Chip Tate at Texas’s Balcones Distilling isn’t the only guy on the cob that’s using exotic blue corn to make Bourbon. Said to be especially difficult to work with due to its high oil content, blue corn makes for unique and memorable whiskey.
Made in New Mexico, Don Quixote is made from 75% local organic blue corn, 23% wheat, and 2% barley. The grains are naturally malted and uncooked before mashing. Made in a unique, moonshine-era “thumper” still, Don Quixote goes into new American oak barrels for four years before bottling.
The pure gold-colored whiskey is heavy on alcohol notes — surprising for a spirit at a typical 80 proof — along with a hint of corn tortillas here and there. The palate has more of a story to tell. Rich on the tongue, it’s loaded with plenty of flavor. Spicy and chewy, you get an exotic incense character here, lots of citrus, and just a touch of popcorn on the end. Despite the big mouthfeel, it’s surprisingly restrained in the tannin department. Mild vanilla notes creep up in the finish, but the wood influence is otherwise relatively muted, leaving the mashbill to tell most of the tale. Overall this whiskey tastes fresh and easy, though it’s a little boozier than I’d like. Definitely worth a look.