I swear I'd peg it as a whiskey. You can definitely pick up the fig and honey notes but they're subtle. It really opens up with some air time too and changes. An enjoyable, easy sipping pour.

15085

That would be a striking improvement from the regular Rumble which I have and did not enjoy very much. I would be reluctant to try RCR, which is no doubt even more expensive (another $20 on top of the already spendy regular Rumble I think), based on that experience.

I would however happily try it out if someone else were to offer a taste...

darylld911
04-03-2013, 17:02
I'll have to give some of their products another shot - hope they are represented at a tasting opportunity in late April (or at some other point). I've only tried the Brimstone once and didn't care for it, although it was not a studied taste by any stretch (believe it was a gazebo taste last September?) Reading about them in Whisky Advocate as well as the comments here have me curious again

MacinJosh
04-10-2013, 15:17
I'll have to give some of their products another shot - hope they are represented at a tasting opportunity in late April (or at some other point). I've only tried the Brimstone once and didn't care for it, although it was not a studied taste by any stretch (believe it was a gazebo taste last September?) Reading about them in Whisky Advocate as well as the comments here have me curious again

I've said it here before and numerous times elsewhere, Brimstone is a VERY polarizing whiskey. You either love it or hate it. But there is NOTHING like it on shelves anywhere. I personally love it. It's got this mesquite, BBQ, smoke thing going on that I dig. I get lots of bacon bits as well. Mmmmm.

Regardless, it is an outlier for Balcones. None of their other products taste anything like it.

timd
04-10-2013, 15:53
It's got this mesquite, BBQ, smoke thing going on that I dig. I get lots of bacon bits as well. Mmmmm.

From the guy who doesn't eat bacon, no less!

I can't think of a higher quality distillate going in to barrels anywhere. They may not have the age that the "big boys" have on their bottom shelf offerings, but somehow Chip has managed to create top-shelf stuff in an amazingly short time.

I can't wait for the Bourbon to come out - I had a sample of the barrel 1613 it came from a while back, and it was exceptional. I recently got to try a little of the bourbon, and with an additional year's aging and some unprecedented wood management, it is going to blow people away (if you can get it...).

Keep an eye out for all the Balcones 5th anniversary stuff - Brimstone, Rumble, etc. - everything they've selected for a special release is truly... special.

Meanwhile, I think I need to go pour a glass of the liquid bacon and smoked corn treat that is Brimstone!

squire
04-10-2013, 15:57
I have a very high threshold of being "blown away" and I don't think another year of unprecedented wood management will do the trick.

timd
04-10-2013, 16:00
I have a very high threshold of being "blown away" and I don't think another year of unprecedented wood management will do the trick.

You've had a sample of the 1613 (It was never sold, I just got to try it at the distillery)?... It was already outstanding a year ago, IMHO.

It's a Bourbon - not True/Baby Blue Corn Whiskey.

wadewood
04-11-2013, 05:09
I can't wait for the Bourbon to come out - I had a sample of the barrel 1613 it came from a while back, and it was exceptional. I recently got to try a little of the bourbon, and with an additional year's aging and some unprecedented wood management, it is going to blow people away (if you can get it...).

Child please, 1 barrel of bourbon made with good % of that going to reviewers. Let me know when Balcones has real production run of bourbon.

omgmarclol
04-11-2013, 09:07
I've said it here before and numerous times elsewhere, Brimstone is a VERY polarizing whiskey. You either love it or hate it. But there is NOTHING like it on shelves anywhere. I personally love it. It's got this mesquite, BBQ, smoke thing going on that I dig. I get lots of bacon bits as well. Mmmmm.

Regardless, it is an outlier for Balcones. None of their other products taste anything like it.

i've said the exact same thing you have elsewhere in the forum, so i won't be redundant. but i really like brimstone as well. it's not something that's an everyday pour for me, but it's become something that i'll want when the mood strikes so it will always be around.

MyOldKyDram
04-25-2013, 17:14
Picked up a Rumble to lug to the sampler. Why the hell not.

Alphanumeric
04-25-2013, 22:01
You've had a sample of the 1613 (It was never sold, I just got to try it at the distillery)?... It was already outstanding a year ago, IMHO.

It's a Bourbon - not True/Baby Blue Corn Whiskey.

I'll throw in my support for Chip's bourbon. I tasted some at Binny's World of Whiskey tonight and was very impressed. Given that he only made one full-sized barrel of the stuff- as far as I understand it- he did a damn fine job.

Balcones Winston
04-29-2013, 11:28
Child please, 1 barrel of bourbon made with good % of that going to reviewers. Let me know when Balcones has real production run of bourbon.

Out of the 180ish bottles, we sent about 5-6 bottles to competition and placed very well in all of them (SF, ADI, SoA).

BTW, we don't have any tentative plans to do a full run of bourbon production. KY does bourbon well, and we'd like to let them have it. We're more interested in making Texas whisky, not just make whisky in Texas.

What was that you said at the distillery last year? "I'd buy this whole barrel if I could"

:)

Balcones Winston
04-29-2013, 11:31
Picked up a Rumble to lug to the sampler. Why the hell not.
I wish I could have gone :( I would have brought a bottle of our bourbon if I could have made it.

bad_scientist
05-25-2013, 23:42
I am utterly offended by the outrageous prices that Balcones sees fit as reasonable, and I think their True Blue is despicable, but I enjoyed their single malt a month or so ago at a barbecue restaurant in Adams Morgan. It deserved better than the disinterested hipsters who served it. Specifically, I liked the sharp pot still notes mingled with the dirty barley distillate. A good combination, though a bit sour in the finish, likely from the unconscionably young age at which it was released.

camduncan
05-26-2013, 15:21
I am utterly offended by the outrageous prices that Balcones sees fit as reasonable, and I think their True Blue is despicable, but I enjoyed their single malt a month or so ago at a barbecue restaurant in Adams Morgan. It deserved better than the disinterested hipsters who served it. Specifically, I liked the sharp pot still notes mingled with the dirty barley distillate. A good combination, though a bit sour in the finish, likely from the unconscionably young age at which it was released.

I'm not sure if you're trying to be intentially offensive or brutally honest here. Either way I'm sure Winston is happy to receive constructive criticism, but any posts deemed derogatory will be removed.

Balcones Winston
05-28-2013, 11:23
I am utterly offended by the outrageous prices that Balcones sees fit as reasonable, and I think their True Blue is despicable, but I enjoyed their single malt a month or so ago at a barbecue restaurant in Adams Morgan. It deserved better than the disinterested hipsters who served it. Specifically, I liked the sharp pot still notes mingled with the dirty barley distillate. A good combination, though a bit sour in the finish, likely from the unconscionably young age at which it was released.
Sorry to hear your experience wasn't pleasant with the True Blue. It's a drastically different profile compared to bourbon and other traditional corn whiskies so I could understand that you didn't get what you expected.

We strive to continually improve the quality of our whiskies, perhaps one day they will be more to your liking. If you're game, I'd be happy to personally taste you on our newest batches the next time I make it to DC.

If you have any questions feel free to post them here or message me directly.

Balcones Winston
05-28-2013, 11:57
Coincidentally, just as I finished writing that post Chip came into the office and handed me a sample of the new True Blue batch (13-1, 57.6%). Here's my take on it:

Nose: Explosive buttered corn, raw honey, Canadian maple syrup, cinnamon, subtle undertone of prickly pear with gentle oak and sandalwood.
Palate: Sweet roasted corn, oily texture, caramel, spice
Finish: Smooth with a combination of spice and light tannin, finishes clean with a lingering tingle on the tongue.

smknjoe
05-28-2013, 12:02
Sounds good. How much?

Balcones Winston
05-28-2013, 12:10
Sounds good. How much?

I think it's in the $60-65 range at Spec's

AGarrison
05-28-2013, 16:29
Chip came into the office and handed me a sample ....

I'm so jealous. To have a distiller of Chip's reputation just come in my office and hand me whiskey... Sigh.

Balcones Winston
05-28-2013, 18:48
I'm so jealous. To have a distiller of Chip's reputation just come in my office and hand me whiskey... Sigh.
Standard procedure when I show up to the distillery is one of us saying to the other "Hey, you gotta try this!"

weller_tex
05-29-2013, 07:44
I'm not sure if you're trying to be intentially offensive or brutally honest here. Either way I'm sure Winston is happy to receive constructive criticism, but any posts deemed derogatory will be removed.

I realize as a moderator you can put me in the penalty box, but I am calling BS here.

So, he never said anything bad about any person at Balcones..only the whiskey and the price. So does that mean we can't sarcastically criticize the product of a distiller that comes here to post? With the reputation of this board I am sure any distiller that dares to enter knows they have to have a thick skin. I am glad Winston is here, but if one wants to tell him that is whiskey is crap, one should be able to. When did this constructive criticism nonsense become a rule? You wanna go back and make all the Beam haters change their criticism of Beam so it is constructive?

BTW, this is what another moderator on this forum said of Garrison's Brothers bourbon:
"Butterscotch are you kidding I was looking around for a cat to lick it's ass to get the taste out of my mouth."

Now that was as funny as hell, but it sure wasn't constructive criticism. I have no problem with it at all and I am sure Dan Garrison maybe did not like to read it, but I am sure he got over it quickly.

SWC
05-29-2013, 08:18
Agreed. No double standards. Nothing personal was directed at the gentlemen.

Yes the prices are to high, which is why I looked at the bottles yesterday and strolled on by without regret. But the comment about the spirit's age being "unconscionable" was full on horse assery. Can we please stop criticizing distilleries for having the cahones to bring a product to market before aging it for 19 years? Good lord...

squire
05-29-2013, 08:42
Agreed, I believe there is a place for young Bourbon, the standard for straight is two years, being mindful that some of the finest Bourbon ever made was bottled as a fully mature product at 6 years of age.

Balcones Winston
05-29-2013, 11:05
Sounds like bad_scientist is the only one who is offended :D

Anyway, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I think the point to take away from Cam is that there are different ways of expressing it, some of those ways might be received better than others.

PS: What is "dirty barley distillate" I have never encountered this in my life :p

Balcones Winston
05-29-2013, 11:22
Agreed, I believe there is a place for young Bourbon, the standard for straight is two years, being mindful that some of the finest Bourbon ever made was bottled as a fully mature product at 6 years of age.
We don't make bourbon ;)

timd
05-29-2013, 11:46
We don't make bourbon ;)
You DO make Bourbon - just not regularly :cool:

And *I* am offended there's not more of it...

I know Chip & Winston well enough to not worry about their "delicate skin" - Chip is able to take just about anything you can throw at him about his spirits, and in most cases he can tell you EXACTLY what it is about the spirit that gives that impression - and in most cases it's intentional. He's got this saying: I want to create a Texas whisky tradition, not make traditional whiskey in Texas. He knows it's not for everybody - but given the scarcity of the products, it's clear plenty of people do like it!

I doubt anything Bad Scientist said did more than make them scratch their heads for a second or two...

Balcones Winston
05-29-2013, 11:59
You DO make Bourbon - just not regularly :cool:

We made one barrel, I think that hardly qualifies :D

timd
05-29-2013, 12:26
We made one barrel, I think that hardly qualifies :D

Technically, you DID make Bourbon. And we Vulcans are all about technicalities.:slappin:

squire
05-29-2013, 12:46
Winston my post was about the ages of whsky on the market, not a reference to your group. While we're on the subject though let me add I don't think a whisky has to be labeled Bourbon or Straight to be a solid product.

camduncan
05-29-2013, 15:52
I realize as a moderator you can put me in the penalty box, but I am calling BS here.

