TWICE-BARRELED BOURBON WHISKEY
It gives us great pleasure to introduce the beautiful Balmorhea. This magnificent Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bold but majestically-crafted, having been aged four years in new American white oak barrels, then transferred to a second new American white oak barrel, and aged for one year. Simply put, Balmorhea is bourbon candy in a bottle.
My first experience with Balmorhea Texas Straight Bourbon from Garrison Brothers Distillery was last year, as an experimental release. At that time, it was only available at the distillery and was a very limited release.
Apparently, they listened to their fan base, because it’s now available as a general release. The whiskey is named for Balmorhea State Park, noted for it’s spring-fed lake. Dennis Todd, Master Distiller at Garrison Brothers, assured me it was his favorite. He, of course, corrected my pronunciation of his favorite bourbon as “Balmora” with an emphasis on the last syllable and a long “a.” This would be similar to the word “hay.” I digress, but if you love oak, this may be the exact bourbon for which you’ve been waiting.
The original Balmorhea Bourbon was released at 107 proof. The current version is now bottled at 115 proof. The Kelvin Cooperage provide the 15 gallon barrels for the first two years aging, and then 27 gallon barrels for another two years of aging. Both kinds of barrels are made from new American oak. The Texas heat takes overall control of the entire maturation process.
The look of the bourbon is a deep, dark brown. It actually appears as mahogany color. The legs are prolific, immediate, slow and long. The highlights are naturally a dark burnished copper.
Not surprisingly, the nose is a medium intensity as it rises willingly to the consumer. There is no burn, but the tingling is constantly present as it invites consumption. It’s filled with oak and more oak with caramel underneath.
The palate is oaky over a caramel/pecan base. This bourbon provides a creamy mouthfeel with a whole mouth experience. Most of the activity is mid-mouth, but includes back and front top and bottom even out to the lips. This is a superb flavor explosion. I would encourage you to try it neat first. It is an amazingly smooth experience in spite of the 115 proof.
The finish is long and comes in waves. You might think it’s done, but be patient. It isn’t complete yet. The finale is filled with sweet oak and pepper gradually growing in warmth. It never comes off as hot, but holds your attention through out as it finishes dry.