Review: Charles Goodnight Texas Bourbon 6 Years Old

Review: Charles Goodnight Texas Bourbon 6 Years Old

California’s Foley Family Wines recently branched out into spirits, and while its gin isn’t a big risk, launching a Texas whiskey certainly is. Made from Texas-grown corn, the high-rye (35%) bourbon is aged in-state in new charred oak barrels for 6 years before bottling… in California. Ouch! Will the perennially Texas proud accept a Texas bourbon that goes into bottle on the west coast?

I may not be able to answer that one, but I can tell you about how what’s in the bottle acquits itself.

Answer: If you like Texas bourbon, you’ll love Charles Goodnight (which is named for a frontier-era cattleman who invented the chuckwagon and was a pioneer in using barbed wire).

Kicking things off is the whiskey’s aggressive, immersive nose. The rumbling char endemic to Texas whiskey is immediately represented, complemented by persistent notes of maple syrup and macerated raisins. Tobacco, saddle leather, burnt toast — all of this is par for the course from pretty much any Texas whiskey, here coming across with all the subtlety of a cattle drive.

That sweet edge is what keeps this whiskey from getting lost in a sea of similar, overblown offerings. The blend of raisin and maple on the attack give the bourbon an immediate charm, evoking fig liqueur and the syrup at the bottom of a jar of Maraska cherries. This punch of fruity sweetness is enduring and lingering, keeping the well-toasted barrel char at bay long enough to evoke the freshness of the orchard, a pot of jam, and perhaps, dare I say it, sunny California.

Rest assured, that gravelly Texasness isn’t washed away completely. Bold overtones of blackened barrels and dried tobacco leaves aren’t ever far from view, clawing at the back of the throat. However, it’s all kept in check. “Balanced” isn’t a word I use often with Texas hooch, but it’s not inappropriate here, thanks to all that fruit in the mix. Some cola, vanilla, and roasted almond notes take the finish in yet another direction, keeping everything that’s come before in check. Water’s a non-starter. This is best at full strength (57.5% abv).

While it’s not something I’d sip on every day, it’s definitely worth trying — especially if you’re familiar with the more mainstream Texas whiskey offerings. Yippee ki-yay, y’all.

115 proof.

B+ / $75 /

Charles Goodnight Texas Bourbon 6 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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