I love Balcones. They do some seriously excellent product, fearlessly tasteful, and just plain orgasmic in some cases. Considering the age of the maturation, it is all dreamy! I was absolutely chuffed to be chosen for this tweet taste. Here we go! 🙂
Balcones No 1. Single Malt
£77.17 at MasterOfMalt
Rich, deep, thick. You can smell the colour! And the colour is rich as anything. Dense Vanilla, Treacle Toffee, toasted caramel. Fruits come in are stewed in the same caramel (cajeta) toasted sweetness, bananas, oranges, some christmas spices round things off also. Time in the glass and come chocolate notes mix in with that toffee. It is a sweet tooth’s heaven of a dram.
Mouth coating. Very oily and silky around the palate. Warm, but still capable to drink at undiluted strength. The burnt sugar notes dominate the undiluted palate, some background stewed bananas. Toffee thickness is there, but a creaminess also coming through. Nutmeg features on the spice side of things, and a little honeyed chilli heat.
Sweet, thick sugar coating glory turns to dry tannins. Hangs around for a medium finish. Chest warming and has a nice positive feel to it.
Added a dollop. The nose exhibits more sweetness now, its easier to nose and gives more depth to the sugar (now maple syrup comes in) and fruit. A separation allowing for deeper analysis of the dark chocolate, toffee encrusted, figs, and christmas cake-ish aromas. The palate enhances also, sweeter, yummier, with all the same rich, oil mouth coating goodness. Finish, seems longer to me, with the transition from sweet to dry taking a little bit longer and a finer journey. Its a properly beautiful dram. Thoroughly rewarding.
Balcones Baby Blue
£54.75 at MasterOfMalt
Salted Popcorn, with a touch of butter. Quite woody with some toffee, vanilla, oak spice, thick honey. Milky cream notes, definitely of the Full Fat Gold top variety. Its very rich! Its aromas feel like its much older, and stronger than the ABV. There are some tropical fruit notes of pineapple and a little mango, a real minatory. Damn ‘tasty’ nose. Time in the glass gives some herbal notes.
Oily again, great mouthfeel on it. Dryness though, it does have a dollop of the sweet toffee/honey/sugar going on, but dryness is present up front. Its so easy going though. Immensely smooth, tasty and just plain easy drinking. Its like drinking the smoothest caramel, chocolate, honey concoction with a big smile on your face and warmth in the heart.
Dryness in the tannins, with warm sugar and tropical fruit chews left hanging around. Its another top dram, which is making me feel very good indeed.
A small drop added. The nose has become much more floral now, sweet shops, parma violets dominate the diluted nose. The palate still coats my mouth world with joyous things. So much sweet and dry, and special toffee with some special spices thrown in. Dammit this is some good stuff.
Balcones True Blue
£64.31 at MasterOfMalt
Baby Blue with added OOMPH. Caramelised Treacle Toffee in a breather! Its OOOOoooo, and Ahhhh, and just plain pornographic in its unashamed sexiness! Rich, chocolate, toffee, burnt honeyed sugar. Sherried even though I know sherry is nowhere near this dram’s maturation. Maple and Molasses. Loads of spice there as well, nutmeg, cinnamon. A lovely balance of everything.
When I tried a cask strength of this for 12dramsofxmas I thought it was A’bunadh. Loads of Christmas spices, christmas pudding/cake, orange, chocolate, sherried dark fruits. Yummy Yum Yum. Everything I love about a well sherried dram, however, this got nowhere near sherry. Eh!??!
Oh my. A long and fabulous finish. Drying out slowly, but all the remembrance of the nose and palate come and go, chocolate oranges, spicy fruitcake, Sherried Plums. As it dissipates the warmth and deep joy resonates through. This is a total feel good dram. And I feel good!
Small dollop added. If anything it gets deeper and I’m lost. Its the same aromas, but more exposed and opened up. The palate has added sweetness and viscosity. It feels sentient and invading your every tastebud. Cant get over how sherried this non-sherries dram is.
Balcones V Anniversary Single Barrel Bourbon
Vanilla most definitely. Rich Almond Marzipan. Cherries. Citrus peel. Lots of wood spice. Cardboard (in a good way). Charred oak. Burnt sugar. Dried fruits (saltanas/currents).
Undiluted this is very drinkable. A little burn there, but loads of vanilla sweetness and chewy goodness going on. Very fruity in the delivery, with dried fruits and chewy toffee and honey confectionary. Candied corn, and general all round sweet tooth’s joy!
Alcohol bite, but fruity joy. Its a deep dram, one to contemplate things over. Drying oak spice, vanilla sweet. Its bloody good bourbon! JD can FO!
With a good dollop of water the nose intensifies in spiciness. Really hitting the back of the nose. More fruit and spices are identifiable, and there is a dusty resonance that also hits the olfactory senses. Polished wood, real aged gorgeousness. The palate exhibits some meaty goodness amongst the toffee caramel burnt sugar notes. BBQ ribs with a nice coating of sugar and quality stuff! Im getting too into this, the descriptors are all going to pot! Finish is long and glorious. There isn’t many of these available in the uk, and I want one so get in line! lol
£65.45 at TheWhiskyExchange
Smokey Bacon Crisps! I can’t say any more than that. Its what it is. Bloody amazing! Imagine a pig was skinned, and the skin was barbecued for 100 hours, and then its essence was magnified by the power of 7.767, and put in the glass…There you go! I would love to know how the spirit is smoked after distillation. I guess its top secret, or unfathomable by me, but its very well done, unique, and so enjoyable an experience. So, bacon, salt, smokey smoke, a little rubber, like old school plimsole rubber, or big assed rubber bands. Lots and lots of char
Couldn’t be any more different to the nose! There is definite smoke infused, but the palate is sweet initially, rich sugars, then some smokey bbq meat is there, continuing with the honeyed ham now, more honey than ham. Then chewy vanilla, oh and here comes the smoke again. Cigarettes and Cigars, an ex-smokers nightmare!
Smoke! Cigars and cigs! BBQ meats come back. So long a finish! Dash of sea salt on the ham hock!
Good dollop added. Smokier! The nose is giving off loads more rubber fires and BBQ meat aromas. The palate, lighter, some added sweetness, but also has a little more richness to the BBQ elements. The palate also gives up a little more saltiness adding to the balance, and some additional spices in the form of pepper. Finish, is saltier, drier, pig skin comes back again to play! Its an amazingly unique and different dram.
Well, what can I say. Lots of favourites here. I love the True Blue most being a sherry head. But the Brimstone has such a unique, individual profile that it just has to be tasted. Any whisky person never having tried Brimstone is like a wino saying they never tried Rose. It just shouldn’t be…ever!
Fancy trying all of these at a fraction of the price. How about a tasting set. MasterOfMalt do a Balcones tasting set consisting of 5 of their drams for a very reasonable £26.44. Check it out here.
Thanks to Steve at the Whisky Wire, and Balcones for my participation in a fundamental and totally amazing Tweet Taste.