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StarSurfer55

I have grown interested in the products from the Texas Distilleries such as Balcones and TX. I have only had the Rumble and Baby Blue from Balcones and, more recently, the TX blended whiskey.  The TX is real vanilla bomb to me and I like it except for the proof point of 82.  I am a bit surprise that the amount of barrel color you can get from a whiskey in texas in a short time.  That heat really brings on the color.  However, my knowledge fo the texas distilleries is limited and I thought I would ask if others had recommendations for their products.

 

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On 4/8/2021 at 6:18 PM, StarSurfer55 said:

However, my knowledge fo the texas distilleries is limited and I thought I would ask if others had recommendations for their products.

 

 

The crickets on this topic are probably pretty telling.  I'm not saying, but I'm just saying...

 

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Texans will tell you how great it is like they take pride in everything else. 😀I was born and raised in NTX.  I have friends that get excited to win lotteries for 5 year old whiskey.  I’m sure there is good whiskey down there but I would be hesitant to buy. 

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smokinjoe

Where is Chip Tate...

 

Ive seen neither hide nor hair of him in years...

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LCWoody

The problem with TX. "whiskey" is they market it as bourbon.... TX. distilled bourbon taste nothing like bourbon, in how you think about the taste of traditional bourbon. I think the "TX. bourbon industry" would have been accepted better by drinkers if drinkers didn't go into it thinking you were drinking bourbon. I've had some great whiskey and Ryes from several different TX. distillers, but none, I mean none tasted like bourbon. I think that if the pioneers of the TX. whiskey industry would have owned this "bourbon" whiskey under another name, "Real TX. Tea", ( I know thats stupid ) but something, it would be a much more excepted and a much bigger industry for TX.  It would be something different that Texas could own, as their own. TX. distillers has some really good juice, its just not bourbon. 

 

I'm sure this rant has some bad vibes with some, but its true, to me anyway.  

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flahute
1 hour ago, LCWoody said:

The problem with TX. "whiskey" is they market it as bourbon.... TX. distilled bourbon taste nothing like bourbon, in how you think about the taste of traditional bourbon. I think the "TX. bourbon industry" would have been accepted better by drinkers if drinkers didn't go into it thinking you were drinking bourbon. I've had some great whiskey and Ryes from several different TX. distillers, but none, I mean none tasted like bourbon. I think that if the pioneers of the TX. whiskey industry would have owned this "bourbon" whiskey under another name, "Real TX. Tea", ( I know thats stupid ) but something, it would be a much more excepted and a much bigger industry for TX.  It would be something different that Texas could own, as their own. TX. distillers has some really good juice, its just not bourbon. 

 

I'm sure this rant has some bad vibes with some, but its true, to me anyway.  

Rant away! Thanks for your perspective. I've not tried any of the TX whiskies because they are so damn expensive. Not going to take a chance on something I've heard so many bad things about.

Interesting to hear you say that it can be good, but that it doesn't taste like bourbon.

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ScottEP

I'm new here but thought I might be able to contribute a little here being that I'm a native Texan and still live here. The previous comment about Texas bourbon not tasting like bourbon is a little unfair. Bourbon made in Texas SHOULDN'T taste like bourbon made in Kentucky. Just like an Islay single malt Scotch shouldn't taste like a Highland single malt Scotch. The water, grain, and climate are all different so the end product is going to be different as well. Hopefully, as more bourbons from outside of Kentucky gain in popularity (Woodinville, Old Elk, Spirit of French Lick, Hudson, etc) the acceptance of this variation in flavor will be appreciated instead of viewed as a flaw.

 

With that said, I would suggest checking out Ironroot Harbinger for a gateway into Texas Bourbon. There's a reason it's won a couple very prestigious awards. They have pretty good distribution so hopefully you'll be able to find it. 

 

Outside of the bourbon category, check out Lone Elm's straight wheat whiskey and Giant single barrel rye from Gulf Coast Distillery.

 

Cheers!

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LCWoody
21 hours ago, ScottEP said:

I'm new here but thought I might be able to contribute a little here being that I'm a native Texan and still live here. The previous comment about Texas bourbon not tasting like bourbon is a little unfair. Bourbon made in Texas SHOULDN'T taste like bourbon made in Kentucky. Just like an Islay single malt Scotch shouldn't taste like a Highland single malt Scotch. The water, grain, and climate are all different so the end product is going to be different as well. Hopefully, as more bourbons from outside of Kentucky gain in popularity (Woodinville, Old Elk, Spirit of French Lick, Hudson, etc) the acceptance of this variation in flavor will be appreciated instead of viewed as a flaw.

