Garrison Brothers Balmorhea 2020 Release (750 ml)
This magnificent Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bold but majestically-crafted, having been aged four years in new American white oak barrels, then transferred to a second new American white oak barrel, and aged for one year. Simply put, Balmorhea is bourbon candy in a bottle.
In 2013, their Master Distiller Donnis Todd filled 22 new American white oak barrels from The Barrel Mill – a Minnesota cooperage – with freshly-distilled 114 proof white dog. The barrels were then aged in the relentless West Texas heat for two years. All the while, the liquid inside cycled through the wood’s pores and crevices, extracting every bit of flavor possible.
In 2015, Donnis lugged the barrels in from the barns and dumped the liquid into stainless steel tanks. He then rolled a few 27-gallon Kelvin Cooperage barrels from Louisville, Kentucky below the tank spigot and filled the barrels with the already two-year-old straight bourbon. This second round of barrels had far different lignin and chemical compositions than the original barrels because they had been scorched and toasted differently, caramelizing the sugars in a wonderful new way.
In 2017, the bourbon was dumped into a long, thin stainless steel trough they call The Whiskey Girl, and they all began nosing and tasting the results. After rounds of tear-filled high fives and brotherly hugs, Garrison Brothers started talking about names – the easiest part of getting this sensational liquid to market.
Appearance: Balmorhea is a very clear deep mahogany, like strong sweet tea. It coats the glass and quickly forms thick tears. This bottle came in a fancy black box and included a medal proclaiming Murray’s accolades.
Nose: The nose is sweet cedar and brown sugar mingled with dark cherry and pipe tobacco.
Palate: Nutmeg on the approach, followed by straight sweet shop: milk chocolate and candied walnuts, caramel sauce. It’s pleasantly syrupy in mouthfeel. Cherry cola works into the mid palate, with a tiny bit of black tea tannin on the back. The medium-long finish has a saline, savory note.