So, he never said anything bad about any person at Balcones..only the whiskey and the price. So does that mean we can't sarcastically criticize the product of a distiller that comes here to post? With the reputation of this board I am sure any distiller that dares to enter knows they have to have a thick skin. I am glad Winston is here, but if one wants to tell him that is whiskey is crap, one should be able to. When did this constructive criticism nonsense become a rule? You wanna go back and make all the Beam haters change their criticism of Beam so it is constructive?

BTW, this is what another moderator on this forum said of Garrison's Brothers bourbon:
"Butterscotch are you kidding I was looking around for a cat to lick it's ass to get the taste out of my mouth."

Now that was as funny as hell, but it sure wasn't constructive criticism. I have no problem with it at all and I am sure Dan Garrison maybe did not like to read it, but I am sure he got over it quickly.

Then maybe see my post as a timely reminder to play nice in your interactions with our industry members. We've lost far too many of them from this site because members thought it appropriate to point out every fault they (personally) perceived with a given business model, product, price or individual and I'd sure hate for us to lose another one.

I will also point out that regardless of intentions, questioning of a moderators intent in an open forum is not the best thing in the world to do. Whilst I have no personal problem with it this time, it has gotten members banned in the past. If there's ever any questions, ask in PM.

Balcones Winston
05-29-2013, 16:20
Winston my post was about the ages of whsky on the market, not a reference to your group. While we're on the subject though let me add I don't think a whisky has to be labeled Bourbon or Straight to be a solid product.
Gotcha.

And you're definitely right. Straight or not, bourbon or not, good whisky is good whisky.

weller_tex
05-30-2013, 21:36
Then maybe see my post as a timely reminder to play nice in your interactions with our industry members. We've lost far too many of them from this site because members thought it appropriate to point out every fault they (personally) perceived with a given business model, product, price or individual and I'd sure hate for us to lose another one.

I will also point out that regardless of intentions, questioning of a moderators intent in an open forum is not the best thing in the world to do. Whilst I have no personal problem with it this time, it has gotten members banned in the past. If there's ever any questions, ask in PM.

OK then the owner or the moderators need to post a rule that we need to be especially nice to industry members..otherwise you are just being arbitrary. I replied to this in an open forum specifically because I felt this is something that needs to be in the open. If the owners of this board feel like that the posters need to play nice with industry reps then that needs to be stated as a rule.

Balcones Winston
05-31-2013, 09:40
For the record, we have pretty thick skin at Balcones :D Besides, for every 1 person that makes a negative comment there are 20 more in line dying to buy a bottle ;)

timd
05-31-2013, 14:38
Well, Winston was kind enough to share the forthcoming Balcones Bourbon with me.

Daaaaaammmmmnnnn. That stuff is good. I almost hate to bring it up, it's so limited. I know Chip Tate isn't about making "bourbon" - but when he puts his mind to something, it's hard to argue with the final product.

Maple syrup, brown sugar and huge vanilla notes. Just as you think it's going to be too sweet, some nice heavy spice and tannic notes blast your palate and the whole thing integrates into this rich, warm (almost smokey) swirl that just fills your whole mouth. There is some cinnamon here - but it's more oaky/vanilla than the typical True Blue is. I don't recall the age - at least 2 years, since I know it's "straight," but the flavor and integration belies the youth.

The finish holds those vanilla and brown sugar notes, while at the same time the spice from the alcohol (it's like 62%) really holds the flavors and experience throughout the finish. Just a nice warming.

I'm not going to say it tastes like "bourbon" per se - it's still essentially a corn whiskey... But it's as bourbony as you'd like, while not being what you'd expect from a bourbon (really, that's not intentionally doing double-speak there:grin:).

The blue corn is still the backbone here - and the sandalwood, slightly smokey and rich, almost woody "house profile" is all over this one, but it's a solid 5-star pour, even at the asking price (I think it's gonna be close to $100).

For people who only enjoy a "token" bourbon profile (Beam, Turkey, Woodford) and nothing too "out there" this may be a challenge - it's corny, there's not any rye or wheat to add those extra flavors to ponder. But if you enjoy some of the most well crafted distillate available, aged in some of the nicest barrels around, this will make you very, very happy.

Balcones Winston
06-01-2013, 13:10
this will make you very, very happy.
I pondered what this might go for on BX, then I realized I wouldn't sell it at any price haha

theglobalguy
06-01-2013, 14:37
Picked up the Single Malt today, and man it's got a kick. A good kick.

I'm not wise enough to give proper tasting notes, but will say it hits me like a mix of High West Campfire and Four Roses. To echo some of timd's earlier notes, not a scotch for sure, but reminds me of some of the other regional whisky products i've had like Mackmyra from Sweden.

I've now tried the Baby Blue and the Single Malt, and both seem perfect for tasting while grilling out. keep up the good work guys!

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 10:22
I've had my interest piqued in Balcones for a while, and my local store has True Blue Cask Strength, Baby Blue, Brimstone, and Rumble, and all are priced at $60 (Baby Blue is $50). I'm most interested in the Single Malt, but I can't find it in NOLA.

I'm usually a try before I buy whiskey shopper, but if I threw caution to the wind and had to choose between these 4 options, would anyone care to recommend one?

squire
06-02-2013, 10:25
Does Dave Martin's still give out samples?

MyOldKyDram
06-02-2013, 10:26
NOT THE RUMBLE.

I've enjoyed everything else of theirs I've tried. Of those I'd go for the True Blue CS. My fave is the single malt, however.

ChainWhip
06-02-2013, 10:41
Definitely scratch the Brimstone off your list - that's a polarizing expression and would be a good one to try before buying.

I can't say I like any of them and I've tried them all except the Rumble... That said, I'll probably give it a go again to see if my palate's more amenable to the Balcones profile now.

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 10:57
Picked up the Single Malt today, and man it's got a kick. A good kick.

I'm not wise enough to give proper tasting notes, but will say it hits me like a mix of High West Campfire and Four Roses. To echo some of timd's earlier notes, not a scotch for sure, but reminds me of some of the other regional whisky products i've had like Mackmyra from Sweden.

I've now tried the Baby Blue and the Single Malt, and both seem perfect for tasting while grilling out. keep up the good work guys!
Glad you are enjoying it. Next stop: True Blue!

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 10:58
I've had my interest piqued in Balcones for a while, and my local store has True Blue Cask Strength, Baby Blue, Brimstone, and Rumble, and all are priced at $60 (Baby Blue is $50). I'm most interested in the Single Malt, but I can't find it in NOLA.

I'm usually a try before I buy whiskey shopper, but if I threw caution to the wind and had to choose between these 4 options, would anyone care to recommend one?

Rumble for $60? Wow. That's a bit up there. Is it the regular 94pr or the Cask Reserve?

I'd recommend the True Blue. As a bourbon drinker (safe to assume you are, right? lol) I think that will be closest to what you're looking for in a whisky.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 11:10
Does Dave Martin's still give out samples?

Are you referring to Martin Wine Cellar? They will let you try anything if they have an open bottle, which is usually a decent selection. I actually attribute my early whiskey education to a particularly generous employee that used to work at the Uptown store that would let me try ANYTHING back around 2004. I haven't seen Balcones there, though.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 11:11
Thanks for the responses! I'm going to try the True Blue Cask Strength and the Brimstone.

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 11:16
Definitely scratch the Brimstone off your list - that's a polarizing expression and would be a good one to try before buying.

I can't say I like any of them and I've tried them all except the Rumble... That said, I'll probably give it a go again to see if my palate's more amenable to the Balcones profile now.

We're constantly working to improve the quality of our products. We blind taste each new batch against the previous one to make sure it's better than the last! If you're game, give a more recent batch a try and see if it's more to your liking. You might be surprised :)

squire
06-02-2013, 12:59
Showing my age Trey, we called it Dave Martin's back in the old days. I went there with my Dad in the 60's when Mr. Dave was still running the place.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 16:38
Hmm...I checked the bottling dates on the stuff on the shelf and it was all from 2011. The Rumble was $50, btw. Anyway, I am going to try another place in town that opened last summer to try to get a newer bottle considering the batch variation.

wadewood
06-02-2013, 17:51
We're constantly working to improve the quality of our products. We blind taste each new batch against the previous one to make sure it's better than the last! If you're game, give a more recent batch a try and see if it's more to your liking. You might be surprised :) That's some great marketing strategy. Hey we know you thought that $45 bottle whiskey was bad, but trust us and buy a bottle again - it's great now. Do you stand behind that with a moneyback guarantee?

portwood
06-02-2013, 18:06
We're constantly working to improve the quality of our products. We blind taste each new batch against the previous one to make sure it's better than the last! If you're game, give a more recent batch a try and see if it's more to your liking. You might be surprised :)

That's some great marketing strategy. Hey we know you thought that $45 bottle whiskey was bad, but trust us and buy a bottle again - it's great now. Do you stand behind that with a moneyback guarantee?
They're taking a page out of the software industry playbook - it made Bill Gates a multi-billionaire & many of his employees millionaires, maybe it can work for Chip Tait and the rest of the balconites:slappin:

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 18:32
They're taking a page out of the software industry playbook - it made Bill Gates a multi-billionaire & many of his employees millionaires, maybe it can work for Chip Tait and the rest of the balconites:slappin:

Alright, enough from the peanut gallery. You are not really contributing to the conversation.

theglobalguy
06-02-2013, 18:35
Alright, enough from the peanut gallery. You are not really contributing to the conversation.

Agreed, and i might add i respect anyone regardless of industry and profession who strives to make the next batch/job/project better than the current one. Short of the mass produced products from the publicly traded companies where consistency is the expectation, everyone who isn't trying to get better may as well find a new career as they won't last long.

callmeox
06-02-2013, 18:53
With something as subjective as the taste of a whiskey, how does one make a batch better than the last? That's the part that sounds like marketing fluff to me.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 19:21
With something as subjective as the taste of a whiskey, how does one make a batch better than the last? That's the part that sounds like marketing fluff to me.

That sounds like the job of a master distiller to me! Although I suppose we are at the mercy of his palate to determine the direction the batches go.

squire
06-02-2013, 19:40
I appreciate their efforts to keep improving but I'm not contributing $65 a bottle to their learning curve.

squire
06-02-2013, 19:43
Trey I suggest the title master distiller is being debased into a marketing term.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 19:59
Perhaps you are right, but from what I can tell, Chip is pretty active in creating the juice, from grain to bottle.

squire
06-02-2013, 20:07
Knowing how it's done doesn't make one a master at it. Thousands of people can make a bamboo fly rod from raw cane to finished product but there are only a few masters of the craft.

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 20:18
Agreed, and i might add i respect anyone regardless of industry and profession who strives to make the next batch/job/project better than the current one. Short of the mass produced products from the publicly traded companies where consistency is the expectation, everyone who isn't trying to get better may as well find a new career as they won't last long.

Thank you.

Also, by saying we're working to improve our product I don't mean to imply that our current product is or ever was bad (it may not be for you, and that's understandable). Fact is Balcones has received critical acclaim from across the world and we literally cannot make enough whiskey to supply the ferocious demand for our product. But that doesn't mean we're just going to plateau here and not seek to better ourselves. We're always experimenting, always learning, always looking for something new and interesting to introduce to our spirits. We've actively pioneered new horizons in whisky making that have been recognized by experts all over, and we have a BIG list of ideas that we're still waiting to test out.

