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  1. #71
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    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 is "head distiller."

  2. #72
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by callmeox View Post
    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.

  3. #73
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Trey I suggest the title master distiller is being debased into a marketing term.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Manthey View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Manthey View Post
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Manthey View Post
    To be fair, Chip's title is "head distiller."
    Exactly. He's a modest guy.
    Last edited by Balcones Winston; 06-02-2013 at 22:22.

  4. #74
    Virtuoso
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    Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Balcones Texas Single Malt is an absolute treat. Great flavor profile and a generous proof. I look forward to further age and development.

  5. #75
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Manthey View Post
    What's your point?
    That there are few Master Craftsmen which I believe is evident from my post.

  6. #76
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Balcones Winston View Post
    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.

  7. #77
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Balcones Winston View Post
    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.

  8. #78
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    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!

  9. #79
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    Re: Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    Quote Originally Posted by wadewood View Post
    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?
    Quote Originally Posted by wadewood View Post
    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.

  10. #80
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    Balcones: Next stop, world domination?

    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.
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

 

 

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