Last weekend was my annual boys weekend with my closest friends from high school. We grew up together and were inseparable, but as we grew up, got married and had kids, and some moved away, it’s increasingly difficult to get together, which is why the annual weekend is such a wonderful thing to do. This year’s destination was Austin, TX, not too far away from Hye, TX, so we decided to take the tour at Garrison Brothers.
I highly recommend the tour, especially if Dan Garrison is going to be there. The tour was informative, a lot of fun and you got to try their white dog, a single barrel, and as much of the flagship you can drink. It was the most fun and laid back tours I’ve ever been on; I can’t encourage people enough to take the trip out there.
We got the opportunity to try one of the single barrels and I was lucky they had extra to buy. This one was barrel number 3824, and was bottle number 2 of only 12 that were left in the cask. I love the lower yielding barrels, while clearly less profitable for the producer, I find they hold unique characteristics and are often more pronounced flavors. Garrison Brothers dips their bottles in wax, and we got to do that for our bottles. Very different than the Makers experience, it takes about four minutes to compete the dipping and drying, not very efficient, but given how small they are, they don’t need to go as fast as Makers does it.
The bourbon is dark, like really dark. Pretty amazing color for only three years in wood. Probably has something to do with the yield of only 12 bottles as well. The nose is rich, but not hot at all. Liquid caramel, dark french toast brioche, egg nog, all spice, licorice and some pine needles. On the second sniff, you get a hint of nazelnut coffee, pencil shavings and graphite. You can tell there is some decent amount of wood in this, but it doesn’t appear that it will be overpowering on the palate.
The taste is awesome. All the complexity on the nose is coming through on the mouth, in a very balanced way. The wood tannins integrated very well with the other flavors producing a bourbon that has a very long, warm and enjoyable finish. If there was one complaint, I would say that this would have been much better if it was barreled at cask strength. A common complaint I have, which is why I prefer their Cowboy release.
A very unique offering from Garrison Brothers, only one of 12 bottles in existence, and by the time you are reading this, mine will probably be all gone. Definitely worth taking the trip out there to go visiting them yourself and be sure to see Dan when you are there. 96/100