I traveled to Waco, TX today with two friends and fellow Balcones fans to tour the facility and pick up a bottle of Balcones Fifth Anniversary Single Malt. There were two versions available and I sampled both of them:
- Balcones Fifth Anniversary Single Malt Rumble Cask Reserve Finish – Finished in an ex-Rumble Cask Reserve barrel, this malt added another dimension to their already flavorful single malt. The bright fruit flavors of Rumble were a nice addition to the single malt.
- Balcones Fifth Anniversary Single Malt Brimstone Resurrection Finish – This is actually a triple wood style release as it was first finished in an ex-Rumble Cask Reserve barrel, then again in the (only one exists) ex-Brimstone Resurrection barrel. There was a slight hint of smoke and the distinct blue corn characteristic coming through as a slightly caramel flavor.
I also sampled Rumble, Baby Blue, Single Malt and Brimstone. While all of them were good, the Rumble was better than any previous batch I’ve tasted… in fact, it was really good. Baby Blue fell a bit flat today, lacking the nice sweetness that it typically has, but still it was good. Brimstone was like a sweet smokey Texas barbecue, just like I remember. The Single Malt deserves a bit more description, since it forms the basis for the special releases today.
I sampled my own 13-5 batch of Single Malt last night, but the 14-2 batch was quite an improvement with more balance to the woody tannins characteristic of Balcones whiskey. There was more fruit flavor and less heat in this batch (tasted with no water as opposed to the 10 drops necessary to open up the 13-3). Trusting the expertise of Chip Tate, I walked away with a 14-3 batch today. As far as the V Anniversary Single Malt, I bought the Resurrection Finish (designated SMK for sweet smoke on the bottle).
As an added bonus, I picked up a bottle of Balcones Fifth Anniversary Brimstone Resurrection on the way home that was on hold for me at a local retailer in Dallas. Now I’ll have the original Resurrection to sample next to the Single Malt finished in the same barrel. Brimstone Resurrection is the real winner of the day for me as I’ve wanted a bottle ever since tasting it at the Balcones Event at Trinity Hall last year. All in all, this was a fantastically successful day with respect to whiskey.