Trey Manthey
06-02-2013, 20:19
Knowing how it's done doesn't make one a master at it. Thousands of people can make a bamboo fly rod from raw cane to finished product but there are only a few masters of the craft.

Yes, and out of those "masters" there can be only one "head master" at any given time. And even he must battle other head masters from all of history to determine who makes the best bamboo fly rod of all time, and only that one head master will be named the Grand Head Master. What's your point?

To be fair, Chip's title (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chip-tate/9/4b7/528) is "head distiller."

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 20:43
With something as subjective as the taste of a whiskey, how does one make a batch better than the last? That's the part that sounds like marketing fluff to me.

Hard to explain short of actually bringing you in for a blending session. Picking and mingling barrels sounds easy but I promise you it's not, blending successfully requires a highly trained palate and a solid understanding of aroma and flavor chemistry. Each barrel has its own character, and when working with such a small quantity of them you have to be quite mindful of how they're going to interact. (To paraphrase an analogy from Chip, some barrels could be potatoes and several others could be salt. You add too much salt and your potatoes don't taste good anymore)

Chip has the most well-trained palate of anyone I have ever met. He can literally break the aroma components of a whisky down to the biochemical level with his nose (not an exaggeration, come to the distillery and I'll show you our distiller's nosing kit for some fun). He can then, like a composer penning multiple lines of music at once, mix barrels together in his mind as if they were individual instruments in a symphonic composition. Much in the same way that some instruments can crowd out other ones in a piece of music, the same is true for the ester profiles of individual casks that go into the blend. Aroma masking, among other phenomena, is important to consider. The desired result is something balanced that expresses the best qualities of each barrel.

As previously mentioned, a new blend is tested against the previous. This means that if for any reason the new blend is any less stunning than the last, we will start from scratch and try again until we nail it. No marketing fluff about it, this is just how we do things.

Balcones Winston
06-02-2013, 20:49
Trey I suggest the title master distiller is being debased into a marketing term.


That sounds like the job of a master distiller to me! Although I suppose we are at the mercy of his palate to determine the direction the batches go.

Chip actively shies away from "Master" distiller. He is our head distiller, for all intents and purposes.


Perhaps you are right, but from what I can tell, Chip is pretty active in creating the juice, from grain to bottle.

He created the recipes. He developed the process. He built the pot stills himself out of sheet copper. He personally tastes each barrel and mingles the batches himself. And, when he has time, he runs every other facet of the distillery from marketing to finance. To say he's active in creating the juice is a gross understatement ;)


To be fair, Chip's title (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chip-tate/9/4b7/528) is "head distiller."

Exactly. He's a modest guy.

Yeti
06-02-2013, 22:54
Balcones Texas Single Malt is an absolute treat. Great flavor profile and a generous proof. I look forward to further age and development.

squire
06-03-2013, 06:59
What's your point?

That there are few Master Craftsmen which I believe is evident from my post.

squire
06-03-2013, 07:25
Hard to explain short of actually bringing you in for a blending session. Picking and mingling barrels sounds easy but I promise you it's not, blending successfully requires a highly trained palate and a solid understanding of aroma and flavor chemistry. Each barrel has its own character, and when working with such a small quantity of them you have to be quite mindful of how they're going to interact. (To paraphrase an analogy from Chip, some barrels could be potatoes and several others could be salt. You add too much salt and your potatoes don't taste good anymore)

Chip has the most well-trained palate of anyone I have ever met. He can literally break the aroma components of a whisky down to the biochemical level with his nose (not an exaggeration, come to the distillery and I'll show you our distiller's nosing kit for some fun). He can then, like a composer penning multiple lines of music at once, mix barrels together in his mind as if they were individual instruments in a symphonic composition. Much in the same way that some instruments can crowd out other ones in a piece of music, the same is true for the ester profiles of individual casks that go into the blend. Aroma masking, among other phenomena, is important to consider. The desired result is something balanced that expresses the best qualities of each barrel.

As previously mentioned, a new blend is tested against the previous. This means that if for any reason the new blend is any less stunning than the last, we will start from scratch and try again until we nail it. No marketing fluff about it, this is just how we do things.


Winston I appreciate you taking the time to post these insights into the Balcones operation.

wadewood
06-03-2013, 07:36
As previously mentioned, a new blend is tested against the previous. This means that if for any reason the new blend is any less stunning than the last, we will start from scratch and try again until we nail it. No marketing fluff about it, this is just how we do things.

What this means is Balcones is getting closer to Chip's idea of a great whiskey. It is very well possible that what Chip likes and what you or I like is completely different and I doubt that is going to change much from batch to batch.

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 08:39
Winston I appreciate you taking the time to post these insights into the Balcones operation.

My pleasure! I think it's safe to assume the vast majority of users here have never worked in a distillery so I'm happy to provide any insights I can. It's a helluva lot different from the big operations out there, and there's more work to be done than most might think. If you guys have any questions, feel free to post them up!

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 08:46
That's some great marketing strategy. Hey we know you thought that $45 bottle whiskey was bad, but trust us and buy a bottle again - it's great now. Do you stand behind that with a moneyback guarantee?


What this means is Balcones is getting closer to Chip's idea of a great whiskey. It is very well possible that what Chip likes and what you or I like is completely different and I doubt that is going to change much from batch to batch.

I'm not sure if I've offended you or if you are just busting our balls for the sake of busting our balls. I expressed my regret for a customer's experience, and politely invited them to give us another chance. I think anything short of that would be a terrible strategy. There's no "marketing" angle to it. Just the honest truth, something that we believe in unlike so many other brands out there. As someone who is such a stickler for the truth, it's hard to figure out why you don't stand behind us more openly.

ChainWhip
06-03-2013, 08:54
Winston, I appreciate your candidness. Like I said, I'll give Balcones a try again in the future because I know a one-time taste is not enough to get to know a whisky.

I have high hopes for you little guys.

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 08:57
Balcones Texas Single Malt is an absolute treat. Great flavor profile and a generous proof. I look forward to further age and development.

Glad to hear you're enjoying it. Must be those sharp pot still notes mixed with dirty barley distillate that really set it off :D

Yeti
06-03-2013, 09:07
Glad to hear you're enjoying it. Must be those sharp pot still notes mixed with dirty barley distillate that really set it off :D

I'm friends with a few Texas Ex-Pats here in WV, and I brought the Single Malt and Brimstone to a Texas Independence Day party in March. Neither bottle survived the night.

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 09:09
Winston, I appreciate your candidness. Like I said, I'll give Balcones a try again in the future because I know a one-time taste is not enough to get to know a whisky.

I have high hopes for you little guys.
Awesome! What state are you in? WA? CA?

ChainWhip
06-03-2013, 09:12
Awesome! What state are you in? WA? CA?

WA. I've had your whisky @ Canon, Liberty, etc., here in the Seattle area. They're probably older batches so I'm going to ask for the bottle before ordering next time. A lot of the stuff on then shelves here are from 2012 so I'm waiting for stock to cycle through to the newer bottlings.

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 09:15
I'm friends with a few Texas Ex-Pats here in WV, and I brought the Single Malt and Brimstone to a Texas Independence Day party in March. Neither bottle survived the night.

http://i.imgur.com/pOhksMX.gif Cheers!

I actually just got a request on Facebook from a customer looking for single malt for her wedding. Apparently her fiancee is currently in the Air Force, his only request about the wedding planning was that our whiskey be served! :D

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 09:20
WA. I've had your whisky @ Canon, Liberty, etc., here in the Seattle area. They're probably older batches so I'm going to ask for the bottle before ordering next time. A lot of the stuff on then shelves here are from 2012 so I'm waiting for stock to cycle through to the newer bottlings.
Better yet, wait for me to come into town next and we can have a private tasting with some rarer expressions :D

ChainWhip
06-03-2013, 09:22
Better yet, wait for me to come into town next and we can have a private tasting with some rarer expressions :D

You're on! I'll bring some stuff to share.

MyOldKyDram
06-03-2013, 09:23
Private tasting? Sounds romantic.

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 09:44
Private tasting? Sounds romantic.

We can make it a threesome if you're DTS (down to sip ;))

weller_tex
06-03-2013, 10:29
For the record, we have pretty thick skin at Balcones :D Besides, for every 1 person that makes a negative comment there are 20 more in line dying to buy a bottle ;)
I can tell you do. Frankly if you are selling a product that you make yourself you are a pretty bad businessman if you don't have a thick skin. Getting all huffy or defensive about criticism has started the downfall of a lot of businesses. Many kudos to you for coming here and interacting and giving folks reasons to buy your whiskey. Still too rich for my blood but you are building a good case.

SWC
06-03-2013, 13:29
We can make it a threesome if you're DTS (down to sip ;))

Forget requiring SB members to be nice to distillers. Moderators, these distillery guys need to roped in!

Balcones Winston
06-03-2013, 15:15
http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn116/imagoodone4sure/smileys/ththWhipping_Emoticon.gif

wadewood
06-03-2013, 16:31
I'm not sure if I've offended you or if you are just busting our balls for the sake of busting our balls. I expressed my regret for a customer's experience, and politely invited them to give us another chance. I think anything short of that would be a terrible strategy. There's no "marketing" angle to it. Just the honest truth, something that we believe in unlike so many other brands out there. As someone who is such a stickler for the truth, it's hard to figure out why you don't stand behind us more openly. Neither, you have never offended me nor am I trying to bust your or Balcones balls. I'm stating my opinion which I free to do on this board about any brand; if you perceive it as one of the above, that's your opinion.

Of course it's a marketing angle. Marketing defined - the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service.

For the record and openly, I do respect what Balcones is doing. They are a true craft distillery doing everything from scratch. Everything they have sold, they have made themselves. I enjoy the Rumble, love the Rumble Cask Reserve, I think the Single Malt is the best Malt currently produced in the US.

AGarrison
06-03-2013, 17:14
Come on by Knoxville, Balcones Winston! We will treat you right to some real bbq. Just bring along plenty of samples. I'll take you over to the Sam Houston schoolhouse and we can raise a toast to Sam and Balcones.

Clavius
06-04-2013, 14:22
Hey Winston, I appreciate your posting and interacting with us here on SB. I think it's neat to have someone in the industry here. Especially someone from a micro.

Earlier in the year a member here gave me a generous sample of your Single Malt. I tasted it and was impressed with it. So I splurged not long afterwards and bought a bottle, despite the price. I have enjoyed the bottle (batch: SM12-7 date: 8/30/12) quite a bit and still have half of it left. In my verdict it's a quality whisky. I have also tasted your Baby Blue corn whiskey which I thought was different but certainly interesting. I look forward to seeing what Balcones does in the future.

Balcones Winston
06-05-2013, 10:50
Hey Winston, I appreciate your posting and interacting with us here on SB. I think it's neat to have someone in the industry here. Especially someone from a micro.

Earlier in the year a member here gave me a generous sample of your Single Malt. I tasted it and was impressed with it. So I splurged not long afterwards and bought a bottle, despite the price. I have enjoyed the bottle (batch: SM12-7 date: 8/30/12) quite a bit and still have half of it left. In my verdict it's a quality whisky. I have also tasted your Baby Blue corn whiskey which I thought was different but certainly interesting. I look forward to seeing what Balcones does in the future.
Great to hear you liked it! Sounds like those "Balconites" aren't a bunch of loons after all ;)

Glad to be here and be part of the crowd!

