Whisky of the week #51 – Balcones Brimstone

Time for another American Whisky.

Balcones Brimstone
53% abv

American craft distiller Balcones created this smoky corn whisky, fittingly named the Brimstone, by smoking the whisky itself rather than the grain.

Liquid Gold Award – 2014
Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible
US Craft Distillers – 2014
Wizards of Whisky Awards

We have been searching long and hard for a hand-crafted whisky that we can get behind. We love the idea of scrappy intrepid pioneers taking on the mighty corporate distilleries.

We’re pretty thrilled to announce that we have found not only a hand-crafted original, but a genuine smoky beast of the highest calibre.

Nose… Layers of sweet sugar and caramel. And that unique smoke. It’s like taking the wood out of the body of a heavily oaked malt and adding it to the nose of a bourbon. Campfire embers. Sweet buttered corn, watermelon (sounds crazy, but see if you can smell it), slight oiled leather, and then the spice – habanero chilli peppers, bay leaves, slow-cooked meaty chili. Awesome balanced nose of smoke, sweet, and rich spice.

Body…. Ok this is going to sound weird, but it tastes like really well-made french toast. Like the kind made with fresh country eggs, thick-cut bread, lots of sweet butter, and real maple syrup. The outside of the bread is brown and crunchy from the butter and eggs and the center soaks up the sweet molasses of the syrup.

Finish… The smoke is dominant, but as we’ve said before: it’s not just the smoke, it’s the balance of smoke, richness, and smoothness. What Brimstone does so well is that it balances the smoke with the sweetness and the full-bodied corn and spice so that you can fully taste the spirit, you get that awesome warm feeling across your chest, At 53%, we prefer to drink Brimstone with only tiny dribble of water – four or five drops.The high proof makes the finish last a lifetime and we relish savoring the smoky sweet remnants.

Overall… What’s not to like about this big smoky whisky? Brimstone is an incredibly apt name for this barbecue of a dram. There is no pretension here.