As Perry Como’s song goes, “The stars at night are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas.” Another line needs to be added: “The bourbon is strong and you can’t go wrong (clap, clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas.”
Texas bourbon has hit the stratosphere lately, with brands like Garrison Brothers, Milam & Greene, TX Whiskey Ranch and Trinity River winning award after award. The state continues to release fantastic-tasting bourbon with bold flavors such as cinnamon, black cherry and licorice that perforate within the spirit.
Those spectacular flavors mostly come from the aging process. Texas is known for wild weather patterns and those fluctuations in hot and cold push the whiskey into the wood at a greater rate, producing more flavor at a faster speed.
So, what Texas bourbon should be on the buy list? We have ranked the top six bottles we believe to be worthy of a buy and also given you a little taste of what is to be expected.
6. Milam & Greene Triple Cask Bourbon
- A trio of women—Marsha Milam, master blender Heather Greene and master distiller Marlene Holmes—have produced something extraordinary. This blend of three aged bourbons creates a flavor profile full of baking spice, vanilla and fruit. This Triple Cask Bourbon is a perfect introduction to the Texas bourbon culture.
5. Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon
- If Texas bourbon had a patriarch, The Garrison Brothers would be it. Though it is less than 20 years old, The Garrison Brothers was the first legal whiskey distiller in the state. Sweet white corn is what the distillery hangs its hat on. Additional flavors of honey, baking spices and a deep red apple taste have propelled this small-batch bourbon to numerous awards.
4. Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Bourbon
- The fourth oldest distillery in Texas has only been open since 2006, but they have risen quickly to become a sought-after bourbon. With a mash bill like Pappy Van Winkle, this wheated bourbon produces flavors of crème brulee, cherry and a touch of orange peel. A hot finish caps off this bourbon, with a tinge of seared oak.
3. Iron Wolf Select Bourbon
- This high rye bourbon has won numerous awards, but its spiciness puts it on the list. It is an aggressive bourbon with oak and cinnamon as its leading players. I would compare the first sip to cinnamon rock candy mixed with maple syrup. It is a pairing that is unusual but works well in this bourbon. The heat and the spice set this bourbon apart from other Texas bourbons.
2. TX Straight Bourbon
- As the name implies, this is a true Texas bourbon. Get your six-shooter and cowboy hat on when sampling this whiskey. It’s a deeply flavored whiskey with flavors of vanilla and caramel that immediately attacks, but not in the wrong way. Sweet throughout, raw corn and black pepper kick in on the back end of the sip. When I think of a poster brand for Texas bourbon, this whiskey is on the billboard.
1. Blackland Pecan Brown Sugar Bourbon
- How do you go wrong with pecan and brown sugar? You don’t, and that’s why Blackland is No. 1 on our list. Blackland Distillery started in 2019 and hasn’t looked back. The secret is the addition of Muscovado sugar, which is unrefined cane sugar that contains natural molasses. It pairs well with the pecans, creating a toffee caramel flavor that is out of this world.
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