In 2012, Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson founded the Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., which they state was the first craft bourbon and whiskey distillery in North Texas. While the mashbill percentages are not disclosed, Firestone & Robertson say it’s made up of Texas yellow dent corn, Texas soft red winter wheat, 6-row distillers malt, and their own proprietary strain of yeast that was captured from a Texas pecan nut — which they call the “Brazos.” No age statement is listed on the bottle, but it’s labeled as a straight bourbon making this at least four years old.
A blast of corn dominates upfront. A nice balance of fresh pecan pie, maple sugar candy, vanilla, banana, and a hint of oak follow. The nose conveys a hint of youth, but not in a negative way. This is a well balanced nose and a good start to the sip.
Soft and sweet - baking spices and pecan pie are noticeable at first, followed by brown butter and light vanilla. These are joined by a dash of peppery spice. While the spice adds an interesting presence, it seems to slightly throw off the great dynamic that the sweeter flavors develop. For such a mix of flavors I was also surprised at the lighter mouthfeel, and when combined with the unbalanced pepper, holds this above average sip from going to the next level.
An ever-so-slight dash of sweetness kicks of the finish, however it’s replaced almost instantly by a peppery and oak mixture, which dominates the rest of the time. This flavor combination clings to your mouth for an extremely long time. While the length is a pleasant surprise, its one dimensional finish ends this bourbon on a downward note compared to how the sip started.
TX Bourbon is certainly different - both in how it’s created and the resulting flavor profile. While there is no legal definition of what it means to be defined as a Texas Bourbon, TX embodies the Texas spirit through and through by sourcing all the ingredients for the mashbill from Texas. This includes doing research on what yeast strain would work best for their needs, and then according to Firestone & Robertson, finding the yeast on a single Texas pecan nut of all places. Romantic backstory of the yeast aside, at the end of the day this dedication to trying new things is what can make craft distilling so unique and refreshing.
On the flavor side, these locally sourced ingredients come together in a great way that feels totally new compared to other whiskeys in the marketplace. Don’t equate that statement to mean it’s a slam dunk bourbon, because it’s not. Yet its flavor profile feels fresh and enjoyable and shows that Firestone & Robertson have the potential to turn this into a highly regarded bourbon one day.
The value of this bourbon can be compared two different ways. Priced at $50, it’s in line, if not slightly less than what many craft distillers charge for their product. And in many cases, the craft product is younger and less developed. When compared to more mainstream distillers though, the $50 is high for what the product actually is, a younger bourbon with a unique, yet average flavor profile. Price is always a subjective value, but in this case it feels like TX Bourbon is priced right for what it is.
A Texas take on America’s Native Spirit, TX Bourbon delivers a unique sip that shows promise for this young distillery.
TX Bourbon in its present configuration shows promise. While the sip is average overall, it shows flashes of how great this bourbon could be as Firestone & Robertson refine their craft. In the meantime, the unique mashbill, including the yeast strain used, delivers a sip that is worth seeking out to try.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Firestone & Robertson Distilling Company. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.