Garrison Brothers Guadalupe (2024)


Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Tawny Port Casks

Company: Garrison Brothers Distillery

Distillery: Garrison Brothers Distillery

Release Date: February 2024

Proof: 107

Age: 6 Years (4 year old straight bourbon finished for an additional 2 years in tawny port casks)

Mashbill: 74% Corn, 15% Wheat, 11% Malted Barley

Color: Mahogany

MSRP: $150 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release

Garrison Brothers Distillery is located in Hye, Texas which is about an hour’s drive west of Austin, Texas. The distillery was founded in 2005, making them the first and oldest whiskey distillery in Texas. The distillery was founded by Dan Garrison, who had left a position in software marketing to follow his dream. With help from friends, family, and the late Dave Pickerell, Garrison Brothers Distillery overcame challenges specific to Texas. This includes aging whiskey in the state’s dry heat, which tends to draw the whiskey out of the barrels much faster than usual, resulting in a lot lost to leaky barrels and evaporation. Distillery operations are headed by Master Distiller Donnis Todd, and according to the company’s website the distillery is owned by the Garrison family and a few friends. Their first bourbon, called “Young Gun,” was released in 2010, which, according to the company, was the first whiskey ever legally made in Texas.

This year’s edition marks the fourth release of Guadalupe, which was introduced as a limited edition in 2015. According to the company, for this release Master Distiller Donnis Todd “selected 122 thirty-gallon bourbon barrels that had been originally filled in 2016. The Angel’s share losses were about 13 gallons per barrel, meaning there was just 2065 gallons of bourbon to be used. This liquid was entered into thirty-five 59-gallon port casks in 2020.” The whiskey was made with a sweet mash of food-grade corn, soft red winter wheat, and malted barley which all originated from Garrison Brothers home state of Texas. The whiskey was proofed down using rainwater collected at the distillery. A total of 10,500 numbered bottles were released, with the first 1,000 exclusively released at the distillery in early February 2024.


A rich mix of candied dark fruit combines with dense seasoned oak and sweet vanilla custard results in three distinct pillars to the aroma, of which each is intense on its own. A few minutes in the glass goes a long way to give the whiskey some needed time to breathe, which in turn gives the individual scents an opportunity to find better cohesiveness. Above all, it’s bold and interesting.


Flavors explode on the tongue, with black raspberry and plum up front. Peppery seasoned oak follows, giving way to a savory undertone that persists through the remainder of the sip. Hints of tobacco, dark chocolate, and coffee-infused crème brulée follow, capped off by emerging cinnamon spice. Like the aroma, the sip is intense, coming across higher than its proof suggests making it equal parts bold and interesting just like the aroma.


The flavors on the sip persist into the finish, with cinnamon spice and peppery oak carrying over most prominently. The persistent undercurrent of peppery seasoned oak becomes more pronounced as dark fruits, chocolate, and custard flavors hold on as the finish fades. It’s a nice ending, and while the overall sip has a lot going on that doesn’t quite strike a perfect balance, its flavors are really enjoyable if you appreciate a bold flavorful whiskey.


The most striking aspect of Garrison Brothers Guadalupe is its unique flavor profile. It’s bold and not at all like just about every other bourbon out there. It’s a polarizing whiskey as a result, as it will turn off those who seek out a smooth, traditionally-flavor sip, but excite those who are looking for a bold, unique pour.

Texas bourbons are typically robust and punchier than their rest-of-the-country counterparts due to the dry air and more extreme heat cycling the state is known for. This is even more accentuated as smaller 30 gallon barrels were used as compared to the standard 53 gallon typically used to age the bourbon, as smaller barrels mean there is more surface area by volume for the aging whiskey to interact with.

Finishing bourbon in tawny port casks typically adds dark fruit flavors and an element of dryness to it, which is often most notable in the finish. The bourbon produced by Garrison Brothers typically has a strong underlying flavor profile, which makes for a risky endeavor when you try to marry additional flavors by finishing. Guadalupe’s intermingling flavors are so strong that they never quite come together fully, but somehow it just works. It’s a dark fruit, heavy seasoned oak, sweet custard dessert-like whiskey that goes off with a bang, producing one of the most unique bourbons you’ll taste this year.


Garrison Brothers Distillery puts a lot of effort into their whiskey, from distillation to packaging, and as a result they’re not bashful when it comes to pricing their products in premium territory. Their standard 94 proof 3 year old bourbon clocks in at $75, and their most well-known limited edition, Cowboy Bourbon, is a barrel proof 6 year old that listed for $250 in 2023. Taking a 4 year old, finishing in port barrels for an additional 2 years, and releasing at 107 proof puts Guadalupe right on the mark when compared to other Garrison Brothers releases’ price points.

Compared to a broader range of similarly aged and finished bourbons, Guadalupe comes in on the higher side, so it is not a bargain buy by that measure. Fireside Port Barrel Finish heralding from Denver Colorado comes in at $65, Traverse City Whiskey Co. Port Barrel Finish asks $60, Chattanooga Whiskey Tawny Port Cask Finish went for $45, and the readily-available Angel’s Envy Port Finish comes in at only $50.

But Garrison Brothers whiskeys aren’t ones you buy because of the price point. They’re whiskeys with a strong, uncommon flavor profile. Guadalupe adds an additional layer of flavor from its tawny port barrel finish that makes it even more unusual, and as a result, desirable. Consumers looking for a smooth, traditional pour, will find Guadalupe off-putting and way overpriced. But for fans of unique, rich flavor profiles, especially those who are fans of Garrison Brothers’ style of whiskey making, Guadalupe is priced as expected.


Combining a flavorful Texas bourbon with a tawny port barrel finishing makes for a memorable, dessert-like sip that will appeal to those who like bold, unique whiskeys.

Garrison Brothers certainly isn’t making “Kentucky” bourbon. Clearly, as they are located in Texas and technically can’t, but what I’m talking about is their bourbon does not taste anything like typical Kentucky bourbons, and it doesn’t pretend to. While Kentucky distilled bourbon comprises about 95% of the volume of total bourbon produced and sets a baseline for comparison, we are seeing more and more distilleries located in other states aim for flavor profiles that are unique to their regions. As a result, we should not expect these regional bourbons to taste like their popular Kentucky bourbon counterparts.

Garrison Brothers Distillery uses fairly high-quality grains along with smaller barrels, and subjects them to Texas heat. The result is a bold, punchy, and rich flavor profile, but it’s polarizing and won't be for everyone. Adding tawny port barrel finishing does not make the bourbon any less polarizing, and might even make it more contentious as it goes further down its unique flavor rabbit hole. Dark fruit, seasoned oak, and vanilla custard form the bourbon’s pillars, and make for an unlikely combination, and they’re delivered with bold intensity. Ultimately, this is a must-have for Garrison Brothers fans who enjoy pushing the distillery’s boundary of flavor profiles, most notably into sweeter territory with this release.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

March 6, 2024
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