Classification: Straight Corn Whiskey Aged in Tequila Casks
Company: Balcones Distilling
Distillery: Balcones Distilling
Release Date: May 2022
Age: 5 Years
Mashbill: 100% Corn
Color: Golden Hay
MSRP: $60 (2022)
Tequila | Honey | Vanilla | Touch of mint ice cream | Light powdered sugar
Agave | Salted caramel | Sweet corn | Vanilla | White grape | Light citrus
Burnt orange | Dry oak | Chili spice | Slight earthiness
A boundary-pushing, out-of-your-comfort zone kind of whiskey.
It’s taken a long time for American whiskey to move into the tequila side of barrel finishing. There’s even a long-standing rumor that Woodford spent a considerable amount of time trying to develop one, only to come up short and ended up canning the whole project. Some years ago we had the opportunity to taste Balcones whiskey finished in tequila casks and were pleasantly surprised by it. We wondered if the odd couple pairing would be the next big thing.
Years later, it still isn’t, but it's also far less scarce than it once was. This could be due to brands trying to develop something that could create a spark in the market, consumers developing a more adventurous palate for out-of-the-box whiskeys, or producers finally figuring out what makes this particular whiskey finish work.
Balcones Big Baby is perhaps more than meets the eye. It’s a 100% corn whiskey, it’s the company’s first bottled in bond whiskey that's aged 5 years, and of course it’s aged in used tequila barrels. The result is a whiskey that is unfamiliar, sort of strange at first, yet quickly grows on you after every sip. Leave it to Balcones’ grit that they managed to crack the tequila finish nut. Even more impressive, they show how they can take this tequila barrel finishing further with the utterly impressive Lost Lantern 2022 Single Cask #11: Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt Aged in a Tequila Barrel. Yet, Big Baby makes its own statement, and it benefits a great deal from its 100% corn mash base. It’s sweet and light, and takes the tequila finishing well. Big Baby is not overly offensive as you’d assume it might be, and while drinking it you’ll find yourself taking pause and asking yourself if you like it, and then, how much you like it. It’s an unfamiliar whiskey that produces an unfamiliar drinking experience, which in itself says a lot.