August 2, 2011 § 8 Comments
I had the HUGE pleasure of spending time with Balcones head distiller Chip Tate this past weekend.
What. a. cool. guy.
After a marathon 6 hour talk-fest on Friday (interspersed with food and whisky, of course), we picked back up Saturday evening to do a ridiculously fun whisky “tour” of lower Manhattan (Angel’s Share, Astor Place, Brandy Library, you get the idea) where I got to play sidekick to him sharing his mighty fine spirits with the owners & sommeliers of these lovely establishments.
Here’s the inside scoop – the always interesting, super smart Mr. Tate was here finalizing his NY distribution channel. Bottom line: BALCONES All-American Texas Craft Whiskies WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN NYC! Woohooo!!!
Check out this photo of his products front and center on the Brandy Library bar…
Here’s why I dig it:
1) Balcones makes everything themselves by hand, Chip even made the copper stills (yup, he welds copper).
2) They are the only distillery using artisanal Blue Hopi Corn (as opposed to generic white or yellow corn) which lends a much more refined and rounded flavor to their spirits (think Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese vs a gourmet Mac ‘n’ Cheese made with Gruyere & a bit of bacon … riiight). Makes a difference. Try the Baby Blue whisky or the cask-strength version, True Blue.
3) Small barrels lend a hint of those caramel & buttery notes we love from oak-aging but Chip doesn’t let it overpower the corn notes. The finished products are perfectly balanced with layers upon layers of delicate flavors.
4) One of the products in their line-up is Rumble. It’s fermented Mission Figs, Texas Wildflower Honey & Turbinado Sugar. On the nose, I find an interesting bouquet of rich honey, iris flower, and a hint of smoke/black tea. At 47% abv, this is no wimpy spirit – but it’s really fun to drink and experience the flavors rolling over your tongue. There is no category for this product. It’s its own thing … kind of like Balcones.
5) Last but not least, I need to mention the Brimstone whisky. He smokes the whisky. Let me repeat, he smokes the whisky – not the grains – the actual distilled liquid. It’s a secret processes, rightfully so, and he’s smoking his blue corn whisky with Texas scrub oak. Let me break it down further: it’s Texas BBQ in a bottle… with a side of corn bread. You just need to try it for yourselves. It’s a very unique experience and in my opinion, it rocks.
A nod to tradition fueled by their independent & adventurous drive.
Job well done. Welcome to NY.
PS – I also confirmed my visit to his Texas distillery in September… Stay tuned!
June 13, 2011 § 3 Comments
Ready. Set. Shop.
Father’s Day is less then 1 week away and The Whisky Woman has you covered!
Hammerstone’s Whiskey Disks are the perfect gift for all of our dads. The gadget guy, the golfer, the techie, the car obsessed, the art collector, the thrill seeker, the gardener, the fisherman, I could keep going but you get the idea. Let’s face it, after spending a long day at work or a out doing <insert your dad’s favorite hobby here> they are all sitting down to a glass of whiskey at the end of it.
Benefits of these great soapstone “chillers”
- These “chillers” won’t cool your drink the way ice does (but who wants their whiskey that cold?). Instead, it slightly chills your beverage just enough to take the edge off and make whiskey perfect for those warm summer nights (and days).
- Non-absorbent & tasteless
- Soft – these will absolutely not scratch your glassware
- Heavy – keeps them grounded at the bottom of the glass – not sliding towards your teeth or nose
- Environmentally friendly! You can reuse them time and time again!
- Easy to clean, store & chill (2hrs in the freezer)
- Learn more about the soapstone used for Whiskey Disks HERE
Whiskey Disks vs. other soapstone products
- 1 disk per glass means you don’t have lots of the little square cubes tumbling towards your face as you near the end of your drink
- The disks give you visibility of your beverage unlike the soapstone cups
- They are really fun to swirl around and around – the weight and smooth edges makes the disks quickly pick-up momentum causing lots of centrifugal force!