 

With that said, I would suggest checking out Ironroot Harbinger for a gateway into Texas Bourbon. There's a reason it's won a couple very prestigious awards. They have pretty good distribution so hopefully you'll be able to find it. 

 

Outside of the bourbon category, check out Lone Elm's straight wheat whiskey and Giant single barrel rye from Gulf Coast Distillery.

 

Cheers!

You have made my point even better than I, except the flaw part. TX. bourbon is by no means a flaw. The only flaw that I see in your examples is Hudson. If there was ever a bourbon flaw, its Hudson 🤮

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smokinjoe

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed much from “Texas” bourbons, but recent posts here have some merit to them.  But, I do believe that the aging climate in Texas does create flaws in “bourbon” that goes beyond terroir differences, and this coupled with plain distilling faults in these crafts just compound the problems.  Whether these differences can be refined and become acceptable to those who have an expectation to what is “good” bourbon remains to be seen.  For me, it does not.  That said, I found Garrison bourbons for instance, to be horrific for most of its existence, but I admit that some recent tries to be better.  As in most things, time and experience will tell.  I totally would like the concept of a “Texas made” bourbon to carve out a quality space, but for me those producers still have a long way to go.  

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I've always thought these newer companies should offer their products in 50ml bottles as an option.  

Also, the small barrel short aging craft thing is a non starter for me.

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2 hours ago, PaulO said:

I've always thought these newer companies should offer their products in 50ml bottles as an option.  

 

If they did that, they would never sell a full size bottle at $75.00 and they'd go out of business immediately 🤫

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On 4/15/2021 at 8:35 PM, ScottEP said:

I'm new here but thought I might be able to contribute a little here being that I'm a native Texan and still live here. The previous comment about Texas bourbon not tasting like bourbon is a little unfair. Bourbon made in Texas SHOULDN'T taste like bourbon made in Kentucky. Just like an Islay single malt Scotch shouldn't taste like a Highland single malt Scotch. The water, grain, and climate are all different so the end product is going to be different as well. Hopefully, as more bourbons from outside of Kentucky gain in popularity (Woodinville, Old Elk, Spirit of French Lick, Hudson, etc) the acceptance of this variation in flavor will be appreciated instead of viewed as a flaw.

 

With that said, I would suggest checking out Ironroot Harbinger for a gateway into Texas Bourbon. There's a reason it's won a couple very prestigious awards. They have pretty good distribution so hopefully you'll be able to find it. 

 

Outside of the bourbon category, check out Lone Elm's straight wheat whiskey and Giant single barrel rye from Gulf Coast Distillery.

 

Cheers!

I'm glad you brought this up.  I also live in Texas and have for almost 20 years. I've never tasted a bourbon actually made in Texas for under $50 dollars that was as good as common everyday mass-produced stuff from Kentucky that I can buy for $25.  Even the better value ones at $35 to 40 have serious shortcomings (like young corn flavors) that I wouldn't normally accept from a good KSBW for anything over 20 bucks.

 

I don't waste my money anymore. There's no reason to pay more for a bourbon just because it happens to come from a particular state.  That's just plain silly.

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DeepCover

I’m not going to say I’ve sworn off Texas bourbon, but going forward I’ll absolutely need to try before I buy. Garrison Bros. tastes too young and corn-forward. Ranger Creek tastes like soy sauce. TX Bourbon tastes like cardboard. I’m done taking risk when I can buy a bottle of BT for $23.

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9 hours ago, DeepCover said:

I’m not going to say I’ve sworn off Texas bourbon, but going forward I’ll absolutely need to try before I buy. Garrison Bros. tastes too young and corn-forward. Ranger Creek tastes like soy sauce. TX Bourbon tastes like cardboard. I’m done taking risk when I can buy a bottle of BT for $23.

Ranger Creek is my current attempt at adding a Texas bourbon to my bar, and every time I try it I think, "this tastes familiar, but I can't place it."  Maybe it's soy sauce because you are dead on about Garrison and F&R's TX.  (I had homed in on a chocolatey note for Ranger Creek.)

 

 

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Creek Wolf

I just had a sampling of Devils River. It is very very young, less than average, weak in flavor, but big in price. Shouldn’t be named after such a great river.

