Review: Garrison Brothers Guadalupe and Balmorhea Bourbons (2024)

Review: Garrison Brothers Guadalupe and Balmorhea Bourbons (2024)

Our friends at Texas-based Garrison Brothers have new special releases of both their Guadalupe and Balmorhea bottles hitting the market. We sampled both, and thoughts follow.

Garrison Brothers Guadalupe Bourbon (2024) – This is the fourth year for Guadalupe, with a release of 10,500 bottles available. The unique maturation of this whiskey starts with four years in white American oak casks followed by two years in tawny port barrels from Portugal. The slightly ruddy hue is a clear nod to the Port influence, and the nose picks up on that front, melding a deep barrel char character with heavy notes of black fruit, a bit of tar, and a slight hint of maple syrup. The whiskey needs a little time in glass to settle down and let some of its char-heavy character evaporate, but when it does those fruit-driven elements really take over — in a good way. Chewy raisin, bittersweet chocolate, and a growing coffee element pair well with the lingering and more rustic elements from the initial barrel, with a cocktail cherry on top for the finish. The longer it sits in glass, the more these flavors begin to coalesce and balance one another out. More complex and immersive than the more aggressively sweet 2022 release (linked above), though I’ve warmed up to it somewhat since my original encounter. That said: Plan on sitting with the 2024 for awhile to maximize its charms. 107 proof. A- / $150 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Garrison Brothers Balmorhea Bourbon (2024) – Balmorhea — a charity-focused bottle that benefits the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, is also double-barreled, this one starting with four years in new American white oak barrels, followed by one more year in a second new American white oak barrel. (Previous editions have used oak from different forests for the two barrels; no word on wood sourcing this year, though.) Unlike Guadalupe (and other Garrison special editions), Balmorhea has year-round availability. Coffee-brown in the glass, this is Garrison Brothers at peak Garrison Brothers, taking everything you know about the brand and amping at up another notch. The nose is dense with wood and char, showcasing coffee bean, oxidized wine, saddle leather, and fresh-cut lumber — all the fixins to survive a cool night at the ranch. The whiskey positively broods in the glass, with layers of cloves and more coffee, barbecue char, and that inimitable, oxidized Madeira quality that I’ve remarked on in prior vintages. Dusky and increasingly herbal as the finish builds, the drinker is left with lingering notes of rosemary, accented by ample notes of mesquite smoke. 115 proof. B+ / $180 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM RESERVEBAR]

Garrison Brothers Guadalupe Bourbon (2024)




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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