Balcones Winston
06-05-2013, 11:40
Guyz... Guyz! Guess what????

We're going to build a new distillery!

:woohoo::woohoo::woohoo::woohoo::woohoo:

We just closed a deal that will allow us to expand into our second building, a 65k square foot fireproof storage building just a few blocks away from our current distillery. This will boost our production capacity 1000% or more. We'll finally be able to fulfill all the orders we've got and have extra room to work on some other whiskeys we have ideas for ;)

Party tiiiiime!

Trey Manthey
06-05-2013, 11:49
Niiiiiice! Congrats...excited to see what the future holds.

MyOldKyDram
06-05-2013, 11:54
That is supremely cool for you guys. Let me offer a heartfelt congratulations and wish you much continued success! Celebrate with something special tonight, and be sure to keep the dog away this time.

Balcones Winston
06-05-2013, 12:58
That is supremely cool for you guys. Let me offer a heartfelt congratulations and wish you much continued success! Celebrate with something special tonight, and be sure to keep the dog away this time.
The VWFRR was supposed to be my celebration dram :(

tmckenzie
06-05-2013, 18:08
I see you all and us got a hell of a good write up in tasting panel.

ChainWhip
06-05-2013, 18:22
Congrats to you guys and may good fortune smile upon your endeavors.

theglobalguy
06-05-2013, 20:07
Great to hear! Look forward to both higher availability and increase in what "experiments" this allows you to carry out.

Balcones Winston
06-05-2013, 21:38
I see you all and us got a hell of a good write up in tasting panel.

I think I heard that. I haven't seen it yet.

tmckenzie
06-06-2013, 03:44
I would link it, but not smart enough. I think Tasting Panel is online.

tmckenzie
06-06-2013, 03:46
Great to hear! Look forward to both higher availability and increase in what "experiments" this allows you to carry out.

Availabilty is getting better for us, and I do not know how much Balcones experiments, but we do not do any. The wheated bourbon the article talks about of ours is a product we have been producing a certain amount of on a regular basis for close to five years.

Tucker
06-06-2013, 04:46
I would link it, but not smart enough. I think Tasting Panel is online.

http://digital.copcomm.com/i/133302/24

squire
06-06-2013, 06:31
Thanks Tucker, yes, a very favorable article.

tanstaafl2
06-06-2013, 09:23
Yep, makes me want to try that wheat whiskey. But I don't think it is bourbon, right? Unless you are doing a wheat whiskey and a wheated bourbon in addition to the rye bourbon and rye whiskey?

Not to mention the pure pot still whiskey that sounds interesting. Unfortunately not yet in Georgia as far as I can tell.

Balcones Winston
06-06-2013, 09:38
Oh yeah, I read that the other day. Love it.

TexasSpiritsGeek
06-06-2013, 11:50
Winston, where can I find a bottle of your bourbon? I'm down in Austin and no one even has an inventory item for it yet. When can we expect it to hit the shelves? I can't wait to try it!

Balcones Winston
06-06-2013, 11:59
Winston, where can I find a bottle of your bourbon? I'm down in Austin and no one even has an inventory item for it yet. When can we expect it to hit the shelves? I can't wait to try it!
We haven't shipped it out yet. I don't know yet when it will come out.

Come take a tour of the distillery, I'm sure we can find you a pour to sip on.

smknjoe
06-06-2013, 12:00
What the hell Winston? I thought you guys didn't officially make bourbon?

Balcones Winston
06-06-2013, 12:45
What the hell Winston? I thought you guys didn't officially make bourbon?
We don't. We made one barrel. It's part of our commemorative 5th Anniversary Series. You can also expect a straight single malt, a straight corn whisky and a straight version of Brimstone (called Resurrection)

Being that they are all single barrel releases, and will be at cask strength, there will barely be any to go around. We're only releasing 100 bottles of the bourbon worldwide.

squire
06-06-2013, 15:39
And the Parkerites descend on Waco.

tmckenzie
06-07-2013, 03:52
Yep, makes me want to try that wheat whiskey. But I don't think it is bourbon, right? Unless you are doing a wheat whiskey and a wheated bourbon in addition to the rye bourbon and rye whiskey?

Not to mention the pure pot still whiskey that sounds interesting. Unfortunately not yet in Georgia as far as I can tell.

The article is about our wheated bourbon, right at 5 years old, in 53 gallon barrels. We have a wheat whiskey which is not far off from that whiskey, but lighter on purpose. The thing that makes good wheated bourbon for us among a few other things is they grow a fine white winter wheat here, has a flavor like nothing else. I often wonder if S-W used white wheat. It would be out, but government label approval is slow right now. The pure pot still is an irish style, which is hard to get right now. Be a while before we hit GA. All we can do to keep the northeast in whiskey right now.

squire
06-07-2013, 04:04
Tom I read about the Pot still expression on your blog, can you tell me the proportion of unmalted barley used?

tmckenzie
06-10-2013, 03:23
Tom I read about the Pot still expression on your blog, can you tell me the proportion of unmalted barley used? 80 percent barley, 15 malt, 5 oats

squire
06-11-2013, 13:53
Thanks Tom, I wish more makers were as disclosive, it's not like we are all going to run out and copy your product. Do the oats add flavor?

TexasSpiritsGeek
06-11-2013, 15:11
We haven't shipped it out yet. I don't know yet when it will come out.

Come take a tour of the distillery, I'm sure we can find you a pour to sip on.

As a matter of fact, I'll be there on Friday.

bearmark
06-11-2013, 16:11
I attended the Balcones tasting in Dallas last week. Previously, I had purchased Rumble (interesting and good), True Blue (great), "1" Single Malt (fabulous) and had sampled Rumble Cask Reserve (great) and Brimstone (good, but I'm new to smokey whiskey) from a friend. I can tell you that Rumble has significantly improved since 4/2011 (my current bottle) and Brimstone was far better than my previous sample. The bourbon is fantastic and Resurrection may be the best thing I've tasted ever… I was extremely impressed! I'm hoping Winston delivers these special editions to Spec's in Dallas so I can get some!

tanstaafl2
06-11-2013, 16:26
80 percent barley, 15 malt, 5 oats

Interesting. From what little I have found in the past it seems Irish single pot still whiskies run about 60/40 malted to unmalted barley (could be the reverse. Information is sparse and not always the most reliable of sources). Were you able to learn much about the ratio for present day pot still whiskey and how did that influence your choice of 80% unmalted barley, if at all?

I too am curious about the role the oats play. Is that ever used in Irish SPS whiskey as well?

tmckenzie
06-12-2013, 03:55
Interesting. From what little I have found in the past it seems Irish single pot still whiskies run about 60/40 malted to unmalted barley (could be the reverse. Information is sparse and not always the most reliable of sources). Were you able to learn much about the ratio for present day pot still whiskey and how did that influence your choice of 80% unmalted barley, if at all?

I too am curious about the role the oats play. Is that ever used in Irish SPS whiskey as well? I done a lot of reading, but irish used to be a lot heavier whiskey. With more unmalted barley, they even used rye at one point too. Oats where commonly used. The last of the oats went when the new middleton plant was built and that is when Irish whiskey got a lot lighter.

Balcones Winston
06-12-2013, 08:29
As a matter of fact, I'll be there on Friday.

Well then, definitely come by, just call and make an appointment first :D

Balcones Winston
06-12-2013, 08:30
I attended the Balcones tasting in Dallas last week. Previously, I had purchased Rumble (interesting and good), True Blue (great), "1" Single Malt (fabulous) and had sampled Rumble Cask Reserve (great) and Brimstone (good, but I'm new to smokey whiskey) from a friend. I can tell you that Rumble has significantly improved since 4/2011 (my current bottle) and Brimstone was far better than my previous sample. The bourbon is fantastic and Resurrection may be the best thing I've tasted ever… I was extremely impressed! I'm hoping Winston delivers these special editions to Spec's in Dallas so I can get some!

No promises... we'll only have a handful of cases for the entire state. Literally a handful (well depending on how big your hands are:p)

timd
06-12-2013, 09:14
That Brimstone Resurrection is amazing. Really one of the more unique spirits I've tried - and it's good, too. Quite enjoyable and a huge finish.


Now... if you don't like Smoke, and the "standard" Brimstone is a bit too much for you, then you probably should steer clear of Resurrection - it's a monster.

Balcones Winston
06-16-2013, 12:26
Thanks for the mention, Chuck :)

http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2013/06/some-right-now-solutions-to-ndp-whiskey.html

FWIW the lack of chill filtering, flavoring and coloring are quite important to us. It's a guarantee that you get whisky, the full whisky and nothing but the whisky.

Balcones Winston
07-02-2013, 10:17
New still construction is in progress! Going down tomorrow to shoot some videos of the new equipment :)

squire
07-02-2013, 10:18
Please post them.

Balcones Winston
07-02-2013, 10:25
Please post them.

I will. And I will post some pics in the next day or two.

theglobalguy
08-31-2013, 12:37
Was able to sample then pull the trigger on True Blue Cask. Great split between the Baby Blue and the Texas SM. Glad I found some.

Balcones Winston
08-31-2013, 13:13
Happy to hear you like it! Always good to know we're doing well in KY :D

theglobalguy
08-31-2013, 13:17
Happy to hear you like it! Always good to know we're doing well in KY :D

TN this time....still haven't found Cask strength back home.

MyOldKyDram
08-31-2013, 13:28
Go ahead and add Rumble cask to the ones I wish I could find here!

theglobalguy
09-06-2013, 18:39
Happy to hear you like it! Always good to know we're doing well in KY :D

So i do have to ask, is the product availability state by state dictated by what the distributor wants to carry? Walked into 3 different shops near Nashville, TN to find AMPLE Texas Single Malt and the CS True Blue (both at a very reasonable $ i might add) yet my local shop in Louisville gave me the "all i can get is X" speech when i asked why no CS and apologized for being stocked out of the Texas Single Malt (silly me, was trying to be loyal and not buy everything while out of town).

dreyna14
09-06-2013, 22:11
New to the forum here and just had to post that I purchased my first bottle of Balcones Single Malt a few days ago. I picked it up off the shelf and while reading the label noticed that it was bottled on 6/18/13, my 35th Bday! In the cart it went. Now I'm just trying to decide whether to open this one or by another. Cheers.

squire
09-07-2013, 07:16
Hello dreyna, welcome aboard.

AGarrison
09-07-2013, 07:20
I havent been able to find Balcones here in Knoxville, but a friend is driving some back from Texas for me. I cant wait to see what Texas is doing with whiskey.

AGarrison
09-08-2013, 06:55
Ralfy just published a vlog on Balcones, rating it an 88 grain whiskey mark. As usual he has a very entertaining presentation filled with interesting facts and opinions. I'm getting more excited about trying it myself next week. Worth a listen if you are interested at all in Balcones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0-1mLIR9U



(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0-1mLIR9U)

portwood
09-08-2013, 07:08
Ralfy just published a vlog on Balcones, rating it an 88 ...
I like Ralfy. I've been watching his videos for 3 years and learned a lot from him. Having said that, he has major biases. He tends to get carried away with whiskies from "independent"/"craft"/"artisan" producers by giving their releases extra marks whereas expressions from large producers get marks deducted.

