Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey and True Blue Corn Whiskey Review











Baby Blue and True Blue Corn Whiskey

Baby Blue and True Blue Corn Whiskey

When it comes to un-aged or lightly aged whiskey, we’ve been fairly disappointed with the offerings in the market place [see our article Putting White Dog Down].  Most young whiskeys lack any real depth or complexity and the fruitier notes in the grain tend to overpower everything else.  Perhaps this is why we were so blown away by Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey  from Balcones Distillery in Waco, Texas.  Baby Blue is a surprisingly complex and flavorful young whiskey that won raves from our tasting panel and joins Fingerlake Distilling’s Glen Thunder Corn Whiskey and Charbay’s Double and Twisted Light Whiskey as our absolute favorite young spirits on the market.

Here’s how the Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey and its older brother, True Blue Corn Whiskey, fared with our tasting panel.

Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey (92 proof – $40) – Light golden amber in color, this whiskey has a very full, sweet and inviting nose. There are hints of vanilla and caramel under distinct oak and sawdust notes. Tasted blind, it’s hard to pick this one out as a young whiskey by its nose. The distinct sawdust notes are unexpected and indicate to us some unique barreling for this spirit (perhaps a finish in French oak or first-use lightly toasted American oak?).  The entry is a symphony of corn flavors with roasted corn, warm corn bread, and blue corn tortillas. This is followed by some nice heat and spice with a lush allspice, caramel mid-note. The Baby Blue Corn Whiskey has a medium finish which retains the sweet and spice of the mid note and finishes to a nice minty coolness.

Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey is a warm and inviting whiskey that stands heads and shoulders above almost every young whiskey we’ve tried. Its complexity of flavors and symphony of corn notes suggest that, if done right, you can create a great whiskey that doesn’t spend a lot of time in barrel. Very Highly Recommended

Balcones True Blue Corn Whiskey (122.6 proof – $60) – With the proof handwritten on the label by Balcones distiller Chip Tate, we expect that there will be some variance in the proof of this cask-strength whiskey from batch to batch. With a nice amber brown color, the True Blue Corn Whiskey has a sweet nose with caramel, honey, corn bread, bran and cinnamon. The entry is incredibly smooth considering that it’s cask strength. The first note is caramel which opens up to more cinnamon, cornbread, dark chocolate and brown sugar. The heat really comes in at the mid palate and sticks around through the finish.  The finish is extremely long with a fair amount of heat.  With more time in barrel and at a higher proof, some of the nice corn notes we loved in Baby Blue get lost with True Blue, but we love some of the more deep, lush, dark notes that we get here.

Balcones True Blue Corn Whiskey – With Baby Blue, Chip Tate proved that a young whiskey can have complexity, and with True Blue he shows that a cask strength whiskey can be approachable and very drinkable. While we’d probably pick the Baby Blue over the True Blue as our sipping whiskey, it’s hard to find a better entry point into the cask strength category than True Blue. Highly Recommended

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Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey and True Blue Corn Whiskey Review by
 

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About the author: Geoff Kleinman

 

+Geoff Kleinman, is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist, and has contributed to Playboy Magazine, Black Book Magazine and Essential Homme. Geoff holds certification with Bar Smarts Advanced, has judged many major spirits and cocktail competitions and is a Kentucky Colonel.

Website: http://www.drinkspirits.com

 

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  • AaronWF

    Thank you for this write up! I went out on a limb a month or two ago and picked up a bottle of Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Whiskey. I still can’t find but one review out there on the stuff. It was really the first young whiskey I tasted, and although I ended up enjoying the entire bottle, I concluded that it wasn’t the kind of whiskey I prefer. My tastes are rapidly changing as I make an effort to educate myself more about whiskey, but I want a bourbon to please me for up to three drinks in a row. While Cedar Ridge’s ‘Bourbon’ had some really interesting, pleasant and surprising notes, it was a bit too waxy for sustained drinking, and I chalked that up to its age.

