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Balcones Rye Whiskey

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Balcones Winston

Nice... I just went from "enthusiast" to "veteran member" thanks to this thread ???? NOW will StraightBourbon take me seriously ????

 

edit: I guess emojis are broken

Edited by Balcones Winston
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lcpfratn
Nice... I just went from "enthusiast" to "veteran member" thanks to this thread ???? NOW will StraightBourbon take me seriously ????
 
edit: I guess emojis are broken

There are a lot of very knowledgeable and experienced folks on this forum. Many who have been drinking bourbon for far longer than you have, so you can’t expect to come on here and imply that y’all know how to do it better without getting a little push back. I’ve taken you seriously, and will likely buy a bottle if I see one...not because I think it will be any better than some of the stuff from the big boys, but because I think you made some compelling arguments (I don’t necessarily agree with all of them) and the prices aren’t ridiculous.

I’ve been very supportive of Woody Creek and AD Laws on this forum, although AD Laws probably won’t continue to get my support unless their pricing comes down or their age/quality goes up with improved quality and similar pricing. I’m not currently a fan of Rabbit Hole because their marketing is mostly BS. I’m not a fan of Peerless because they’re ridiculously overpriced. Rock Town probably hurt themselves with the experimentation with small casks, etc.

Long story short, you’ll need to have a thick skin to come on this forum espousing how good young whiskey can be because you’ve figured out a better way to do it. Proof will be in the tasting, and many of the members here have heard it all before. I’m willing to give your products a shot because you’ve made the pricing reasonably accessible, but don’t expect everyone to buy into the sales pitch without convincing evidence.

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BigRich


you’ll need to have a thick skin to come on this forum...


No kidding :)

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Charlutz
On 6/3/2018 at 2:05 AM, flahute said:

What size barrels are you using?

Great, open discussion fellas. I appreciate the back and forth. Steve’s question about barrel size is still pending and of interest to me too. Thanks!

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EarthQuake

This is an interesting conversation. Winston, I am glad that you are here and engaging with the community, and it's good to see that you have passion, confidence and believe in your product. If you didn't there would be no reason to make it! That said, we're an honest bunch here and are not going to sugar coat things, so do try to take it in stride.

 

While age =! quality, it's exceptionally rare for young whiskey to taste as good as more traditionally aged american whiskey, by this I mean 4-10 years or so. All of my favorite whiskies are in the 6-25 year range. I prefer a drier flavor profile (one might call me a termite). While the correlation between age and quality is not exactly linear, it certainly does exist. There is no cheat for proper aging and well made base spirit. Even if you don't like 20 year old oak bombs, it would be asinine to suggest that on average, 2 year whiskey is as good or better than 10 year - I'm not saying that anyone has said this, I'm simply trying to put the age vs quality thing in perspective. I mean, I've yet to have a craft spirit that was half as good as a $28 bottle of Eagle Rare.

 

I've had a lot of 3 year and younger craft whiskey, it all tends to taste like... young craft spirit. That is to say too grain forward, rough, thin, lacking complexity and interest, often with many off notes, and when aged in smaller barrels, simultaneously underaged and overoaked.

 

I've only had one whiskey from Balcones, the Baby Blue. This was extremely corn forward with seemingly little barrel influence, I guess that was the goal, but it didn't make a for particularly good whiskey. It was pretty good by craft whiskey standards, which is to say it was drinkable and not entirely unpleasant, which is more than I can say for most. If someone offered me a pour of any of Balcones' products I would certainly try them, I just won't be searching out a bottle myself. Saying all that, I hope you guys continue to develop your products, and maybe one day you can produce something as good as the entry level stuff from big factories such as Buffalo Trace's Ancient Age or Old Charter. This might seem like a dig, but I genuinely think this would be a commendable achievement, even the bottom shelf stuff BT puts out is rather good.

