Hailing from Waco, Texas, Balcones are a relatively new distillery, having only opened in 2008, but have made quite a name for themselves from the get go. As a corn whiskey, this features at least 80% corn in the original mash, and also features hopi blue corn (which is actually blue, hence the name) and was the first whiskey to be LEGALLY distilled in Texas since the end of the Prohibition. Presumably the “baby” part of the name comes from this whiskey’s young age and, the fact that the distillers got this unique first product out on the market as soon as they could. Bottled at 46% ABV, did that rush to start generating revenues compromise on quality?
Woah! Is this a whiskey or a liqueur? The first smells are very, very sweet, honeyed and so concentrated. There is a really fruity side to this too, with figs, damsons and sloes really dominating the smell along with a rich vanilla, rum-like sweetness before you are battered with corn, corn and more corn. It is potentially the sweetest smelling whisk(e)y I’ve ever experienced.
More sweet fruits follow, but more of a summer feel to the flavours: peach, pineapple, banana. There’s loads of vanilla and, of course, sweet corn fill this thick, syrupy, mouth-coating dram.
It has bit of a firey finish, but it is the fruit sensations that linger.
This is some crazy stuff. With all that fruit flavour, sweetness and intensity, this is more like a whiskey smoothie than something that I could cook up in the kitchen – a marketing plan that I hereby claim ownership to. There is so much going on and is so different that I can see why Balcones have been able to make such a name for themselves. At £70+ however (presumably due to rarity within the UK and import charges etc) this is quite a stretch but I would recommend anyone who could try this to do so, as it really is something completely different for the discerning dram dabbler to experiment with. I will also note that this is an entirely different beast to Mellow Corn (my only other foray with corn whiskies) that the spectrum for these whiskies must be so vast that I am really intrigued to delve further into what is out there. In answer to the question at the end of the preamble above then: “Absolutely not.” This appears as whisk(e)y #9 in my edition of 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die, and I would put it in my 101 too. Maybe even Top 10 To Try. Maybe.