Thursday, December 13, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Recently, I reviewed Treaty Oak’s Red-Hand Rye. I mentioned how impressed I was with the transparency provided. However, with the Rye, I was left confused and stated, “if you poured this for me completely blind, I couldn’t tell you what kind of whiskey I was drinking.”
I was provided with additional samples of Treaty Oak’s whiskeys, including their own grain-to-glass Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon Whiskey. As before, I thank Treaty Oak for the opportunity to provide an honest review of their whiskeys with no strings attached.
Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon is created from heirloom grains from Barton Springs Mill. The mash is made of 57% yellow corn, 32% wheat, and 11% barley. Everything from mashing to bottling is completely handled start-to-finish on premises and aged two years in new, #3 charred American white oak barrels. It is bottled at 95° and retails for $49.99 which is right at the average for American craft whiskey.
Currently, Treaty Oak distributes its products in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and the District of Columbia. They do hope to increase distribution as the distillery grows. Is Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon worth checking out? Time to #DrinkCurious...
In my Glencairn, the color was a darker amber than I expected from a two-year whiskey. It left a thin rim on the glass that produced slow, fat legs to drop back into the pool of Texas liquid sunshine.
The first aromas to hit my nose were fresh sawdust and cherries. As I perused through my nosing zone, smoked oak and vanilla took over but yielded once again to the cherries. An obvious maltiness was in the upper zone. Inhaling through my lips was a strong fruitiness that made my mouth water.
A thin and watery mouthfeel created an almost déjà vu situation. Just like the Red-Hand Rye, my thought was, “What am I drinking?” But, that was the first sip, and as I always recommend, never, ever judge anything on that sip. An additional sip revealed the same watery mouth, and I was able to start discerning flavors. Sweet corn was absolutely up front, however, it was mellowed by the wheat. Behind that, a light fruit, followed by a muted chocolate. Underneath the chocolate was dry oak and bold spiciness, which could cause one to review the mash and look for non-existent rye.
The finish was shorter than I would imagine, especially considering how quickly the spice built at the end. I typically enjoy whiskeys at higher proofs, and 95° is not a big deal. However, my hard palate was left tingling just a smidge. There was also a residual smokiness that was reminiscent of peat. If you’re not into Scotch, peat can be shocking to the palate. Peat is so unusual with Bourbon that whenever it does come up, it is a curiosity. I must stress that the peatiness is very, very slight.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon Whiskey hits an attractive quality with me, meaning, it is unique and not another me-too MGP product. That’s a good thing for craft whiskeys. A peated finish, even ever-so-slight, is something that will attract Scotch aficionados and can risk turning off those who haven’t experienced it. I was a Scotch drinker way before I ever tasted my first Bourbon, and as such, I look to it as a positive quality.
My rating is going to be a Bar for two reasons: the non-single malt Scotch drinker and the Bourbon drinker. The Scotch drinker will likely be intrigued and can appreciate what a blended grain whiskey offers. In fact, the Scotch drinker may be more attracted to Ghost Hill than a Bourbon drinker. The Bourbon drinker might look at the wheat content and expect something like Maker’s Mark, which will not be fulfilled and, if not a Scotch drinker, could find the peat confusing.