Jono
09-08-2013, 10:55
Usually, the lower marks are from added colorant, lower proof , poor make and inferior casks.

portwood
09-08-2013, 11:12
Usually, the lower marks are from added colorant, lower proof , poor make and inferior casks.
I agree that the latter two points should affect the score - since they obviously affect taste. However, as much as I would prefer not to have them, added color* and lower proof don't necessarily detract from the taste experience.


* there are as a many "studies" that suggest e150a has, as doesn't have, an effect on taste. The malt maniacs have published "epistles" that have shown blind taste tests have proven inconclusive.

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 12:22
So i do have to ask, is the product availability state by state dictated by what the distributor wants to carry? Walked into 3 different shops near Nashville, TN to find AMPLE Texas Single Malt and the CS True Blue (both at a very reasonable $ i might add) yet my local shop in Louisville gave me the "all i can get is X" speech when i asked why no CS and apologized for being stocked out of the Texas Single Malt (silly me, was trying to be loyal and not buy everything while out of town).
It has more to do with which states it is most popular in. Balcones is a pretty hot seller in KY.

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 12:23
New to the forum here and just had to post that I purchased my first bottle of Balcones Single Malt a few days ago. I picked it up off the shelf and while reading the label noticed that it was bottled on 6/18/13, my 35th Bday! In the cart it went. Now I'm just trying to decide whether to open this one or by another. Cheers.

That's awesome! Enjoy it!

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 12:24
I havent been able to find Balcones here in Knoxville, but a friend is driving some back from Texas for me. I cant wait to see what Texas is doing with whiskey.We are only distributed in Nashville and Chattanooga, not Knoxville or Memphis yet. TN is kinda weird, the state is split into 4 separate markets so in theory we'd need 4 distributors just to cover one state!

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 12:26
Ralfy just published a vlog on Balcones, rating it an 88 grain whiskey mark. As usual he has a very entertaining presentation filled with interesting facts and opinions. I'm getting more excited about trying it myself next week. Worth a listen if you are interested at all in Balcones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0-1mLIR9U



(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0-1mLIR9U)
He is using a really old bottling in the video... don't know where he got a hold of that. We plan on sending him one of the newer batches, along with some Brimstone since he seems so curious.

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 12:27
I agree that the latter two points should affect the score - since they obviously affect taste. However, as much as I would prefer not to have them, added color* and lower proof don't necessarily detract from the taste experience.


* there are as a many "studies" that suggest e150a has, as doesn't have, an effect on taste. The malt maniacs have published "epistles" that have shown blind taste tests have proven inconclusive.Even if there's no effect in taste, artificial coloring isn't something I want in anything I consume ;)

MyOldKyDram
09-08-2013, 12:28
Had some of the single malt last night. Had some sorghum moonshine, too. Amazing how similar the nose on the two was. This isn't meant as a bad thing, btw. That was some damned fine shine!

Jono
09-08-2013, 12:34
I agree that the latter two points should affect the score - since they obviously affect taste. However, as much as I would prefer not to have them, added color* and lower proof don't necessarily detract from the taste experience.


* there are as a many "studies" that suggest e150a has, as doesn't have, an effect on taste. The malt maniacs have published "epistles" that have shown blind taste tests have proven inconclusive.

I think the color issue is that it is artificially added and some say they do detect its influence. Others, myself included, feel that higher proof can bring more flavor, though it is a balancing act. It just comes down to personal experience and individual taste.

I will be looking for Balcones next.

Just some addl info off subject: http://whiskyscience.blogspot.com/2011/04/caramel-e150.html

"..So, caramel does affect the flavour and it is not inert in whisky, but are the quantities used in Scotch whisky industry enough to affect the overall flavour significantly? No reliable scientific fact exists, but my guess is that they probably are significant. Does caramel impair the flavour? It could, but then again in some cases caramel might even improve the taste."

Any suggestion on which Balcones to start off with?

portwood
09-08-2013, 12:40
Even if there's no effect in taste, artificial coloring isn't something I want in anything I consume ;)
I suppose you don't consume any softdrinks and you grow ALL the food you eat ... :rolleyes:

I'm not a chemist - though I play one on the internet - but I believe e150a (the stuff used to add color to alcohol) is considered natural not artificial.

Jono
09-08-2013, 13:26
Some semantics in play here - artificial in this case meant it was added to the product and is not from the product of distillation and aging.
I suppose saying it is a natural additive may be more accurate but without a real difference.

adjective: artificial
1.
made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.

"E150a (plain caramel) is "prepared by the controlled heat treatment of carbohydrates (commercially available food grade nutritive sweeteners which are the monomers glucose and fructose and/or polymers thereof, e.g., glucose syrups, sucrose, and/or invert syrups, and dextrose). To promote caramelization, acids, alkalis and salts may be employed"

Anyway, what is a recommended Balcones line up?

portwood
09-08-2013, 13:37
adjective: artificial
made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.

You mean, like whiskey, including Balcones?:slappin:

Jono
09-08-2013, 14:02
You mean, like whiskey, including Balcones?:slappin:

That is why I said artificial in this case meant it was added to the product and that "natural additive" would be more accurate but beside the point. Adding anything to enhance bourbon is forbidden. Scotch does not need colorant. Adding sugar and natural flavors, etc. would be "natural" too but I don't think anyone is advocating that.

"Caramel (the flavouring E150, not actual caramel made from burnt sugar) is added in order to make the whisky look darker and therefore give the perception that the whisky may be older than it is (and in the consumers eyes, be better than it is!)."
http://whiskyforeveryone.blogspot.com/2009/07/explain-about-additives-in-whisky.html

wadewood
09-08-2013, 17:32
He is using a really old bottling in the video... don't know where he got a hold of that. We plan on sending him one of the newer batches, along with some Brimstone since he seems so curious.

IMHO, reviewers should only buy products off the shelf that way we know they are not getting honey bottles made for reviewers only.

I recently saw several bottles of Baby Blue on the shelf that must have been from 1st release - the color was way lighter than current product.

portwood
09-08-2013, 19:11
IMHO, reviewers should only buy products off the shelf that way we know they are not getting honey bottles made for reviewers only.
That's one of the reasons to like Ralfy - he buys everything he reviews! (he does acknowledge getting some money from banner ads on his site and does trade for stuff. For example: a bottle of Still Waters Canadian single malt he reviewed recently was given to him by the distillery during a visit but he gave the distiller a bottle of scotch he brought with him from Scotland. Regardless what he gave, the distiller got the better of the deal, LOL, the stuff isn't very good, though Ralfy gave it an 81)

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 21:55
I suppose you don't consume any softdrinks and you grow ALL the food you eat ... :rolleyes:

I'm not a chemist - though I play one on the internet - but I believe e150a (the stuff used to add color to alcohol) is considered natural not artificial.
Anything that adds color to whiskey that isn't a barrel is artificial, whether or not it's definitively "natural"

And no, I don't drink soda, and I stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Granted, that's not always possible, but I do make an effort to eat fresh food when I can

Balcones Winston
09-08-2013, 22:01
IMHO, reviewers should only buy products off the shelf that way we know they are not getting honey bottles made for reviewers only.

I recently saw several bottles of Baby Blue on the shelf that must have been from 1st release - the color was way lighter than current product.
We don't send anything but "shelf" releases to reviewers. As would be the case with Ralfy. (the sort of exception is regarding the rarer single cask releases, but they are labeled as such)

Btw, you can easily tell the old bottles because a) they have a different label b) the neck is thinner on the bottle (for Baby Blue at least)

cowdery
09-10-2013, 17:59
Back to World Domination.

A friend of mine in Australia was surprised a few days ago. First he got the big Craft Whiskey issue of Whisky Advocate. Then he went to a whiskey show where Balcones, Koval, Few, and High West were exhibiting.

He had an interesting question. Do these tiny distilleries really have enough output to support distribution to Australia?

theglobalguy
09-10-2013, 18:06
On that note, is it about pride/ego/prestige that causes these guys to spread so wide and far? I remember reading about Stranahans pulling back to CO and thinking "thank you, i'd rather your loyal customers get enough than everyone get pissed off".

My local shop has been stocked out of Balcones Texas Single Malt for months. No word on when they'll re-stock. And here i am buying other brands rather than waiting (think that's what they call a zero sum game).

wadewood
09-10-2013, 20:55
Back to World Domination.

A friend of mine in Australia was surprised a few days ago. First he got the big Craft Whiskey issue of Whisky Advocate. Then he went to a whiskey show where Balcones, Koval, Few, and High West were exhibiting.

He had an interesting question. Do these tiny distilleries really have enough output to support distribution to Australia?

I live a few hours hours away from Balcones and several of their products are missing from them shelf here, so my answer is no. It's almost a self fulfilling prophecy; our products are so hard too find they must be great. Great marketing; it's worked wonders for Van Winkle.

portwood
09-11-2013, 05:24
He had an interesting question. Do these tiny distilleries really have enough output to support distribution to Australia?
The more likely answer is that when they can't find enough locals to buy into the story (due to high price and/or poor quality) they need to find other markets to survive. Sometimes they can find people with tastes that match their product or simply greater fools than the locals.

Every entrepreneur believes what they have for sale is the greatest. When they can't find people close to home that agree, they will try to find them elsewhere. On very rare occasions what they have is actually good and it takes someone far away to buy it before the locals "get it"*.


*an example of this is Forty Creek. Few in Canada (Ontario) cared for the stuff so they exported to Texas where it became popular. After a while Canadians caught on and they are now the darlings of Canadian whisky. (I've tried a few and still don't "get it" :lol:)

squire
09-11-2013, 05:56
Selling overseas is how KBD got established so the plan works.

Speaking of brands, Cutty Sark was developed specifically for the American market and that worked out pretty well.

camduncan
09-11-2013, 15:02
You can see them listed here at one of our specialty stores:

http://www.nicks.com.au/Product/Search?q=balcones

I'm not sure how the prices compare to the US, but it'll be interesting to watch and see if they get a following here. Personally, I can see myself buying a bottle of Baby Blue as a Christmas gift to myself, but that's the exception as I generally don't spend over $100 on something without tasting it first.... Others mileage may vary :)

theglobalguy
09-11-2013, 15:16
You can see them listed here at one of our specialty stores:

http://www.nicks.com.au/Product/Search?q=balcones

I'm not sure how the prices compare to the US, but it'll be interesting to watch and see if they get a following here. Personally, I can see myself buying a bottle of Baby Blue as a Christmas gift to myself, but that's the exception as I generally don't spend over $100 on something without tasting it first.... Others mileage may vary :)

Looks like 2.5-3x US pricing. Though wandering that website, that seems to be the normal price delta from here to there.

camduncan
09-11-2013, 16:22
Looks like 2.5-3x US pricing. Though wandering that website, that seems to be the normal price delta from here to there.

Yeah, unfortunately these guys pretty much go it alone from a single retail outlet. Stock availability aside, if a big multi-national like Dan Murphys or 1st Choice picked them up, they'd be bringing in container loads for national distribution (instead of a case or two for one store) and could probably drive the price down somewhat.

r60slash5
09-12-2013, 05:10
Ralfy just had some nice things to say about Baby Blue in Review 390 (2/2). He's been complimentary on the Balcones website pointing it out as a standard for others more then once. A foothold in a Manx bothy one step closer to world domination!:grin:

Ted

Balcones Winston
09-12-2013, 17:21
Back to World Domination.

