Author Mack McConnell is a contributing writer for Cocktail Enthusiast, and he also runs the Taster’s Club Scotch of the Month.
The Hye, Texas-based Garrison Brothers Distillery is touted as the first legal distillery in the state. And inside this small Hill Country operation, the Garrison Brothers team is crafting small batches of Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Apparently they’re doing a fine job too, because the bourbon’s already received praise from the American Distilling Institute’s Craft Spirits Conference and the San Francisco Spirits Competition.
And over the last few years (they were just permitted in 2007) , they’ve developed a style that has allowed them to put out consistently solid whiskey. One of their best weapons? Corn. And lots of it. Garrison uses Yellow Dent corn, which, as far as corn goes, has the highest fermentable sugar content. The distillery’s current formula is 74 percent corn (bourbon only requires 51%), 15% soft red winter wheat and 11% malt. And their whiskey is known for the caramel and butterscotch (and a bit of fruit) flavors that this corn brings to their product.
After distillation, the artisan process continues, as each bottle is hand-dipped in wax, hand-numbered and signed by the distiller. When Garrison Brothers finally ships bottles out for consumption, it’s a bit of an emotional experience. From their blog –
It feels like I just put my kids on a school bus and sent them off on their own for the first time. I can only hope that they will be adopted by a family or individual who loves fine straight bourbon as much as I do. If the bottles find good homes, it is my hope they will be treated like the fine individuals they are. I hope they won’t get blended in with the wrong crowd, such as vodkas, brown vodkas, Cokes, Sprites and cucumber-infused cocktails.
Color: Deep copper.
Nose: Lots of warm caramel, butterscotch and vanilla, plus a bit of coconut and nutmeg.
Taste: The corn sweetness is most noticeable, and mingles with a mild sour flavor. I also taste dates and other dark fruits toward the back.
Finish: Quite long. It’s smooth and silky with flavors of dark melted sugar and a bit of gingerbread.
For now, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon is only available in Texas. So if you’d like to sample some for yourself, consider making the trip.
- 50% Alcohol by Volume
For more from Mack McConnell, check out his series on West Coast Whiskeys.