 

I agree with one of the previous posters that said craft whiskey distilleries are (or at least should be) starting to realize that making whiskey is a lot harder than beer. You can't turn a quality whiskey around in 3 months, or even 3 years, so the mistakes take a lot of time to correct. I certainly have a lot of respect for anyone who is attempting to do this. Personally, my guess is that any craft distiller that isn't planing for the future and laying product down in 53 gallon barrels for 5-10 year old releases simply won't be around in 10 years.

 

But who knows, maybe there will always be a fresh supply of younger folk and hipsters who think local, small batch and grain forward are the most important aspects of a good whiskey, rather than you know, it tasting good. I certainly was among them when I started getting into whiskey. I do think these things are important to some degree (I try to buy local, quality food as often as I can), but not at the expense of it being enjoyable to drink.

Edited by EarthQuake
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Harry in WashDC

Well, every once in awhile, I pull out my last remaining Balcones True Blue 100 proof (several purchased back when Balcones and Winston and an other Balcones person were featured/discussed on these pages) and sip that wonderful burnt buttered popcorn.  I haven't found a major distiller that sells a comparable product.

 

Nice discussion, you all.  It reminded me about the mostly full B-TB-100 sitting back there in the dark.

 

In defense of the crafters: I think it is good for the industry as a whole to have some upstarts poking at "tried and truisms" like barrel entry proof, age/rick temp variables, etc., if only so geeks like us can test our own knowledge, and preferences, about such things.  I know that when I want something complex, balanced, satisfying, unsurprising, and FAMILIAR, I reach for a time and palate tested standby instead of something crafty.  Now, excuse me while I go sip some more burnt buttered popcorn.

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kaiserhog
On 6/2/2018 at 6:32 AM, kevinbrink said:

I'll be out of town on Wednesday but thanks for the heads up, I would certainly make the stop if it were a normal work day for me since Astor is a somewhat regular stop for me. I also understand the economics of business, and the ways in which the better craft distillers try to differentiate themselves with their process. I don't always find that the end result of that process leads to a better product but it certainly find that it generally leads to a different experience. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I actually quite like Rumble, it's a quality unique product that is emblematic of the best of what Craft distillers bring to the table in my opinion and because of that the idea of value is much more easily reconcilable, I would imagine that for the producers having an identifiable spirit (Bourbon, Rye, Malt Whiskey) is a much easier sell to the average consumer. The struggle for me, however, is definitely with these traditional products, my expectations of what I'm looking for in those products, and most of all the overwhelming similarity in many craft whiskeys that seems to come from a combination of small often kiln dried barrels and maybe to some degree pot stills since truth be told I don't particularly care for Woodford all that much.  For some reason the pot still thing doesn't apply to Malt whisky for me which may have something to do with expectations. I'm not completely craft averse, truth be told I have been enjoying a bottle of St. George Baller the last few nights which I think is fantastic and extremely unique. Regardless like I said I do look forward to trying your product.

Balcones Winston is right about the climate in Texas, the summers are a lot longer there than Kentucky.  I have tried Balcones Baby Blue, it is fine, it did taste just like Glenfiddich 12 year old to me though.  I would also put in a plug for Rock Town Straight Arkansas Bourbon made in Little Rock.  I believe they have a 4 year old bourbon for around $35.  It is good.

 

Kevin, my brother in law lives in Lower Manhattan, close to Dead Rabbit and Dingle Whisky Bar, and I always try to make it up Astor Wines and Spirits when visiting. It is a wonderful place.

Edited by kaiserhog

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kaiserhog

Rock Town also makes a straight Rye that is 88% Rye and 12% Malted Barley.  It is not bad either.  It too, is in the $35 range.

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kevinbrink
8 minutes ago, kaiserhog said:

Balcones Winston is right about the climate in Texas, the summers are a lot longer there than Kentucky.  I have tried Balcones Baby Blue, it is fine, it did taste just like Glenfiddich 12 year old to me though.  I would also put in a plug for Rock Town Straight Arkansas Bourbon made in Little Rock.  I believe they have a 4 year old bourbon for around $35.  It is good.

 

Kevin, my brother in law lives in Lower Manhattan, close to Dead Rabbit and Dingle Whisky Bar, and I always try to make it up Astor Wines and Spirits when visiting. It is a wonderful place.