A friend of mine in Australia was surprised a few days ago. First he got the big Craft Whiskey issue of Whisky Advocate. Then he went to a whiskey show where Balcones, Koval, Few, and High West were exhibiting.

He had an interesting question. Do these tiny distilleries really have enough output to support distribution to Australia?
One thing to note is that we shipped our order to Australia before the demand for our products shot through the roof (roughly 8 months ago). On top of that, it was a small order, and I don't believe we'll be sending more to Oz for a while.

Balcones Winston
09-12-2013, 17:25
On that note, is it about pride/ego/prestige that causes these guys to spread so wide and far? I remember reading about Stranahans pulling back to CO and thinking "thank you, i'd rather your loyal customers get enough than everyone get pissed off".

My local shop has been stocked out of Balcones Texas Single Malt for months. No word on when they'll re-stock. And here i am buying other brands rather than waiting (think that's what they call a zero sum game).

Continuing with the previous post, we set up our current distribution footprint before Balcones became so highly sought after. We were expanding at a relatively good pace for our production up until then, can't say we expected to get so popular so fast. Thankfully, with the new equipment we're installing at our current facility, and the new distillery now under construction, it won't be like this forever. We are truly sorry that we can't supply everyone at once, just an unfortunate (yet temporary) drawback to all the press and awards we've received.

Balcones Winston
09-12-2013, 17:33
I live a few hours hours away from Balcones and several of their products are missing from them shelf here, so my answer is no. It's almost a self fulfilling prophecy; our products are so hard too find they must be great. Great marketing; it's worked wonders for Van Winkle.

It's not marketing Wade, it's just the inevitable result of being so small yet so in demand so fast. Our production capacity is vastly limited by the size of our distillery and equipment. Our commitment to quality also impedes the flow of product as we won't release a whisky that isn't just as good or better than the previous batch.

The silver lining here though is that thanks to all the amazing attention we've gotten around the world, we were able to secure new partners in the company who are funding the construction of our new facility, which means that one day we'll be able supply all of our current markets very well, along with the rest of the planet.

Keep in mind that our output is to Van Winkle as Van Winkle is to Jim Beam. We really just don't have the equipment or enough hours in the day to make any more than we already do.

Balcones Winston
09-12-2013, 17:40
Selling overseas is how KBD got established so the plan works.
I think this is a good example of why it is important to branch out - especially to the tastemaker markets. London, Chicago, San Francisco, NYC, etc are all very important if you want to establish yourself as a global force rather than a small local brand. We have big dreams for Balcones that are finally starting to come true, and I don't think we could have done it were it not for our expansion outside of the state.

Not to say Texas isn't an important market to us, because it is one of our top priorities. Demand here is stronger than ever, it's basically an insatiable market at this point.

Balcones Winston
09-12-2013, 17:48
The more likely answer is that when they can't find enough locals to buy into the story (due to high price and/or poor quality) they need to find other markets to survive. Sometimes they can find people with tastes that match their product or simply greater fools than the locals.
Expanding to other markets is partially about survival, especially when you're just starting out. But if you want to grow, it's also a necessary step. We never planned to be small forever, and thankfully our plans are finally in motion.


Every entrepreneur believes what they have for sale is the greatest. When they can't find people close to home that agree, they will try to find them elsewhere. On very rare occasions what they have is actually good and it takes someone far away to buy it before the locals "get it"*.
I think we're a bit more modest than that :) We did take a while to catch on in Texas, but that was mostly due to the fact that people simply didn't know we existed. We didn't advertise, we relied on word of mouth, awards and press to propel ourselves into the position we're in now.

squire
09-12-2013, 17:49
I think the made in Texas image has a certain level of appeal overseas. Even the Germans can pronounce J.R. Ewing.

Trey Manthey
09-12-2013, 18:32
I was surprised to see Balcones available in many shops in Edinburgh the last couple weeks. True Blue 100, Brimstone, and Baby Blue were stocked in at least 5 shops.

theglobalguy
09-12-2013, 18:38
Continuing with the previous post, we set up our current distribution footprint before Balcones became so highly sought after. We were expanding at a relatively good pace for our production up until then, can't say we expected to get so popular so fast. Thankfully, with the new equipment we're installing at our current facility, and the new distillery now under construction, it won't be like this forever. We are truly sorry that we can't supply everyone at once, just an unfortunate (yet temporary) drawback to all the press and awards we've received.

As usual, i appreciate your candor. I just hate buying 3 hours away from home and not supporting my local shop wherever possible, or jumping on to another brand out of frustration.

onemorepour
09-12-2013, 22:29
I think the made in Texas image has a certain level of appeal overseas. Even the Germans can pronounce J.R. Ewing.

I just imagined JR Ewing being shouted at by Colonel Klink, thanks for the laugh

Balcones Winston
09-13-2013, 10:25
As usual, i appreciate your candor. I just hate buying 3 hours away from home and not supporting my local shop wherever possible, or jumping on to another brand out of frustration.
I understand your frustration. I know this isn't the ideal solution, but if you really want to get your hands on a bottle, you can search for a retailer that ships to you via www.1000corks.com

Jono
09-17-2013, 16:20
I will be picking up a bottle of Baby Blue tomorrow, hopefully, if the order comes in.
This will be my first experience with the Balcones line.

Balcones Winston
09-19-2013, 09:33
I will be picking up a bottle of Baby Blue tomorrow, hopefully, if the order comes in.
This will be my first experience with the Balcones line.
Enjoy it! Baby Blue is my best friend's favorite of the line :D

Balcones Winston
09-19-2013, 10:42
So I don't have to start a new thread, I will just mention here that we were recently named Whisky Magazine's 2014 Icons of Whisky – Craft Whisky Distillery of the Year.



This is actually the second time we gotten the award in the three years it has been running…

TunnelTiger
09-19-2013, 12:39
Congratulations! From the bottles I've purchased well deserved.

squire
09-19-2013, 16:28
Congratulations indeed.

LostBottle
09-19-2013, 18:27
So I don't have to start a new thread, I will just mention here that we were recently named Whisky Magazine's 2014 Icons of Whisky – Craft Whisky Distillery of the Year.



This is actually the second time we gotten the award in the three years it has been running…

Congrats. However, isn't "Craft Whisky Distillery of the Year" sort of like "Special Olympics"?

Balcones Winston
09-20-2013, 08:05
Congrats. However, isn't "Craft Whisky Distillery of the Year" sort of like "Special Olympics"?
If you want to think about it that way. This is one of nearly 100 accolades the distillery has received in just 5 years, including Global Distiller of the Year by the Wizards of Whisky

squire
09-20-2013, 11:28
Global Distiller of the Year has a certain ring to it.

portwood
09-21-2013, 06:03
Global Distiller of the Year has a certain ring to it.
The fact the award came from "wizards of whisky" gives it a certain ... WOW!!! factor :slappin:

TunnelTiger
10-04-2013, 06:45
Opened my first bottle of True Blue last night and man does this have some kick! Had three delicious pours.

Balcones Winston
10-04-2013, 14:04
Glad you like it :D

MtnDew
10-04-2013, 16:57
Probably coming late to the game here but have you made it up this way (WA state) or do you have plans to anytime soon? My wife and I enjoy supporting the smaller distillers (we really enjoy Woodinville Whiskeys products) and your products sound right up our alley, especially the single malt. Sadly the local stores only have a few of your releases and they tend to be quite pricey, the single malt is ~$85 after taxes! I want to order some from out of state but don't know where to start so I figured a tasting would be an awesome way to figure it out!

Hey, it does not hurt to ask, right? :)

Balcones Winston
10-05-2013, 10:42
We do need to make our way up to Seattle soon... just don't know when at this point. Probably first quarter next year.

final442
10-06-2013, 14:14
Picked up the Single Malt and True Blue last week. I had a few pours of each and still trying to figure out what I think of the Single Malt. I do think the True Blue is very interesting and tasty.

jtgraves
10-09-2013, 07:14
Last night I shared my next to last pour of the Single Malt with a friend. I just couldn't bring myself to finish the bottle off entirely yet. I'm going to miss it when it's gone.

Balcones Winston
10-09-2013, 14:37
Last night I shared my next to last pour of the Single Malt with a friend. I just couldn't bring myself to finish the bottle off entirely yet. I'm going to miss it when it's gone.

You can always come up to the distillery and get a bottle when we do our next sales event this month :)

cowdery
10-11-2013, 16:30
As I told Winston off-line, I got a taste of their bourbon and it's outstanding. Unfortunately, they didn't make very much of it, don't have any in the pipeline, and don't have any immediate plans to make it again. I bring this up because upon tasting some of their mainline products, I would say the True Blue Corn is the one bourbon fans should try. It's not bourbon but it's more like bourbon than it is like what you usually expect corn whiskey to be.

Balcones Winston
10-12-2013, 12:29
Thanks Chuck! That says a lot coming from you.

In addition to True Blue, I'd recommend any bourbon drinker also try our single malt.. it's the malt whisky for people who think they don't like malt whisky :D

And of course, Rumble Cask Reserve is equally fantastic, despite not being a whisky at all. Some have described it as something like an aged rye and an Armagnac having sex on their tongue

I guess what I'm getting at with all this is don't pigeonhole a whisky just because it's not bourbon or rye. You might be surprised at what you find.

theglobalguy
10-12-2013, 14:39
Thanks Chuck! That says a lot coming from you.

In addition to True Blue, I'd recommend any bourbon drinker also try our single malt.. it's the malt whisky for people who think they don't like malt whisky :D

And of course, Rumble Cask Reserve is equally fantastic, despite not being a whisky at all. Some have described it as something like an aged rye and an Armagnac having sex on their tongue

I guess what I'm getting at with all this is don't pigeonhole a whisky just because it's not bourbon or rye. You might be surprised at what you find.

On that note Winston i have both the Texas Single Malt and True Blue cask, and am impressed how similar they are yet each has their own strength. Just wish i didn't have to drive 3 hours to snag the True Blue Cask around here.

ChainWhip
10-12-2013, 16:40
And of course, Rumble Cask Reserve is equally fantastic, despite not being a whisky at all. Some have described it as something like an aged rye and an Armagnac having sex on their tongue



I really enjoyed the Rumble Cask but it's not easy to find around these parts.

Balcones Winston
10-13-2013, 09:34
I really enjoyed the Rumble Cask but it's not easy to find around these parts.

I don't think it's easy to find anywhere! We only produce about 100 bottles per year

tanstaafl2
10-14-2013, 08:44
I don't think it's easy to find anywhere! We only produce about 100 bottles per year

Didn't know it was quite so uncommon. I picked up one about a month ago but it was marked as the "ATL Edition" and dated from May 2012. Have been meaning to give it a try but haven't done so yet. Perhaps there will be a good occasion coming up soon in early November...

1670616707

Trey Manthey
10-14-2013, 10:01
Dang...I want some!

Balcones Winston
10-14-2013, 10:50
Didn't know it was quite so uncommon. I picked up one about a month ago but it was marked as the "ATL Edition" and dated from May 2012. Have been meaning to give it a try but haven't done so yet. Perhaps there will be a good occasion coming up soon in early November...

1670616707

Lol I've never even heard of that. But it was before I started with the distillery...

timd
10-14-2013, 11:20
Lol I've never even heard of that. But it was before I started with the distillery...

