Review: Balcones Distilling Baby Blue and Rumble

The uninitiated may think of Texas as the frontier, a place where whiskey is probably as common as water. Not so: In fact, for years, Tito’s has been the state’s only legal distillery.

Now a few upstarts are coming out of the skunkworks, and the state has its first whiskey since Prohibition. Operating out of Waco, Texas, Balcones Distilling doesn’t just make the first whiskey in the state, it also makes, as far as anyone can tell, the only whiskey made from blue corn — in this case, Atole, a Hopi blue corn meal. The distillery’s first two products — Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whisky, and an odd offshoot, Balcones Rumble — are reviewed below.

Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whisky – Wow, intense. Clearly a young corn-based whisky without a lot of time in the barrel. The starchy character (“white dog,” in the parlance) is overpowering on the nose alone, with a huge, grainy body and a finish redolent of petrol. Some sweetness makes this drinkable, but like so many younger whiskies, it isn’t easy going. Why this wasn’t left in the barrel for another three or four years is a mystery to me. Batch BB10-10. 92 proof. C / $45
[BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Balcones Rumble - Perhaps aware that Baby Blue was not made for easy consumption, Balcones created Rumble, not exactly a liqueur (it’s a serious 94 proof) but close enough. Made from Texas wildflower honey, Turbinado sugar, and Mission figs, Rumble looks like whiskey but tastes like something else. That Balcones corniness is apparent on the nose, but it’s a much sweeter spirit on the whole. Only the fig character really comes through, the rest is mainly a sweeter version of Baby Blue. Batch R10-10. C+ / $36

Update 2/2013: Tasted new releases of both of these products, with considerably different notes, especially for Rumble, which (at least now) is far more worthwhile than this review would indicate. Hopefully, new reviews coming soon.

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5 Responses to Review: Balcones Distilling Baby Blue and Rumble

  1. How can I purchase a bottle of the Baby Blue liquer?

  2. I would like to buy a bottle of your Baby Blue whiskry. I am 65 years old and primarly a rye whiskey drinker and would like to try your Baby blue whisky– so, where can I purchase your product.. Thanks, J. C.

  3. I Joe Chambers, purchased your Baby Blue blur corn whisky about a couple of months ago and after tasting it on two occasions, one shot each time, is with out a doubt the worst tasting whisky in my life. both times I took a shot it made me nausiute and left the worst tast in my mouth. Suggestion: take this CRAP off the market- it ain’t wort a s***. i WILL BE SENDING IT BACK TO YOU AND REALLY DON’T GIVE A—– WHAT YOU DO WITH THIS BULLS—. Who do you think you are to make this CRAPP and sell it to the public. My friends asked me “where in this world did I git this CRAPP. I mean your product is the SHITS!

  4. Hey Joe, I’m really sorry you didn’t like the Blue Corn Whisky. It has won more major awards than most craft spirits (including double gold) It was also rated 5 stars by Paul Pacult, editor of the Spirit Journal. That being said, if you don’t like the flavor, that’s a purely subjective call. I wouldn’t pay 1 dollar for the finest bottle of white wine because I just don’t like it.
    You ought to return the bottle in person, get a tour of the distillery, and taste some of the other amazing spirits Balcones produces….they have at least 6 different styles and i’m sure you’ll find at least one to your liking.

  5. There is a distillery in New Mexico called Don Quixote that has a blue corn bourbon, the product has been around for a while. So Baby Blue is in good company.

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