Having worked within a few blocks of Astor I'm more familiar with it than I likely should be. I'm glad that other people are finding things they like in craft whiskey's but there are few I have found truly enjoyable. 

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LCWoody

I have a few words to say about Texas Whiskey...…  "Climate Control Rickhouses"....

Its to damn hot down here.

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flahute
On 6/4/2018 at 9:03 AM, Balcones Winston said:

NOW will StraightBourbon take me seriously ????

I take you seriously. I'm just a nerd with questions.

I respect a lot of what you guys do in terms of your choices regarding grains, fermentation, barrels, and pricing. I'm just not convinced it results in something that good at 15 months. Proof is in the pudding of course and I'm more than willing to try it and find out for myself whenever it gets out here to Washington State.

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PaulO

Winston, have you ever considered bottling some of your products in 50ml bottles?  

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Balcones Winston
On 6/5/2018 at 9:54 AM, Charlutz said:

Great, open discussion fellas. I appreciate the back and forth. Steve’s question about barrel size is still pending and of interest to me too. Thanks!

Oops must have missed that! We're using 60 gallon (225L) barrels from ISC mostly. We do have a handful of ex-bourbon and fortified wine barrels too, but we buy the vast majority of our barrels new and then re-use them into infinity.

 

I'm in NYC and pretty busy so I'll get back to this thread when I can. Feel free to post up any other questions you guys have.

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Balcones Winston
On 6/4/2018 at 11:03 AM, Balcones Winston said:

Nice... I just went from "enthusiast" to "veteran member" thanks to this thread ???? NOW will StraightBourbon take me seriously ????

 

edit: I guess emojis are broken

FWIW, this was totally meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but the emojis that would have implied that didn't show up haha. So yes, I have thick skin, I was just trying to be humorous :)

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Balcones Winston
On 6/5/2018 at 11:02 PM, PaulO said:

Winston, have you ever considered bottling some of your products in 50ml bottles?  

Yup! It's something we're actively looking into. Not sure when it will happen but I know the try-before-you-buy angle is pretty important, just a lot of logistics to work out. 

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kevinbrink
6 hours ago, Balcones Winston said:

Yup! It's something we're actively looking into. Not sure when it will happen but I know the try-before-you-buy angle is pretty important, just a lot of logistics to work out. 

375's, 200ml and 100ml bottles are all good options as well, for whatever reason I have a hard time passing up anything remotely interesting in smaller format bottles. 

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FatherOfPugs

I enjoy this offering from Balcones. Since it came out it is a staple in my cabinet/shelf/closet what have you. 

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KSJon

My brother just brought a bottle of this up from Texas.  I can only give initial impressions.  I will admit that rye whisky is one of the more under-explored genres for me.  One reason why when he offered to bring it up  I was all for it.  This is not my first 100% rye.  But it is so different from what I would categorize as rye whiskey.  I’m assuming that it is the chocolate and roasted rye that are at work here.  As it first hits the tongue I think for a moment that I start to get the spice and maybe a flash of mint that I get when I drink other rye.  But for me that is completely overtaken by a chocolate and coffee flavor that dominate through the finish.  I am left with the same taste in my mouth as if I had just drank a chocolate and/or coffee stout.  Not necessarily unpleasant but not what I expect from a bottle of rye whiskey.  I have only had one other Balcones whiskey and that was the Baby Blue.  It’s funny but I was also thrown off by my expectation of what a 100% corn whisky should taste like and what I tasted from the bottle.  In a weird way it hit similar notes, for me, as a blended scotch.  I will say that it did grow on me and that by the end of the bottle I was sad to see it go.  Perhaps this bottle will do the same.  There is most definitely something in the two of these whiskies that lets you know it’s from the same distilleries.  Some common ground in the nose.   I will keep working at this bottle and see if it grows on me.  But, to be completely honest, I have a bottle of a store pick Knob Creek single barrel select rye open right now and I think that I will be pouring from it more frequently than the Balcones.

 

Just my initial thoughts.

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