I think that was around the same time he did the True Blue bottling (that I have the scraps from) for LA - he did a couple of regional things back in early 2012, IIRC.

Balcones Winston
10-14-2013, 11:57
I think that was around the same time he did the True Blue bottling (that I have the scraps from) for LA - he did a couple of regional things back in early 2012, IIRC.
What was the barrel # for the California bottling again?

HighHorse
10-14-2013, 12:27
Didn't know it was quite so uncommon. I picked up one about a month ago but it was marked as the "ATL Edition" and dated from May 2012. Have been meaning to give it a try but haven't done so yet. Perhaps there will be a good occasion coming up soon in early November...

1670616707
Reservations made! Look forward to seeing you guys again.

timd
10-15-2013, 14:48
What was the barrel # for the California bottling again?

It was 1459, I believe.

Balcones Winston
10-18-2013, 10:13
Are we still in the "Special Olympics" now? :D


Balcones’ First Bourbon Sweeps New York World Wine & Spirits Competition with Best in Show Win

2 Gold, 5 Double Gold and 3 Category Best in Show Wins to Boot

October 18, 2013 Waco, Texas – Trail-blazing Balcones Distillery received top honors for a second time in three years with its 5th Anniversary Texas Straight Bourbon being awarded the Sweepstakes Best in Show for all brown spirits at the 2013 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. On top of this monumental accolade, Balcones Bourbon was also given the title of Best Bourbon in Show and awarded a Double Gold medal. Balcones entered seven spirits into the competition, with all seven returning Double Gold or Gold medals. True Blue 100, the newest product in Balcones’ core range, clutched Best Corn Whiskey in Show while the distillery’s unreleased Texas Rum was recognized as the Best Dark/Gold Rum in Show.

The famed Texan craft distillery won awards across its portfolio, which included five Double Gold and two Gold medals, with three entries named Best in Show for their category. The Balcones awards were named as follows:



Balcones 5th Anniversary Texas Straight Bourbon
Sweepstakes - Best in Show - Brown Spirits, Best Bourbon in Show, Double Gold
Balcones Texas Rum Special Release
Best Dark/Gold Rum in Show, Double Gold
Balcones True Blue 100
Best Corn Whiskey in Show, Double Gold
Balcones Brimstone Resurrection
Double Gold
Balcones Crooked Bourbon
Double Gold
Balcones Texas ‘1’ Single Malt
Gold
Balcones Texas Rum
Gold



Michael Bondra, Brand Manager for the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition said: "We are thrilled and amazed at how far Balcones has come in such a short time. From winning Best of Show in our first competition to this year’s unprecedented seven entries (winning) five Double Gold, two Gold and a 2nd Best In Show Award. They have a rare ability to continually bring award winning products to the market place year after year."

Chip Tate, Balcones' President and Head Distiller said: “We are beyond thrilled to have a second whisky in our portfolio named Best in Show for Brown Spirits as well as having all seven of our entries take a Gold medal to boot. Balcones has reached new heights with this prestigious win and we are very proud to have been a part of this year’s New York World Wine & Spirits Competition."

The New York World Wine and Spirits Competition is one of the largest trade events for the food and beverage industry for 12 years running and has attracted thousands of professionals from restaurants, bars and clubs, food and beverage buyers and professionals from throughout the United States and the world. Judges represent all sectors of the Industry and include USBG mixologists, educators, beverage directors, journalists, authors, sommeliers, chefs and bar and restaurant owners.

timd
10-18-2013, 10:38
Are we still in the "Special Olympics" now? :D


Congrats - that's a huge score... Glad to have tried them all.

Although, I'm surprised that Texas 1 "only" got a gold... must've been those damn scotch snobs.

Balcones Winston
10-18-2013, 10:55
Congrats - that's a huge score... Glad to have tried them all.

Although, I'm surprised that Texas 1 "only" got a gold... must've been those damn scotch snobs.
The funny part is that the Single Malt was the 2011 winner of the Sweepstakes Best In Show for Brown Spirits.

MyOldKyDram
10-18-2013, 11:05
I dunno. Is this one of those events where everyone gets a ribbon? How do the particulars of this one work? I've honestly no clue.

Balcones Winston
10-18-2013, 11:47
I dunno. Is this one of those events where everyone gets a ribbon? How do the particulars of this one work? I've honestly no clue.

There's only one Best in Show for Brown Spirits award given out.

MyOldKyDram
10-18-2013, 12:29
Well awesome then and congratulations!

Trey Manthey
10-18-2013, 13:07
I guess I'd be more excited if there were any plans for releasing some of that stuff to the general public. It's like a movie winning an Academy Award for best picture, but it never getting released to theaters or video.

wadewood
10-18-2013, 15:01
Please tell us how many spirits (total, not just Balcones) were entered into this competition and how many won awards. Without that information, and they don't publish it, the awards are worthless.

For a mere $500 per entry, please also enter into the Grand International Wade Woodard poobah awards Competition.

Balcones Winston
10-18-2013, 15:13
Please tell us how many spirits (total, not just Balcones) were entered into this competition and how many won awards. Without that information, and they don't publish it, the awards are worthless.

For a mere $500 per entry, please also enter into the Grand International Wade Woodard poobah awards Competition.
Let me know what you find out

Paddy
10-18-2013, 15:15
Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing you have a tasting in KY soon!

Balcones Winston
10-19-2013, 03:18
I guess I'd be more excited if there were any plans for releasing some of that stuff to the general public. It's like a movie winning an Academy Award for best picture, but it never getting released to theaters or video.
This is all a promise of things to come. We are cranking out these spirits in a <2600 square foot distillery Chip and his crew built from scratch basically. Just think of what we'll be able to do with a new 65k square foot facility.

wadewood
10-19-2013, 09:52
Let me know what you find out ? did you mean to post "I'll let you know what I find out". Your company entered the competition, surely it can find out this information (how many spirits entered vs. awards given)

Balcones Winston
10-19-2013, 11:42
Yeah, if I cared to I guess I could. :)

bearmark
10-19-2013, 12:13
Congrats Winston! Chip is a miracle worker and its good that the world is starting to figure that out.

By the way, nice name, Crooked Bourbon. I'm looking forward to the Special Reserve edition with an age statement of 729 days (a day shy of 2 years) at 72.9% ABV in a 729ml bottle. ;-)

It also appears that you do know where the Commonwealth of Bourbon is. :-P

TunnelTiger
10-19-2013, 12:20
Really babying my True Blue Cask Strenght and my Rumble Reserve Cask Reserve until I can get some for the bunker. These are most excellent wiskeys!

Balcones Winston
10-19-2013, 12:42
Congrats Winston! Chip is a miracle worker and its good that the world is starting to figure that out.

By the way, nice name, Crooked Bourbon. I'm looking forward to the Special Reserve edition with an age statement of 729 days (a day shy of 2 years) at 72.9% ABV in a 729ml bottle. ;-)

It also appears that you do know where the Commonwealth of Bourbon is. :-P

Thanks buddy! We are pretty stoked ourselves. I just looked at the awards again and we dominated the double gold awards, taking 5 out of 28 awarded! :eek:


Really babying my True Blue Cask Strenght and my Rumble Reserve Cask Reserve until I can get some for the bunker. These are most excellent wiskeys!

Gotta love RCR. What a gorgeous spirit.

wadewood
10-20-2013, 09:43
Yeah, if I cared to I guess I could. :)Ignorance is bliss.

Balcones Winston
10-21-2013, 13:44
It's not about ignorance. At Balcones, we hope that Texas whisky lovers will rejoice and take pride in our success. I could see your point if we had just won a couple of bronze and silver medals, but the fact is we took double gold and gold for everything we entered, and our bourbon beat every other brown spirit in the competition - which is no small feat. (complaint that we didn't make enough enters stage left) Maybe that doesn't mean much to you, but it means a lot to us, and a lot to whisky lovers all over Texas and the rest of the world who have gone out of their way to congratulate us on our achievements. It's also worth mentioning that it's thanks in part to those awards we were able to secure the financing to build our new distillery.

For what it's worth, roughly 260 spirits were entered. If you want to do the rest of the math, please post the results here. The full awards list is at http://www.nyworldwineandspiritscompetition.com/

wadewood
10-21-2013, 15:04
For what it's worth, roughly 260 spirits were entered. If you want to do the rest of the math, please post the results here. The full awards list is at http://www.nyworldwineandspiritscompetition.com/

I count 130 award winning spirits, so 50% win awards. I guess that's better than the San Francisco world spirits competition, where the last time I checked more spirits won awards than were entered (due to spirits being entered in more than 1 category). I think these awards shows are a complete farce and that they are basically pay for play - really nothing more than paid advertisement. My distaste of these is nothing to do with Balcones; well other than the fact I think you should stop playing the game. I have called plenty of others out for exact same thing and will continue to point out to others how worthless these awards are. The game is the fact that one can hang this on bottle or place sticker on bottle and consumers are gullible into thinking it won a gold medal it must be good. So my despise is for the players and for the game.

Balcones Winston
10-21-2013, 21:32
You may disagree with the premise behind these events but let's not forget you have never entered one of these competitions, never mind won an award for making whisky. Which is probably why you don't understand their value. Having interacted with these organizations personally, and working for a distillery on the receiving end of some pretty impressive accolades, I can personally vouch that they are worthwhile to participate in. If anything they are validation that we, a tiny craft whisky distillery tucked under a bridge, are doing something right, even faced up against some of the big players in the industry. Obviously it is a form of marketing for a supplier, who wouldn't advertise the fact that a panel of respected judges gave their creation an award? We're not trying to dupe "gullible" consumers into thinking our product is good, they are fortunately smart enough to make the judgement for themselves. Our aim is to be able to say "We made this, these people said it was really good, we hope you like it too" which you could argue is a more modest approach than "We made this, it's really good, trust me, buy it." It seems to be working for us so far.


I must stress to you the competition itself is not a farce. The judges are real, they have relevant experience and stature in the industry, and the evaluation process has strict rules and standards. Furthermore, the NY WWSC is done out in the open at a trade show so it is 100% transparent. You are free to not respect the results, but we do and so do many, many others, so it's unfair to say they're worthless.


Also, it's a misleading to point out that 50% of the entries won awards. They are not all equal. Bronze, Silver and Gold account for 80% of those, while Double Gold only represents the top 10% of all spirits entered. Finally, <1% of entries received the top honor: Best in Show - Brown Spirits :)

cowdery
10-22-2013, 00:12
Wade likes to be the turd in the punchbowl but he's right about awards. It's nothing against Balcones, you know how good your stuff is, that's not the issue. The problem is that there are so many competitions giving so many awards that it's impossible for the consumer to know what any of it is worth. I used to judge in competitions for Whisky Magazine, ADI, and others. I no longer do. For one thing, it's a lot of difficult and time consuming work with no benefit to me, and the quality control is zero. But advertiser-supported media love them because advertisers love them, especially when the sponsors are generous with the awards.

All the children are above average.

Then there are the competitions that seem to exist only for the glorification and probably enrichment of the organizers, or so they hope. Again, their customers are the people who pay to enter and to satisfy their customers they give lots of awards.

