Already having tried the rye from Prichard´s distillery , it´s now time to sample their corn whiskey. Here we have something completely different, with a name alluding to the illegal white lightning or moonshine traditionally produced in makeshift distilleries of varying quality, with a mash bill of mainly corn. This type of product from commercial distilleries are fast becoming popular, and you will find a white whiskey or white dog on offer from many of the new craft distillers as well as from the larger companies.
Distilled from a mash made from white corn instead of the usual yellow, meaning a higher sugar content. As is the case with this type of spirit, it´s of course taken directly from the still with no barrel aging. Typical for white whiskey the colour is exactly that, watery-clear. The nose shows solid corn sweetness followed by vanilla. Neat in a tasting glass you get a distinctive corn sweetness and a typical white dog character, with a fairly short, fiery finish. In a tumbler with ice the sweetness is enhanced while keeping the corn notes.
A white dog pretty true to it´s character, but as such almost always less interesting than the fully matured product. That´s not to say that this type of whiskey doesn´t have its merits, and you probably shouldn´t compare apples and oranges.
Balcones is a very interesting craft distillery started a few years ago in Waco, Texas. The distillery was built from scratch in a wave of enthusiasm, all the way down to the stills themselves, the process documented in photographs on their website. All of the whiskey sold under the Balcones name is distilled and matured at the company, following the bottled in bond act. Apart from this whiskey the company produces a single malt and several other varieties of corn whiskey, as well as something called Rumble made from wildflower honey and figs.
Balcones True Blue is available both as cask strength (with over 60% alcohol content), and as this 50 % bottling. It´s made from blue corn, originally associated with the Hopi Native Americans and with it´s higher protein content and lower glycemic index considered nutritionally superior to regular white or yellow corn. Blue corn meal is often used making tortillas, giving them a different taste than other corn meal varieties. So, already in its choice of ingredients this whiskey is innovative and interesting.
The colour is light amber. The nose shows caramel and brown sugar combined with corn sweetness and vanilla. Neat in a tasting glass we get caramel laced with cinnamon and dark chocolate, with a long spicey finish. In a tumbler with ice things gets less complex but still with a distinct blue corn kick leading us on. The bottle is nice and chubby, with a wax seal and cork stopper. Nothing too fancy but with an easily recognizable graphic design of the labels of the company´s different products.
Regrettably not that easy to get hold of in Sweden, this whiskey is definitely something I´m going to want to try again. A distillery that I´ll keep on following, hopefully getting a chance to try their other products too.
Made entirely from malted American barley, distilled in copper pot stills and aged in barrels of charred new American oak for about three years.
Coming in at a beautiful copper colour this whiskey looks its part. The nose has fruity banana aromas as well as oak and vanilla. Neat in a tasting glass we get oak, caramel and a slight vanilla tone. With ice in a tumbler the vanilla and caramel notes gets bigger and takes over. Fairly short finish.
This is one of the first American single malt whiskeys that I´ve ever tried, and I must confess that this is not something I would think of as a single malt. Of course I´m being influenced by expectations awakened by the similarity in name to its Scottish counterpart, which isn´t fair. I have a few other American single malts waiting, and will return with a separate tasting.