I first tried the Balcones Texas Rum at the 2016 Whisky Jewbilee a couple of weeks ago and liked it so much I needed to get a bottle (or two) for my personal collection. I confirmed with the brand ambassador that the one I tried at the event was Batch 16-1, but this bottle that was available in New York is Batch 15-1, bottled on May 22, 2015. This is a six barrel blend made of two new American Oak barrels, one new European Oak barrel, and one each used barrels of American Oak, French Oak and European Oak. The average barrel age is three years.
Initial notes are brown sugar, cloves, smoked hickory chips, Cuban cigar box, almond croissant and candied walnuts. When the bottle was first opened, the heat on the nose was hot, but after waiting a few minutes, the heat quickly dissipated into pure smoothness, especially nice for a 127.8 proof spirit.
The palate is unlike any rum I have ever had before. It’s big and takes over the entire mouth with a creamy thickness that reminds me of a very high end non-chill filtered bourbon. The notes from the nose all come through on the palate, but are a little warmer than the nose. The finish goes on for a solid two minutes, putting it in an elite category.
I was told this is the oldest to date product that Balcones has ever produced and the patience has paid off–apparently Batch 16-1 is slightly older. The previous products I have tried were all way too hot on both the nose and the throat, but this one is not. The time in the barrel has paid off and anyone who buys it will be happy. It’s a shame that too many of their products have been rushed to market, but hopefully the success of this one will show the extra time is worth it. 93/100.