Sunday, March 6, 2022

Balcones Single Barrel Texas Rye Review & Tasting Notes


Texas whiskeys are getting better. There, I said it!  It used to be if it came from Texas, I wasn’t excited. Then I discovered one that changed my mind. From there, I found Balcones Distilling with a taste of its single malt whiskey. Very recently, I had a chance to peruse its True Blue Cask Strength Straight Corn Whiskey. Today, I’m sipping on its Texas Rye Single Barrel Cask Strength Whiskey


If you’re interested in learning more about Balcones Distilling, head on over to that True Blue review.


Balcones likes to experiment with variations of components to create its Rye whiskey. My sample came from Barrel 19988, which starts with a mash of 100% Texas-grown rye. That’s distilled twice in its pot still. It is then aged at least 30 months in new European oak barrels. I tend to assume American oak is used with American whiskeys, so this took me a bit by surprise. The whiskey is non-chill filtered and naturally colored (more on that in a bit). It weighs in at a hefty 127.6° (63.8% ABV), and a 750ml package will set you back around $65.00.


Before I get to the tasting notes and review, I’d like to thank the Wisconsin distributor for providing a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, the Texas Rye was in competition with only a handful of others for being the darkest, naturally-colored whiskey I’ve come across. Burnt umber is the color descriptor I chose. An ultra-thin rim was formed, which released thin, slow legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Deep oak notes wafted from the glass before I got it anywhere near my face. It was accompanied by dark fruits and roasted coffee beans. When I drew the air into my mouth, it was like dark-roast coffee.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was oily but not overly so. It also drank way below its stated proof, much closer to something in the mid-90s. The palate was, at least to me, one note: black coffee. It was on the front, middle, and back, and I tasted nothing beyond it.


Finish:  Medium in length, the finish offered a bit more than the palate. The black coffee was there; it became slightly bitter. I found some oak notes and the faintest hint of dark chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’m not a coffee drinker. I do like coffee ice cream. But I don’t drink coffee. You absolutely, positively must enjoy the taste of dark-roast coffee to enjoy this whiskey. That’s not me. But I have friends who would go completely nuts over this single-barrel Rye. So, for you coffee drinkers that want a cup of Joe with a kick, this is a Bottle rating. And, for the rest of you, this one is a Bar. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

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