Texan distillery Balcones has kicked off its 10-year celebrations with the launch of two rye whiskies. The Texan Ryes are different strengths, with a 100-proof (50% abv) joining the brand’s core range of products, while the cask-strength edition at 62.5% abv will be available in limited quantities.
Both have been pot distilled twice, and are 100% rye, made with Ebson rye from Texas. What’s interesting about this whisky is the fact that the Balcones team have used four different roasting levels, with 80% raw and the other 20% made up of crystal, chocolate and roasted rye.
‘We are so proud to finally be releasing our first ever Texas Rye expression this year,’ said head distiller Jared Himstedt. ‘The final rye mash bill that we’ve landed on is primarily made up of Texas-grown raw Elbon rye but also utilises three different speciality ryes from Weyermann Specialty Malts.
‘If you’re familiar with the way we traditionally put mash bills together, you’ll see this is a slight variation on our standard method of producing a whisky made from only one type of grain in that while we did stick to a 100% rye mash bill, we did so by using four different kinds of rye for a rich chocolate character along with more traditional “rye spice” notes.’
While Imbibe has yet to taste the final product, we were excited by the rye barrel samples we tasted while visiting the distillery last year, picking up on the distinctive chocolate character that Himstedt mentions.
The two ryes will be coming to the UK in March, but if that wasn’t enough, Balcones has also announced that it will be bringing out a number of special releases to commemorate its first decade throughout the second half of 2018.
We’d be surprised if we don’t see even more come out in the next couple of years – as Himstedt told us last year, ‘The list of things that we want to try… we’re trying to be responsible and not do too many things, but we’re holding ourselves back for sure. We’ve got experiment ideas for the next couple of years at least.’