Garrison Brothers Balmorhea Review

I wasn’t able to find this at retail so I had to pay up on secondary. Range is $100-$150 from what I saw. It’s a 375ml 115 Proof Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This was Jim Murray’s number one micro distillery whiskey of the year. And I love Garrison Brothers, so I had to try it. Aged four years.. two years in new barrel and then two more in new one.


I had it shipped to my work to save the guy on shipping and I decided to pop it on the train ride home. Always important to have a Glen Cairn with you wherever you go… #ProTip

Deep dark color, love that Garrisons color. Same great nose I’m used to, big spice, cinnamon, all-spice… then burnt brown sugar, carrot cake, fresh ginger snaps w/ candied pecans, dark espresso and cocoa. Mouthfeel is awesome, heat is enjoyable and finish is long. Some people think The Cowboy is too hot (I don’t), but this one is so approachable. It’s big but not a monster, and just a spectacular finish. Never goes bitter, never falls off. It’s just wonderful.

The bottle looks great and the juice tastes wonderful. Only knock I have is that it’s expensive, and the 375ml will go too fast. Worth the secondary price though if you are a Garrison Brothers fan. I certainly am! 96/100.

P.S. If anyone is willing to cost plus ship a bottle to me, or willing to trade something, send me a DM, I want more.  Thanks!


Garrison Brothers Balmorhea Bourbon Review



Top 5 Disappointments of 2018 in Whiskey

#1 Parker’s Heritage Collection release number 12, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Orange Curacao Barrels.  55% alcohol, 110 proof.  Not great.  Was hoping it would get better after being opened a while…. I’m still hoping and it’s been a few months.  I gave this a 78 out of 100 and I think I was being overly generous.  I will re-rate it again after it’s opened for six months, and hopefully it’s better; I’m not optimistic.  You gotta give some credit to the secondary market though, it came out at $200-$225 initially and has been crushed, as it should be.  Now trading between $100-$120, right where it has been offered at retail.  My guess is that is floors at $100 and then in a few years completionists will bid it up a little bit but it will go no-where.  Avoid this release, which was by far the worst ever for PHC.  Sad too because the story is great.

#2 Weller C.Y.P.B. is a perfectly fine Bourbon.  It’s like an average OWA chill filtered pick.  But it’s impossible to get, trading around $350 in secondary and it’s just not that great.  Opening my bottle was one of the biggest disappointments for me in 2018.

#3 2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Sazerac 18.  This has routinely been one of my favorite releases of the year and it just came out so flat and bitter this time.  I yearn for the tanked juice.  What’s crazy here is secondary is still holding in really high.  This one is trading like a collectible and not a drinking whiskey clearly.  If you own it, sell/trade it now because I’d rather have a WLW+GTS, which I think it close to where it is.

#4 Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye 2009 Distilled special release.  I don’t know why I even buy these anymore… the store picks are almost always better, and I’m such a sucker for a special release.  They trade lower in secondary and no one likes them.  I’m just lucky I only bought one this year.  Avoid!

#5 Bad craft distillers who market well like Breckenridge Distillery… I’m picking on these guys, but Hudson (Tuttletown Spirits), Brooklyn Distillery, etc etc all qualify by putting out expensive, bad products, in good marketing packaging.  My wife JUST got a bottle of Breckenridge from one of her clients (last year she got Hudson Baby Bourbon) and I wonder why her clients must hate her so much?  Prediction for 2019… by the end of the year at least one “major” craft distiller will go bankrupt because people will realize their juice is terrible and overpriced, while you will see some of the good ones rising in popularity and respect.

There is is… 2018’s top disappointments… However there was so much to celebrate in 2018, check out my top 5 list.  Or check out last year’s top 5 disappointments….

ORANGE COUNTY DISTILLERY… back to the drawing board please

I love a good craft distillery; I hate a bad craft distillery.  Orange County Distiller may be the epitome of everything I have come to hate about the craft movement:

  • They have a cute farm in upstate New York and are really stressing the farm-to-bottle thing.
  • They are making vodka and gin because you can sell it fast.
  • They are using small barrels for their bourbon and aged rye, and tried to explain to me at their stand that seven months in a small barrel in upstate New York is the equivalent of five years in a large barrel.  Wrong!!!
  • They bottle their products in 375ml apothecary-like bottles, trying to be like another small New York State producer known for good marketing and lesser products.
  • They charge way too much.
  • On their website they write: “This is what a craft distillery should be.”
  • And the only thing that matters… they have a shitty product.

It’s too bad that the craft movement has become overwhelmed with new entrants who are rushing their products to market and diluting the truly good stuff out there.  There are some great craft distillers out there, there are some great craft made sourced producers out there as well, but they are now becoming the minority in a field inundated with awful to marginal liquid.  There are far more bad “craft” producers out there than quality ones, it’s sad.

Anyway… maybe you can guess how I am going to rate these before I even get to them?

OCD Bourbon Whiskey: sweet and nail polish nose, yet thin palate, honeysuckle, more nail polish and tongue numbing finish.  Not enjoyable.  Maybe needed another couple years in the barrel? 73/100


OCD Aged Rye: spices and medicinal on the nose with spicy notes and menthol coming in strong on the palate.  Mildly less offensive than the Bourbon, but still needs a lot more time in the barrel.  77/100.


The moral of the story is don’t just buy the new craft whiskey at your local liquor store or farmer’s market because the bottle looks cool.  Try it, do your research, and be a smart consumer.  Everyone hates buying that bottle that sucks and keeping it on your shelf for years, looking at it every day, mocking you for your poor choice.  Damn you shitty craft whiskey!