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Balcones Brimstone

(70cl, 53%)

Balcones Brimstone

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Balcones Brimstone Bottling Note

American craft distiller Balcones created this smoky corn whisky, fittingly named the Brimstone, by smoking the whisky itself rather than the grain. It is innovative techniques such as this which are creating a buzz around American whisk(e)y at the moment.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Barbecue, steaks, brown sugar, raisins, honey roast pork. It's all there, a Texan aroma for a Texan whisky.

Palate: Peppery and sweet in equal quantities with some herbal undertones and BBQ sauce overtones.

Finish: The finish is like a pepper-rubbed steak with a little charcoal too!

Overall: What's not to like about this big smoky whisky? Brimstone is an incredibly apt name for this barbecue of a dram. There is no pretension here.

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Balcones Brimstone Reviews

Texas Laphroaig

I can see how this is a love it or hate it whiskey. It starts off with an almost unpleasant smoked food taste. It reminded me of Chechil and Lapsang Souchong or like licking a bbq pit. However the more you drink it the less you notice the smoke and the more you notice all the complex flavors it has to offer. It’s comparable to an Islay scotch in that way. Flavors of rock candy, salted toffee, grilled corn, butter and brisket burnt ends. I want to buy a few bottles of this just to cellar because I never want to run out of this stuff.

3rd June 2020

Like drinking a bonfire

Dominic Roskrow said that this tasted like scraping the burnt meat off the bbq, griding it with charcoal and adding that to a bourbon. Its a pretty accurate description of this whisky but if you like Smokey whiskys, this is a must have in the cabinet.

I personally love it but it's an acquired taste.

12th April 2020

Texas comes to the cabinet. Try it!

Different in all the best ways. I love a peaty scotch (Lagavulin is my fave). This is not that ... but excellent. Smoky but not mediciny. This is a great try for anyone that likes smoke in their whiskey. Surprisingly even and smooth start to the wonderful smoky finish.

20th October 2019

Nice and smoky

Very, very well done. Single malt scotch feel but in a bourbon whiskey. For those that like smoky, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a Laphroig, Ardbeg or Lagavulen fan, you’ll like this one.

23rd February 2019

Adventurous Whiskey

I found a lot of depth in this whiskey. I wasn't sold at first but as I made my way through the first glass, I gained an appreciation for its flavor. Maybe not my favorite but a good one to try. I'd probably give it 4.5 stars.

15th July 2018

Adventurous Whiskey

There's a lot of depth to the flavor of this whiskey. I wasn't sold at first but as I made my way through the glass I furthered my appreciation of it. Maybe not my favorite but it's a good one to try.

15th July 2018

For the adventurous - It's not normal whisky.

This whisky divides opinion more than any other but it tastes like no other whisky so that is not surprising. I love it but I'll add that if you want a traditional whisky experience don't even think about it. This is not peat smoke but a wild bush fire smoke. Burning wood and scrub bush with Tabasco sauce poured on top. For people that like to experience something a bit way out it's for you. Texas in a glass. Don't bother if you want a typical profile.

21st March 2018


Different can be good, intense can be good. But this is just not good (to me). I poured it for a friend who liked it but couldn't get through a whole glass of it, which says something about its drinkability. Maybe this should only be sold in half bottles.

25th August 2017

A taste of campfire and cigars in a bottle

If you like a good cigar with your whisky, this will do the trick in a non-smoking establishment. I'm not talented enough to name all of the subtle flavors, but I can call out the primary -- smoke. It's quite different, and 30 minutes after finishing my first glass I could swear I smoked a good cigar around a campfire. Not a whisky I would use for most cocktails (although the smoked manhattan wouldn't need any artsy smoking with this base), but I like it.

31st July 2017


This is one of my favorites. Like a Texas campfire, relaxing and delicious.

26th June 2017

Smokey firery bbq in liquid form

Sample, 3cl. Was taken aback on first sip. Nothing like I've ever tried before. It really is a smokey firery Texas BBQ in liquid form. The aftertaste is everlasting. It's not unpleasant, but I wouldn't buy a full bottle.

7th January 2017


Had this as part of a tasting set. Utterly revolting. The only whisky I've never finished. After three attempts, it went down the sink.

