Texan distiller Balcones to release first rye whiskeys

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Texan whisky maker Balcones Distilling is to release its first rye whiskeys, including an addition to its core range.

Balcones Texas Rye 100 Proof, bottled at 50% ABV, is made with four different kinds of rye for a rich chocolate character along with more traditional rye spice notes.

Due to be launched in the US on March 10, it is due to come to the UK from late March onwards, distributed by Maverick Drinks.

Balcones, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, is also releasing a limited-edition Cask Strength expression of Texas Rye, bottled at 62.5% ABV. It will be available from selected UK retailers.

Both expressions of Texas Rye have been twice pot-distilled, made with 100% rye. This comprises 80% raw Elbon rye from north and north-west Texas, including some Crystal, Chocolate and Roasted rye varieties to finish the recipe off.

The 100 Proof expression will join Balcones’ core range of products alongside Baby Blue, Brimstone, Texas No 1 Single Malt and Rumble.

Rye will remain the distillery’s focus for the first part of the year and will then be followed by the release of a series of 10th-anniversary commemorative bottlings throughout the second half of the year, with plans for 10 in all.

Head distiller Jared Himstedt said: “We are so proud to finally be releasing our first-ever Texas Rye expression this year to celebrate our first decade as a distillery.

“The final rye mash bill that we’ve landed on is primarily made up of Texas-grown raw Elbon rye but also utilises three different specialty ryes from Weyermann Specialty Malts.

“If you’re familiar with the way we traditionally put mash bills together, you’ll see this is a slight variation on our standard method of producing a whiskey made from only one type of grain in that while we did stick to a 100% rye mash bill, we did so by using four different kinds of rye for a rich chocolate character along with more traditional ‘rye spice’ notes.

“During the first quarter of 2018 we are focusing 85% of our production capacity solely to rye which means putting nearly 1,000 new barrels of rye whiskey into our warehouses.

“These two products – Cask Strength and 100 Proof Rye – are a culmination in several years of exploration in our distilling journey. We hope Balcones fans will enjoy them as much as we do.”

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