I wouldn't have brought up this subject in this thread but since it's here and people seem to be dancing around it, I thought I'd jump in and lay out the dilemma as I see it.

timd
10-22-2013, 07:11
Wade likes to be the turd in the punchbowl

I love Wade, but I LOL'd. He's that kid with a stick looking for a beehive (or a bear) to poke...

p_elliott
10-22-2013, 08:05
I'm going to have to side with Wade and Chuck on this one. I think the story of Chuck doing one of these award things and HW winning distillery of the years award against his protest is the best example. Chuck care to tell that story again? even though I told the punch line.

SMOWK
10-22-2013, 09:45
I agree with both sides. The competitions are worthless to most of us here, but that's not the point of the competition. As an enthusiast, you would be stupid to follow these awards and ratings religiously. And as a producer, you would be stupid not to participate.

HighHorse
10-22-2013, 10:58
Wade likes to be the turd in the punchbowl but he's right about awards. It's nothing against Balcones, you know how good your stuff is, that's not the issue.

I hear what you're saying ... but it is the issue on this thread about Balcones. Is this really the thread to dump on an awards program that some folks don't agree with? Or, is it just a platform of convenience? I'd love to see the awards program in a different thread so it can be kicked around without besmirching the good name of Balcones.

wadewood
10-22-2013, 11:38
I hear what you're saying ... but it is the issue on this thread about Balcones. Is this really the thread to dump on an awards program that some folks don't agree with? Or, is it just a platform of convenience? I'd love to see the awards program in a different thread so it can be kicked around without besmirching the good name of Balcones.

Well the Balcones rep posted about the awards in this thread, so I think it makes it fair game and on topic, but I would have no problem if a mod decided to split off into separate thread.

Balcones Winston
10-22-2013, 12:33
Well the Balcones rep posted about the awards in this thread, so I think it makes it fair game and on topic
Maybe it's a "relevant" topic but it is not the discussion at hand. We take pride in our accomplishments, I merely wanted to share that with those I consider friends and acquaintances on here. It was not my intention to spark a debate about the validity of award shows, that was your initiative.

At Balcones, we are fortunate to have been the recipient of many prestigious awards from institutions all over the world. If you don't like it, that's your right and I respect it, but let's keep this thread positive and constructive.

White Dog
10-22-2013, 15:10
The thread should be constructive, but positive? Is this the Kiss Balcones Ass Thread? Maybe Wade's spot on observation deserves another thread, but Winston brought up those silly award, Wade didn't.

LostBottle
10-22-2013, 15:30
Are we still in the "Special Olympics" now? :D

After reading the last couple pages, it sure sounds like it...Salt Lake City bid bribery style.

In all seriousness though, Rumble Cask Reserve is pretty tasty, I wish it was actually available.

timd
10-22-2013, 15:41
The thread should be constructive, but positive? Is this the Kiss Balcones Ass Thread? Maybe Wade's spot on observation deserves another thread, but Winston brought up those silly award, Wade didn't.

I don't think that's what Winston is saying (i.e. "kiss our ass"). I know him well enough to know that's NOT what he wants. All the Balcones folks have thick skins and enjoy constructive, if challenging, criticism.

The issue is that it looks to me like this tirade is focused on Balcones for entering & marketing these awards - when almost every other distiller does the same.

If awards competitions are such a drain on our collective well being, then by golly somebody who cares that much should start a new thread focused on just that: how awards and medals are killing the liquor industry. But this doesn't feel constructive, at least not to me... it seems like a beating that isn't warranted targeted at Balcones specifically.

More concretely, if you think specifically BALCONES should be above this, and not be part of these competitions, then why? Explain how it hurts their reputation and negatively impacts their marketing. This site's audience is less than 1% of the whiskey buying world, we are in the know and "get" that these competitions aren't nearly as "pure" or "objective" as we would like them to be. But they are a valuable part of the marketing strategy for liquor brands (and many other industries do it too). If there wasn't a value from a sales perspective among average consumers, these brands wouldn't pay to participate nor spend the money to attend.

But what I'd really like someone to explain to me is how winning best in show of 250 other spirits is a bad thing for the brand or not worthy of crowing about? The concept of competitions as they are now may be anathema to some people, but it still seems like legit bragging rights in this specific circumstances (IMHO).

Peace.

smokinjoe
10-22-2013, 16:59
This thread has pretty much been a running promotional piece for Balcones since day one. But, SB is a medium where the content cannot always be controlled to one's liking. You gotta take the good with the bad, man. There is no reason that this subject shouldn't be open to scrutiny, once it was promoted by the Balcones rep.

wadewood
10-22-2013, 17:31
For the record (and again because I have posted this before) Balcones makes some great products that I really enjoy such as their Single Malt, the Rumble (especially the Cask Reserve Version) and the True Blue.

I think when a distiller's rep (or really anybody) posts about the awards some spirit won in an open forum, then it's also open to discussion on the validity of said award. The same if they post about some blog review or whiskey magazine review, then questioning the bias of blogger or reviewer is fair game. I'm not breaking any sb.com rule. If this is positive or constructive is in the eyes of the reader and Winston/Balcones does not get decide what gets posted here.

It also needs to be pointed out that 5 of the 7 awards they won are for products not really available. The Best in show award went to a product they made 1 barrel, probably made under 175 bottles, and of that and I suspect 20% of that went to reviewers and award shows. There is no more of this product in near future to be released. Balcones Texas Rum? I've never seen that at retail. Texas Rum Special Release - I don't even see a COLA label approval for that, which calls into question what are they turning into judges. Crooked Bourbon? again no COLA label and never been at retail. Brimstone Ressurection - well at least there is a COLA approval, but I've never seen it. So are they gaming the awards be picking honey barrels to turn into judges? I think that's a legit question. If the big KY producers picked single honey barrels to turn into awards shows, I'm sure they would be winning many more awards and I'm also sure we would calling it out as BS. A craft distiller should be judged the same.

WhiskyRI
10-23-2013, 05:38
Very interesting thread. I actually got to hold a bottle of Balcones Bourbon on a trip to NY a few weeks back, unfortunately my wallet wasn't big enough to take the bottle home - the retailer wanted $350 for the bottle. Not sure what the wholesale price was but was wistful that I wouldn't be able to try such a rare commodity. Glad to see the recognition from the industry and your peers. As to the whole awards industry, whisky is in a much better place than the wine industry. And as Winston pointed out Best in show goes to a tiny percentage of entrants. Looking forward to what develops with Balcones in the new distillery - I think what many critics of craft distillers forget is while the craft distillers in general make a lot of mistakes I think they have dramatically shorter learning curves (at least the ones that survive) so their products can rapidly change (and often improve) in just 6, 12 or even 18 months. If price and consistency was the most important thing to me I'd still be drinking Budweiser and jim beam (not that JB is bad product per se). As a consumer I like the variation and different flavor profiles - some of them aren't for me - but some of them are and they expand my palate. I don't love Brimstone but I do find it interesting and love sharing it with people. And @Winston thanks for engaging so fully on the board. Look forward to sharing a dram with you.

TunnelTiger
10-23-2013, 08:08
+1, well said Whisky

Balcones Winston
10-23-2013, 09:49
Very interesting thread. I actually got to hold a bottle of Balcones Bourbon on a trip to NY a few weeks back, unfortunately my wallet wasn't big enough to take the bottle home - the retailer wanted $350 for the bottle. Not sure what the wholesale price was but was wistful that I wouldn't be able to try such a rare commodity. Glad to see the recognition from the industry and your peers. As to the whole awards industry, whisky is in a much better place than the wine industry. And as Winston pointed out Best in show goes to a tiny percentage of entrants. Looking forward to what develops with Balcones in the new distillery - I think what many critics of craft distillers forget is while the craft distillers in general make a lot of mistakes I think they have dramatically shorter learning curves (at least the ones that survive) so their products can rapidly change (and often improve) in just 6, 12 or even 18 months. If price and consistency was the most important thing to me I'd still be drinking Budweiser and jim beam (not that JB is bad product per se). As a consumer I like the variation and different flavor profiles - some of them aren't for me - but some of them are and they expand my palate. I don't love Brimstone but I do find it interesting and love sharing it with people. And @Winston thanks for engaging so fully on the board. Look forward to sharing a dram with you.
What retailer was this? PM me if you want

cowdery
10-23-2013, 16:37
The last time I judged ADI was in May of 2010. Rather than repeat that story here I'll just provide links to the two parts of it here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2010/05/2010-adi-best-craft-american-whiskey.html) and here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2010/05/some-thoughts-on-adi-craft-american.html).

Because of our past issues, I should say that I had no issue High West itself in this matter. They did everything correctly. My issue was, and is, with ADI.

I concluded that post with the following statement, which I still believe is true about ADI. "American Craft Distilling is a young movement. In being critical, I'm not trying to strangle the baby in its crib. On the contrary, I'm trying to convince the baby not to commit suicide."

MyOldKyDram
10-23-2013, 16:47
Does LostBottle lead the forum in self deletions?

BAO
10-23-2013, 19:29
I'll admit to being a noob Balcones fanboy. I dont want to pile on but the award is nice, but nothing to write home about. 7 other whiskeys out of the 130 awarded spirits, with only two others being straight bourbons. I'm sure there were a couple other straight bourbons that didn't get awards, but thats a totally unfair fight for the other types of spirits lumped into the category with straight bourbon.

Back to being a fanboy. WANT WANT WANT that Balcones Bourbon.

White Dog
10-23-2013, 20:51
I'll admit to being a noob Balcones fanboy. I dont want to pile on but the award is nice, but nothing to write home about. 7 other whiskeys out of the 130 awarded spirits, with only two others being straight bourbons. I'm sure there were a couple other straight bourbons that didn't get awards, but thats a totally unfair fight for the other types of spirits lumped into the category with straight bourbon.

Back to being a fanboy. WANT WANT WANT that Balcones Bourbon.

So if everyone loves the Bourbon, why aren't they making more?? Winston?

ChainWhip
10-23-2013, 20:54
So if everyone loves the Bourbon, why aren't they making more?? Winston?

That's my same question on the Rumble Cask Reserve

nivto
10-23-2013, 21:22
That's my same question on the Rumble Cask Reserve

It is a good question... the Rumble Cask Reserve and regular Rumble are leagues apart from one another. The cask reserve deserves to see a regular spot on the shelf.

Balcones Winston
10-24-2013, 09:52
We have a core portfolio to support. Though we'd love to have more of our bourbon and RCR available, we simply don't have the capacity right now. You can be certain that we'll have many more goodies to share once the new distillery is built.

chrisg
10-24-2013, 09:57
When does the 5th Anniversary bottling come out?

Balcones Winston
10-24-2013, 12:20
The bourbon was released in Texas in August, and hit Chicago and NYC last month. Most of the bottles went straight to on premise accounts.

We just bottled our 5th Anniversary Brimstone and that will probably be sold directly from the distillery. There's a 5th Anniversary Single Malt in the works as well.

theglobalguy
10-25-2013, 16:56
The bourbon was released in Texas in August, and hit Chicago and NYC last month. Most of the bottles went straight to on premise accounts.

We just bottled our 5th Anniversary Brimstone and that will probably be sold directly from the distillery. There's a 5th Anniversary Single Malt in the works as well.

What was the retail of the bourbon in the US? The UK website selling it works to about $190 with shipping. Hell of a novelty buy....but DAMN!

mbroo5880i
10-25-2013, 17:36
I have looked for Balcones solely because of what I have read of this board and because Winston is pretty up front about what they are trying to do. I am not sure that I have ever seen it on the shelves in Indiana. I keep looking. I would really love to find the bourbon.