Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey
This is a perfect example of a whisky that took me out of my comfort zone. Far from the familiar and accessible Scotland this took me to Texas. I took some solace from the fact that it was spelled without an 'e' but this was short lived. Corn? A whole new beast. The barley that I know and love with the traits I have come to know will be little help to me here. This was my first time trying a corn whisky for tasting purposes and, after the initial shock wore off, I was pleasantly surprised.
The more I look into whisk(e)y, the more I become convinced that there does not exist a distillery that does not have some claim to fame or interesting back story. Balcones is no exception. The current distillery was built 9 years ago with the owners hand building their own stills and equipment in an attempt to "create something new, something genuine and something worthwhile". To this day it operates small batch production in the same apparatus. I find that extremely impressive for a global distillery!
The Baby Blue expression holds the accolade of first Texas whisky on the market after Prohibition! There is something brilliantly illustrative of the defiant Texan spirit that this is still a point of pride for the distillery. In addition, it is the only blue corn whisky made anywhere in the world. My notes:
Appearance: Dark Copper
Nose: I struggled to decide whether I liked this on the nose at the beginning. To me it smelled musty with cereal notes. I was not getting the fruit, vanilla, or indeed even the sweetness recorded in the tasting notes. With the addition of a drop of water my mind was made up. For me it was the cereal notes that I picked up most and, for whatever reason, the smell reminded me of an old library. For those who know me, this can only be a good thing.
Taste: Corn is dominant here: brought to mind tortilla chips. I am willing to concede that this is almost certainly due to my lack of experience in this area. Slight sweetness.
Finish: Spice came through on the finish which was quite long for me.
So, have Balcones succeeded in making something new, genuine and worthwhile? Certainly for me this was different than anything I have tried, it has made me want to try more corn whisky and the story of the distillery brought a smile to my face. Corn is unlikely to usurp my affections from barley but, variety being the spice of life and all that jazz, it is an interesting dram that is well worth trying and it has piqued my interest.