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  • 5 weeks later...
TuronTuffy

Garrison Brothers in Hye, west of Austin on the way to Fredericksburg, is the best of Texas bourbon in my not so humble opinion.  They certainly have the Cowboy awards to prove it.  Owner Dan Garrison along with Master Distiller Donnis Todd continually prove that Texas bourbon, though definitely different that the Kentucky products, are World Class.  If you are only accustomed to Kentucky et al style bourbon, realize that GB is different altogether.  The whiskey public has yet to understand that 4 years aged in the Texas weather provides a much faster development of the barrel spirits than in Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee or any of the other mid western states that distill lots of spirits.  Roughly, a single year of Texas aging is equivalent to 2 1/2 to 3 years of Kentucky aging.  So far, Garrison Brothers has harnessed that annual variable better than any other Texas distiller.  And they do expect every release to be a unique product.  Two glaring examples of their achievements are the regular Fall 2012 release at 94 proof and the most recent Cowboy 2020, massive proof at 133.9, which is as friendly a sipper as a velvet rug to your bare feet, but it is stealthy powerful.  Beware!  The final summer before the Fall 2012 release was exceptionally hot & seemingly worked extra magic on those barrels.  Good luck finding a bottle though, because most of the remaining unopened supply from the north Texas area are in my possession.  There are numerous Texas producers that have collected notoriety for years for producing good spirits and quite a few relative newcomers that show great promise.  I happen to believe GB is leading the Texas delegation at present.   

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On 5/23/2021 at 2:25 AM, TuronTuffy said:

...  The whiskey public has yet to understand that 4 years aged in the Texas weather provides a much faster development of the barrel spirits than in Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee or any of the other mid western states that distill lots of spirits.  Roughly, a single year of Texas aging is equivalent to 2 1/2 to 3 years of Kentucky aging.  ...   

My understanding is that in our climate the whiskey moves in and out of the barrel staves as temperatures and seasons change.  We get some serious cold weather snow and ice in winter.  It is hot and humid in the summer.  Spring and fall are any combination of those, sometimes in the same day.  I don't believe someplace that is arid and never freezes would replicate that.  It also takes time for congeners to break down.  Anytime I hear about some way to rapidly age spirits, I think, the legacy distillers would all do it, if it really worked.  

A single year of Texas aging is equivalent to 2 1/2 to 3 years of Kentucky aging - as far as price goes.

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MaxNard

Lots of hate for Texas whiskeys here.  I'll put myself out there and just say that Texas whiskeys are my go to, when I'm not drinking scotch.

 

Pretty much every offering from Balcones beats the pants off anything else produced outside of Kentucky... and they're not even my favorite distiller.

 

Texas wines are another hidden gem, and likely suffer the same fate as Texas whiskeys:  we drink most of it so there's not much surplus leaving the state.  Which is why it has such a tough time gaining a following outside of TX.

 

 

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I'm not sure I would say hate.

Some people may have tried one brand or the other, and didn't care for it.

That seems to be how it goes for a lot of the craft whiskies (from any state).  I think this aversion is particularly the case with individuals that are long time Bourbon drinkers and have experience with the higher end offerings of the big legacy distillers.

 

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kcgumbohead
On 4/17/2021 at 11:16 PM, PaulO said:

I've always thought these newer companies should offer their products in 50ml bottles as an option.  

Also, the small barrel short aging craft thing is a non starter for me.

A.D. Laws offers a quad 100ml pack of 4 of their offerings. They are a Colorado distiller so off topic but they do fall under the craft umbrella. I haven't tried any of their offerings ( still on a whiskey hiatus) but I am interested in something like that. Its 36ish bucks and offers a "flight" of their offerings, they are a grain to glass distiller with bonded offerings and aging in 53gal barrels so I might have to pick one of those up and see if what they are doing holds any interest for me beyond a 100ml sample.

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I've seen: Glenmorangie Scotch boxed set of different 50ml, Jim Beam 50ml set including the different flavored stuff, Jack the same thing, and the Heaven Hill test tube looking set.  I'm sure there are others.

Some time ago, Winston Balcones was communicating with us.  I asked if they ever considered bottling some 50ml size.  He said yes.

I know the craft operations try to market the whole tour experience.  It seems the minis would be a natural part of the merchandise.  People would buy as souvenirs, maybe never open, or give as gifts.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
StarSurfer55

I appreciate all the remarks here.  I agree that Texas whiskeys are   a bit different from the Kentucky offerings.  I am always shocked at how dark their whiskey can get with minimal aging due to the climate.  This tends to bring the Vanilla forward (often more of an artificial vanilla note) and the wood tannins which can be off putting.  I recently tried the TX bourbon and it is a different beast from their blended whiskey, the former is all vanilla, while their bourbon brings forward the caramel and spice notes.   While I don't know if this is a full wheater the label says it is corn and wheat.  It does not have that corn musty note that is dominant in Smooth Ambler Big level or that I sometimes pick up in Larceny. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
tanstaafl2

Where is Wade when you need him...

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flahute
On 7/10/2021 at 11:16 AM, tanstaafl2 said:

Where is Wade when you need him...

Wherever he is he’s pissing off someone and that’s exactly how we like him.

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