What kind of whisky drinker are you? Whichever kind you are, Texas-based Balcones Distillery probably has a bottle for you. With more than a dozen highly-varied expressions in its portfolio this distillery, founded in 2008, comprises independent minds and passions from a team of industry pros who set out to make whisky that is both luscious but easily identifiable, on a conventional and visceral level. You could easily get lost in Balcones’ portfolio for months or even years, comparing and contrasting the variations and discovering preferences about your palate you didn’t know it had.

Flavor is key here. Through methods that manipulate yeast into creating desired flavor compounds, and Forsythe of Scotland pot stills renowned for contributing opulent components, Head Distiller, Jared Himstedt is both organic and engineered in his approach. He uses several barrel-types for each whisky to ensure an original and nuanced result every time. Further, he embraces the highs and lows of the Texas climate, knowing how much it accelerates the maturation process.

Magic is made at the former Texas Fireproof Storage Co. in downtown Waco, Texas, a sprawling 65,000 square feet of old and wonderful authentic pipe-and-concrete construction, now filled with the aroma of yeast, wood and whisky, depending on the room.

Jared Himstedt loves this building. He talks about Balcones journey while smiling and adoring the pot stills the team worked so hard to install. Balcones is home to these men. Even the old, but solid, structure’s history is talked about with love and gratitude. It’s no wonder the whiskies they make have such striking personalities. Nothing is rushed here. Every whisky is nurtured like a child with its own personality. As makers they allow the true nature of each one to come through, while identifying their individual strengths and curating which parts to accentuate.

This is big Drink Me recommendation: if you get to know this brand, you’ll get to know yourself as a whisky drinker.

Here’s the impressive portfolio:

Baby Blue

Blue Corn Whisky

NOSE: melted butter, kettle corn, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon and nutmeg, fresh bread and honey, fresh ground coffee, baking chocolate

TASTE: tropical fruit, slight apricot, brown sugar, cotton candy, sweet tea with lemon, smoked chilis

FINISH: medium long warming, late cinnamon/leather spice, mint and green peppercorns

Texas Single Malt Whisky

Classic Edition

NOSE: ripe, buttered stone fruit, banana and pears; honey and rose water with delicate citrus accents

TASTE: silky and full on the palate; lightly toasted bread with fresh butter and marmalade

FINISH: long finish with lingering toast and burnt sugar notes morphing into rich malt and wood flavors with counterbalancing acidity

Texas Rye

A Rye Mash Bill Creation

NOSE: soft charred oak, black tea and cracked pepper open up to fruit and chocolate covered cherries

TASTE: creamy buttery toffee, building to peppery spice notes with hints of coffee and nuts

FINISH: peanut butter and dark chocolate

True Blue 100

Blue Corn Whisky

NOSE: ripe apricots & mango with cinnamon, singed sugar on top of cocoa and dried chillies

TASTE: deep oak and char, black tea and salty baking chocolate, old leather, roasted corn and coffee

FINISH: lingering dried cherries & blackberries followed by toasty bitter chocolate with pleasant oak tannins


A Smoked Whisky

NOSE: confectioners’ sugar, cold-smoked butter, corn husk, BBQ pit, stone fruit, chili peppers and graham crackers

TASTE: candied oak smoke, English pipe tobacco, butter, orange marmalade, fruit cocktail, sweet tea, chili peppers

FINISH: long dry finish, herbal/mint ends in a mineralness as smoke returns

Texas Rum

Annual Release

NOSE: rock candy, pancake syrup, tanned leather, violets, burnt marshmallow, under ripe cantaloupe, saltwater taffy, prune, menthol, hoisin, roasted nuts

TASTE: lush and coating with cacao nibs, hazelnut syrup, char, tart cherry skins, burnt toast, caramel

FINISH: medium finish with layers of raw sugar, fruit skins, candied beets, char, tawny port reduction and abundant tannins

Rumble Cask Reserve

A Nurtured Stock

NOSE: honey, spice box, blueberry compote, rum cake, candied ginger, oiled leather, citrus zest, brandy

TASTE: ginger snaps, treacle, sugar plums, toffee, Christmas pudding, lemon candies

FINISH: dry and long with raisins, bourbon, oak spice, cinnamon, glazed pastries

Single Malt Rum Finish 

Rum Cask Finish

NOSE: caramelized sugar, cherry cola, banana bread, sassafras, pistachio, peanut brittle, apple skins, peach cobbler

TASTE: big and full-bodied with tropical fruits, molasses, sweet black tea, gingerbread

FINISH: dry and long, hints of prickly cinnamon, burnt sugar and heavy oak

True Blue Cask Strength

Straight Corn Whisky

NOSE: buttered toast, grapefruit pith, overripe banana, fresh cut bell pepper, corn oil, candied pecan, forest floor, cinnamon, sweet oak

TASTE: oily texture with maple syrup, dried apricot, pralines, cajeta, jasmine, spice, masa

FINISH: warm and long finish with supple notes of raw honey, coffee cake, and dried chilies

Texas Blue Corn Bourbon

Straight Bourbon Whisky

NOSE: glazed cornbread, buttered waffles, spearmint, Turkish tobacco, savory herbs and white pepper

TASTE: full mouthfeel with sweet tea, burnt marshmallow, cinnamon candies and marmalade

FINISH: long finish with oak and pepper notes, followed by cardamom and roasted sweet corn

French Oak

A Special Release

NOSE: browned butter, raw sugar, clove, fresh rosemary, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, polished leather, caramelized peaches, overripe tangerines

TASTE: oily and coating, black tea, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean ice cream, green peppercorns, underripe mango, dulce de leche, burnt toast with butter

FINISH: long and clean finish with bitter chocolate, white pepper, allspice, and eucalyptus

Single Malt Single Barrel

A Staff Selection

NOSE: toffee, baked apples, banana custard, semi-sweet chocolate, candied orange, mink oil, fall leaves

TASTE: bright entry with orange zest and fall honey, dried raspberries, nougat and cedar

FINISH: dry finish with lingering tannins complemented by eucalyptus, chestnuts and milk chocolate

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