Garrison Brothers, my neighbors down the road in Hye, Texas, recently released its 2022 Cowboy Bourbon, an annual release that we have somehow missed reviewing to date. Drawn from 8- and 9-year old barrels and bottled uncut and unfiltered, it’s one of the distillery’s most prized expressions. Let’s give it a whirl.
The reddish-hued spirit is spicy and racy on the nose, and there’s clearly lots going on up front. Big aromas of cloves and cinnamon red hots are complemented by a gritty barrel char and a bold stewed fruit character that hits almost like a mulled wine. All of this comes together explosively on an immersive and blazingly hot palate, notes of chocolate, cherry juice, dried raspberries, and plenty of barrel char. Sharp, fruity, spicy, and woody all at once, it’s a whiskey that seems to know no boundaries, and it never lets its foot off the gas. While sipping this at full strength is manageable, one quickly gets the impression that it’s not the smartest idea should one have plans for the following day. Sure enough, water’s a sensible but also a flavorful choice, bringing out notes of sweet tea, a strong vanilla thread, and more fruit. Those clove and char notes — laced with touches of chocolatey mocha — hit the finish with even more spice, but all of the above are welcome.
All told, it’s one of my favorite Garrison Brothers releases to date. Can’t wait to see 2023’s offering.
A / $250 / garrisonbros.com