I have a pair of whiskeys from Texas to review. Texas distillers are maturing as an industry and beginning to produce some excellent whiskeys – not just good, but excellent. There are many challenges to making whiskey in Texas and I would think that the two biggest are finding a good water source, free from iron and other undesirable elements and the climate. The very hot summers can make aging whiskey a real challenge. These two distilleries have overcome the challenges and produced whiskeys that are very good and will probably get better as the stocks mature further in their warehouses.
The Still Austin Whiskey Company is located in Austin, Texas. They have made this straight Bourbon whiskey using 100% Texas grains. The mash bill is corn, rye and malted barley, but they don’t give any percentages on the label. Austin is known for its musical industry and it is only natural that they named this Bourbon “The Musician” and compare the making of the whiskey with a great song.
Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company of Fort Worth, Texas makes the “TX” line of whiskeys. This bottle is part of their “Experimental Series” and is a 100% rye whiskey. The label provides information such as the mash bill (100% rye), age (4 years 5 months), proof (126.13) and bottled unfiltered.
Still Austin “The Musician” Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 2 Years Old
Nose: Vanilla and oak with a hint of corn and ripe berries.
Taste: Corn and vanilla with some oak and black pepper. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the pepper is reduced to almost nothing and the vanilla comes forward with some sweet corn. When tasted with a pecan, the oak moves to the front with lots of pepper spice.
Finish: Medium long with sweet oak wood and pepper spice. The dried cranberry made the finish shorter and sweeter with vanilla and sweet oak wood. The pecan made the finish very long and dry with oak and pepper.
I would pair this Bourbon with a Nub Connecticut cigar. The smoke is flavorful but not overpowering. This young whiskey needs a milder smoke where it can complement the flavors of the smoke without being overpowered.
TX Experimental Series 100% Rye Whiskey
Age: 4 Years, 5 Months
Nose: Rye grass, caramel, marshmallows, and ginger spice. Surprisingly very little oak wood on the nose.
Taste: Black Licorice, vanilla, lemon zest and other citrus notes, and oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the black licorice is enhanced. When tasted with a pecan a pepper spice comes out and tames the licorice flavor somewhat.
Finish: Long with lots of black licorice, lemon and oak. The dried cranberry made the finish longer and even more licorice-flavored. The pecan made the finish more oak and pepper with only a hint of licorice.I would pair this rye whiskey with a full-bodied cigar like a Padron 1964 maduro wrapper. I think the caramels and chocolate notes of the smoke would tame some of the licorice flavors and bring out more vanilla and caramel in the rye whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller