Houston is my hometown, and the one thing it hasn’t had is a distillery. Distilling is surprisingly new to Texas — Tito’s was the sole operator in the state for years — but now folks are diving headlong into their stills here. And now, finally, Houston has its first distilling operation it can call its own: Yellow Rose, named after the, well, not the state flower (the bluebonnet) but the floral touchstone of Texas, at least.
Here we look at the company’s Bourbon and its new Blended Whiskey (just launched in May). A rye, not tasted, is also available. Thoughts follow.
Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey – A blend of various whiskeys from various sources (including Bourbon), with no grain neutral spirit added. Essentially Canadian in style, this is a surprisingly good but simple sipper that would also make for a great little base for many a whiskey cocktail. It’s got plenty of sweetness to start out with, and ample fruit behind it, a virtual cocktail of apple, cherry, and citrus at play. Modest grain makes an appearance on the nose and on the back of the body, balancing well with the fruitier characteristics. The finish is light and clean, in keeping with everything that’s come before it. This is hardly a “thinking” whiskey that you’ll sip and savor, but it’s definitely a fit for all the Texans I know, where whiskey is consumed on hot days, poured over lots of ice, and downed, quickly, by the glassful. 80 proof. Reviewed: Batch #1. B+ / $32
Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey – Heavy corn on the nose, clearly a young whiskey (100% corn) that Yellow Rose actually makes itself in pot stills and which is aged in small barrels (10 gallons in size) for a mere 6 months. Rough and tumble, with notes of mesquite fires, burning coal, and a hefty dose of popcorn, it’s frontier Bourbon through and through, brash and fiery. One of those micro-Bourbons that I’d like to see at about 5 or 6 years of age. 92 proof. Reviewed: Batch #8. C+ / $65