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Texas Distillery Takes Top Honors

Texas Single Malt a big winner

By Wes Marshall, 10:00AM, Tue. Mar. 26, 2013

Texas Distillery Takes Top Honors

The Ultimate Beverage Challenge held their major annual competition last week and there were some wonderful surprises, including one that made all Texas whisky drinkers proud.

The Challenge even had the ultimate rarity in a competition involving alcohol: a unanimous 100 point score. That particular award went to Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Perfect scores are rare because every judge has an opinion and when serious amounts of alcohol are added, they feel ever freer about voicing them. The judges also considered inexpensive drinks and chose E & J Gallo’s Brandy as a winner. It is ridiculously inexpensive and for anyone who makes mixed drinks with brandy, this thrifty version is a no-brainer.

The judging panel was made up of a combination of authors, buyers, bar owners, and other assorted experts. These judges obviously knew their whiskies. For Bourbon, they selected Blanton's Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon, a gorgeous sipping whiskey with sufficient vanilla and honey aromas to demand it be drunk neat. They also selected our favorite new Rye whiskey, Knob Creek Rye. In the Tennessee category, George Dickel No. 12 hit the home run. The Irish produce a full range of spectacular adult beverages to which we are devoted, and again, the critics made excellent choices when recognizing Jameson 18 Years Old for a major brand and Redbreast 15 Years Old as its pot still variety.

But the winner in the American Whiskey category is the one to make Texas whisky aficionados proud. Up the road in Waco, they now have two reasons for great civic pride: amazing Hoops wiz Brittney Griner (better than Jordan?) and their dazzling local distillery, Balcones Distilling. Balcones 1 Texas Single Malt has now won 15 major awards. This whisky is Head Distiller Chip Tate’s masterpiece. Congratulations to Chip and everyone on his team!

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