Balcones' core range to celebrate the distillery's 10th anniversary. Although the whiskey is distilled from 100% rye the real mashbill is a little more complicated than that. It consists of 80% unmalted Elbon rye which is a historic variety sourced from West Texas, 15% malted European rye kilned as chocolate and crystal ryes and finally 5% unmalted European rye heated to very high temperatures to be qualified as roasted rye... After the fermentation the wash is distilled twice in pot stills like single malt Scotch whiskies and matured in #3 char American oak barrels. The back label says that the whiskey is aged at least 15 months and bottled on August 14th, 2018.
Color: Medium amber with an orange tint. Thin and slow legs around the glass.
Nose: Rubber rain boots, new car tires and plastic food containers... Aged Jamaican rum funk, fresh tarragon leaves and milk chocolate. After letting it air for a while: Boylan black cherry soda, dried cranberries and spiced hot cacao. Diesel fuel and chicory coffee. I have to admit that this is one of the most interesting notes I wrote down for a whiskey for a long time. It's incredibly funky, rubbery and chocolaty.
Palate: Has the exact same qualities like on the nose but little less funky and rubbery: Dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate and dark spiced rum. Peanuts and pine nuts roasted to a char, wet cigar butts and buckwheat honey. Smoky and bitter molasses and burnt lemon peel. Diesel fuel, burnt skillet and soot. Shows its young age with toasted wood, charcoal and tannins. Birch beer and old fashioned diner style cream soda.
Finish: Long and bitter with chicory, black peppercorns and cayenne pepper.
Overall: At the end it looks like all that hard work combining different types of rye, mixing malted and unmalted grains together and drying them using different kilning temperatures and times paid off. The nose and the palate is loaded with chocolate, roasted grain and burnt rubber notes like I never experienced in an American whiskey before. It's funky, spicy, herbal and most importantly very very unique. Not a charmer for sure and not the most elegant rye whiskey for your perfectly balanced Manhattan but it is a must try. Definitely recommended...