2nd January 2017

Give it a chance

I did not like Brimstone after my first tasting. It sat in the back of the cabinet until I ran out of my usual stuff. I pulled it out and gave it a second shot. I had to push myself through about half of the bottle until I started enjoying it. I have had similar experiences with very smoky scotches. Not my favorite whiskey, but I like it enough that I have continued to buy

7th February 2016

Essence of Texas BBQ

My husband and I tasted this whiskey and immediately ran out and bought a bottle. It's not like a traditional peated cask and I can see that that would make it a polarizing spirit. It's definitely in a world of it's own, though, so don't think you're getting a traditional peated cask. Think that you're getting a traditional Texas BBQ in liquid form and you won't be disappointed.

31st January 2016

Only quality from Balcones

This is a very delicious whiskey. I feel like im around the campfire when i have a glass. Has a nice sweetness to start and a very nice subtle warmth down your throat as you finish. A must try especially living in waco i have a little easier access to some of their spirts. This is not for everyone but if you like something different with a little heat do give this a try

22nd January 2016

Interestingly smoky

A totally different 'sort' of smoke to that you get when smoking the grain. This reminds me of cold-smoked meats (in a good way!).

22nd January 2016


Can't understand the negative reviews on here - it does exactly what it says on the tin!?!

The smoke is almost overpowering - the liquid-BBQ is epic, and... well... What were you expecting?

13th January 2016

Quite pleasant

I didn't get any notes as dramatic as those described here, but it was nevertheless pleasant. It's got a smoky nose and smells quite young and a little bit rough but after being allowed to breathe it develops. I got subtle honey sweetness on the palate, developing into a kick and a smoky finish. It doesn't taste as strong as you'd expect for 53%

Not sure I'd buy a bottle for this price, but it is nice.

11th November 2015


Tastes like burnt plastic, horribly overpriced and not pleasant to any sense. After tasting the same distillery's delicious baby blue corn whiskey I expected so much more but this is just abysmal. Undrinkable under any circumstance. Tried to dilute with water, with ice, with coke even, and it does not get any better. Makes me sad every time glancing the bottle in my cabinet.

31st October 2015

Don't buy an entire bottle

Try this first - it's not to everyone's taste. I tried it at a trade show and thought it was utter garbage. And I mean absolutely undrinkable. Awful, almost synthetic nose and on the palate it was completely unremarkable. Massively offputting rubbish in my opinion but by all means give it a go...

26th October 2015

The only dram I ever could not finish, and poured down a drain

Nose : rubber
Initial taste : burning tires and other rubbish
Finish : Yuck.

I prefer heavily peated whisk(e)y but good gawd this was bad.

2nd August 2015

Love this stuff

Not an everyday drink, Brimstone does not have the peaty smokiness of say Lagavulin. It does have the fire-smoked flavor of Lapsang Souchong tea. This is something very different in the world of corn whiskey. This is something you need to be in the mood for, and when the mood strikes you, there is nothing better.

15th March 2015

Novel and barbecue-y

Even without the scrub oak addition, this is a well made and pretty smooth corn whiskey. The smokiness is not as strong as you'd expect and hits you during the palate and not really at the finish, less like a scotch. The overall mouthfeel and flavor are missing something, but this one is so novel you probably won't notice. I enjoyed this with peppermint chocolate, raspberries, and nutty cheese. A fun whiskey.

18th January 2015

Try it once, decide for yourself

Balcones Brimstone - Hits your nose with leather, charcoal and bacon salt. The taste is loaded with smoke and toasted wood. Bit of a sharp finish, bit perhaps the name is warning of that! Literally leaves smoldering embers in your mouth; the finish lasts practically all night which isn't strictly a good thing.

7th January 2015

Barbecued whiskey

A whiskey to recreate tending a Texas barbecue pit. Scrub oak has a wonderful 'sweetness' that differentiates itself from other woods. Seemingly tame for 106 proof. A great alternative to some of the peatier Islays.

16th November 2014


Can't really say I loved or hated this. The novelty factor is amazing and worth getting together with some friends to get a bottle, personally I couldn't handle more than a glass of this freakshow. Smells like BBQs and more accurately BBQ sauce lathered pork, tastes like smokey bacon,....for ever...all the way to the next day and beyond. Imagine Frazzles burps but with booze added and turned up to 11.

17th October 2014

Brimming with big hitting flavour

Love this whiskey- if you like big bold flavours and smoke. And for all that, superbly drinkable. Try it with barbecued food.

