Texas Whisk(e)y Comparison: Ironroot Harbinger 115 vs Balcones Blue Corn
The tale of two Texas whiskey's. No, these aren't a perfect match - Balcones is 46% ABV and Ironroot Harbinger 115 is 57.5% ABV but both are corn forward whiskeys created in pot stills (one a Kentucky pot still, the other from Speyside Scotland). But my main objective was to give you an idea of the diversity of spirits coming out of the Lone Star State.
Watch the Video
BALCONES BABY BLUE (46% ABV)
A Texas craft original. Aged for 12 months, this does not drink like a young whisky. In fact, feel free to sip on this one while chatting with friends. That is how I discovered how drinkable it really is. Vanilla permeates this whisky from front to back with some nice corn tortillas in the middle and finishes with an interesting raspberry note. Made with Hopi Blue Corn, it is a fascinating whisky that shows the expertise of its distiller with how it handles such a young age so elegantly.
IRONROOT HARBINGER (57.5% ABV)
I have a serious man crush on this distillery. The distillers, brothers Jonathan and Robert Lakarish are fans of French techniques in making spirits, using terms like elevage and terrior. But while there is a refined edge to this whiskey, Texas is ever-present. Being a heavy corn whiskey (using Purple, Bloody Butcher, Flint, and Yellow Dent Corn with a hint of rye), it brings on flavors you don't expect. There is plum, dark fruits, cinnamon baking spice, and the mouthfeel is exquisite. It is hard to believe how these guys have handled 32 months in a barrel in Texas heat. But that is what elevage is all about - learning how to manage your casks to produce the finest spirits. Balcones is easy drinking and Ironroot is rich. Both will do you nicely depending on what mood or circumstance you're in. Bravo to Texas whisk(e)y.