Whiskey Name: Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon 2015
Distillery: Garrison Brothers
Whiskey Type: Texas Straight Bourbon
Release Date: 2015
Age: 3 years
Mashbill: 74% corn, 15% wheat, 11% barley
Introduction/Background: There are no punches pulled on the Garrison Brothers website. “We wanted to make the best bourbon ever made. Anywhere. We’re confident we succeeded” ... “It’ll set you back a little” ... “If you’ve been drinking Kentucky Bourbon all your life, then you’re in for something special...but once you step up, that step backward is a long step back indeed.”
Ballsy rhetoric for sure, but to be fair to Garrison, they’ve a raft of awards and accolades backing them up, and what’s the point not being confident in your product anyway? Sticking to their website, it’s particularly thorough in almost every respect, and well worth spooling through, should you find yourself with a glass of their bourbon.
One thing they’re absolutely right about, before I’ve taken so much as a sniff, is the price. At £78, this is very definitely not cheap. But the same could be said of several other whiskies we’ve looked at in the last month. The question is: is it worth it?
Well, Jim Murray says an emphatic “yes”, if he floats your boat. I’ve never met Jim Murray though, and a fellow BBS member whose bourbon experience far exceeds mine says an emphatic “no”. So emphatic that they warned me off buying a glass at their own bar!
Inconclusive then. So stuff what other people think: here, for what it’s worth, is my opinion.
Appearance: Burnt orange.
Nose: Intense. Loads of citrus, but in contrast to yesterday’s Michter’s, here we are talking zest; oranges and lemons. There’s a good whack of liquorice too. A certain nutty-graininess comes to the fore, with corn and toffee combining into a sort of treacle sponge. Lots of character, but the elements aren’t entirely harmonised – they seem to be shouting individually, if that makes sense. But that’s down to the age.
Mouth: More of that toffee and treacle sponge, with the mouthwatering citrus elements trampolining away in the background. Again it’s boisterous, lively stuff on the intensity. Middle-weight in body, as is probably to be expected.
Finish: Caramel joins the party, gently blanketing the other elements.
Value for Money: A touch high.
Summary: I’ve had far worse wheated craft bourbons this month. Absolutely bags of character and intensity; what it was lacking slightly was the harmoniousness and layered complexity that comes with a little more time.
I’d love to try their older Cowboy Bourbon, though there the expense skyrockets, and I don’t imagine many bottles leave the US in any case. And I’m not sure I’m fully in either camp where Mr Murray and my fellow BBS member are. It’s the price, not the quality, that would put me off buying a bottle. Slightly inconclusive once again!
Overall Verdict: Good ... but not £80 good.
Words by WhiskyPilgrim