    Because of this experience I avoided experimenting with Balcones Blue, but your review puts it on my list.

    I noticed in your WhiskeyFest article that you spent some time with the Koval distillers. I look forward to reading what you have to say about their new Lion’s Pride whiskies; you owe it to yourself to seek one out. I’ve just about polished off my bottle of the Dark Rye (spicy violet florals knock it outta the park!), and I’ve sampled the Dark Oat and regular Oat. The quality these whiskies bring to the table definitely broaden my awareness of the spectrum of flavors that can scratch my whiskey itch.

  • bubbatex

    I tried the Baby Blue Corn Whiskey over the holidays and, well, it just did not work for me. The first taste was the best (agree with your oak and sawdust comment) and then it was downhill from there. I guess I am more of a “traditional” bourbon/whiskey drinker.

    • http://www.drinkspirits.com Drink Spirits

      In many ways it’s apples and oranges to true whiskey. Did you try the Blue Corn with Ice?

  • James Ezell

    Really, this is not to my liking. I was hopeful, but it’s a huge disappointment. We had the Balcones Baby Blue along with some of the 2010 release Garrison Brothers Bourbon to compare. No contest. I’ll be sticking to Bourbon and Garrison Brothers.

    • http://www.drinkspirits.com Drink Spirits

      Haven’t tried the Garrison Brothers Bourbon yet. But that’s an apples to Oranges comparison as the Baby Blue is a young whiskey and it looks like the Garrison is fully aged.

  • Simon Tan

    Had this when visiting Fort Worth and asked for a Texas whiskey. It is quite delightful, plenty of vibrancy. No, it is not uber mellow and smooth but it is extremely flavorful and I certainly found it compelling enough to keep drinking.
    I like corn shine and this obviously starts with a very tasty base. Different from the Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon which starts with a much less desirable White Whiskey IMO that is then wonderfully transformed by aging.

  • DONALD F. HARWOOD

    WHEN I WAS IN THE MARINE CORPS IN 1958-59, I BOUGHT A CORN WHISKEY IN CALIFORNIA THAT HAD SUCH MELLO CORN TASTE THAT WAS WONDERFUL. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT BRAND BUT, IT CAME IN A LITTLE BROWN JUG AND WAS SUPER SMOOTH. I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THAT BEAUTIFUL TASTE EVER SINCE. DOES YOUR WHISKEY HAVE THAT WONDERFUL FLAVOR?

  • Old drunk

    Balcones baby blue reminds me of the north corolina moonshine i had last christmas. Is it true it is aged in one gallon plastic milk jugs?

  • http://www.examiner.com/spirits-in-houston/nicholas-krieger Nick Krieger

    I disagree with the author completely on this one. I found that Balcones’ Baby Blue whiskey was terrible. The batch I had tasted to me more like a tequila than a whiskey.

    • http://www.drinkspirits.com Drink Spirits

      Did you add any water to it?

  • Pingback: Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky Review | Drink Spirits

  • Aaron

    I got a feeling many think this is going to be much like regular grain whiskey. It’s not. This is blue corn whiskey and it will taste completely different. I love this stuff because it takes corn whiskey to new levels of depth and class. This is a cocktail drinkers drink, not for those thinking it’s gonna replace their bourbon on the shelf.

  • Aaron

    I highly recommend the Rumble Reserve by Balcones. It’s the barrel proof brandy made from Texas turbinado sugar, local honey, and mission figs. Like fireworks in your mouth and enough strength to need a good splash of water for savoring.

  • Jimmy Ralston

    I purchased a bottle of the Balcones Baby Blue about a month ago. First impressions were not good and after it set in my cabinet for a couple more weeks my impression is not getting better. The bottle now has a large amount of sediment that looks almost like fish poop. Long strings of interconnected sediment that looks like small worms. Won’t be buying another bottle ever.

 
 
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