6th September 2014


I am in the camp that LOVES this whiskey. I enjoy reading the reviews, I don't recall a whiskey that people are so divided on. People either love or hate it, no one "kinda" likes Brimstone. Definitely try before you buy. Me, I have 5 bottles ;-) wouldn't want to run out.

27th August 2014

Praise from a scotch drinker.....

I am not an American whiskey drinker.......usually! For some reason, I think it was an article in Forbes magazine, I bought a bottle of Brimstone. Instant acceptance of this very interesting American brew-up. It is an exciting drink, smokey and spicy and smooth as can be. No ice necessary, just a great sipping whiskey. I am now drinking this often as a relaxer.....
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

24th May 2014


Tried this at Whisky Live this week, it’s not for me. But two of my friends absolutely loved it and bought bottles. Personally, a nose of burning tyres and the taste of barbecued spare ribs is not what I'm looking for in a whiskey. This is definitely a Marmite dram. And a bit of a one-trick pony, I suspect.

25th March 2014

Didn't Care for It

Too smokey for me. I prefer to eat BBQ, not drink it.

3rd February 2014

Great whisky

Any reason the price has gone up?

19th November 2013

WTF is up with the way this whisky smells?

Perhaps I bought a bottle that is very out of the ordinary in an undesirable way. The nose has an overpowering smell of burnt rubber which does not change for the better over time or with the addition of water. Tried it three times hoping to find the positive qualities described by others. No luck. Poured some for a friend and he also found Brimstone undrinkable.

19th September 2013

my new favorite

I have a very large whisk(e)y collection. Bottles from all over the world and all over the price range. Brimstone is easily my favorite as far as a daily dram. The smoke in the nose is nothing like peat smoke. It smells like the end of a good barbecue session. It will leave that smell on your upper lip too. For me, the palate is less meaty than it is for others, but hints of bacon are certainly there. I taste bbq squash with some brown sugar and butter. Some sweet potato poking through from time to time. The charcoal bbq smoke that I smelled in the nose comes through on the palate as well. All with pleasing viscosity. The finish is warm, soothing if you will. It lingers with more brown sugar and butter. A hint of a spice I honestly cant place, but it sits well in the finish. I love this whisky, and though I can see how this would not be for everyone, I can't see the word disgusting being an appropriate description on any level.

3rd July 2013


I'm not sure what that guy is thinking but this is a great whisky. Smoke is very nice and has a lot of flavors to play with. Medium finish and it definitely reminds me of camping in Colorado. Definitely different from a traditional Islay but a great whisky to drink from time to time.

12th June 2013

IFLWhisky review

To start with... just look at the bottle. It looks mean doesn’t it? Menacing in an arm around the shoulder, “You respect me...I won’t beat the crap out of you,” kind of way. She’s crackling already with secrets and potential.

Popping the cork and she rushes at you, a rampaging pack of wildebeest, and that is the first strike. Meat! Loads of it! Fleshy bacon and rich leather. Plenty of smoke for sure, but smouldering varieties, like a box of musty old books thrown onto a barbeque that’s halfway through roasting a juicy, succulent pig. Popcorn and ripe oranges that bask in the sun, join the barn dance but with a non-VIP invitation. be honest I was only halfway through the nose notes when the glass slipped (oops!) and spilled its thick chewy contents into my laughing gear. It’s got as much bollocks as an American muscle car. You can chew on this for ages, like peppered jerky. The wood and pig are still there, but in a maple cured capacity. Dry chocolate and rare black pudding blindly search for each other in the hellish depths of the fire. The crust of a bad-ass blue cheese is peeling away from its home and avalanches into the sea of salt that lingers. Dominican cigars and the velvet of an LBV Port come to mind.

Sit back and re-enter reality...we’ve got a live-wire on our tongues. You can’t shake its evolving nature. There’s Bovril on the finish now and a gummy hot sauce itching away. A perfect horse-back journey, from sweet-corn to dry dark chocolate.

23rd April 2013


It had alot of smoke and charcoal to it. It was like the taste of grilled meat and some sweet carolina sauce really hits you

13th March 2013


Just had a sample of this recently. First of all I LOVE peaty whisky. This however is foul, tastes like someone has taken a burnt twig broke it up and rammed it in the glass. It also has the mouth feel of charcoal. Easily up there with some of the worst whisky I've ever tasted. Seems to me smoking the whisky is total gimmick.

7th March 2013


Any chance of a 3cl sample becoming available for this whisky? Thanks.

7th January 2013

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