Brimstone is another name for sulfur. The name of a DC Comics character. A novel and Western movie by Robert Parker. Brimstone is the name of a short-lived supernatural TV series, an air-launched missile and a fire grill. It’s also the name of a novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It’s the name of a storytelling award from the National Storytelling Network. And it is the name of a brand of pepper jellies, a steakhouse and condos the Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado.
In no way is the brimstone of interest to TD here associated with the bombastic, fear-based style of Christian preaching—Hell, Fire and Brimstone—that attempts to scare people into “salvation.” Now there is some purification through fire here, and the taste is heavenly, but this is a non-denominational brew with only one litmus test: you have to like smokey whiskies.
Brimstone is the world’s first wood-smoked whisky. As they say on their website: “Brimstone is a memorable pour. Aromas of masa, Texas campfire and powdered sugar tempered with an almost salty goodness. Bold yet balanced.” I experienced the bold and balance, but most of all it was the campfire smell that had me pouring dram after dram.
Balcones is the name of the distillery based in Waco, Texas. They are one of the newer distilleries on the block. They found an old welding shop under the 17th Street bridge, hammered and welded their own stills, built a distillery and in very short order have seven unique spirits that collectively have won 40 national and international awards.
Stephen Winch, TD’s Whisky Editor is on holiday, but left this note to be included in this post.
“They are currently expanding and have/are in the process of commissioning two new stills. The main problem is Balcones have become somewhat of a cult producer and their whiskies are highly sort out and sell with hours! They have also had to take on new markets expanding into multiple states which means supplies get stretched even further!
Balconoes Distillery is leading the American whisky world both in terms of quality and innovation. Here we have their Brimstone. Smoked in a different method to Scotch whisky; he smokes the distillate, not the corn, using Texas Shrub Oak adding a BBQ like profile never before tasted in whisky. This bottle belongs next to a grill or on a picnic table filled with proper American BBQ.”
What you don’t taste in their spirits is that big Texas thing, that Lone Star swagger, that tall-in-the-saddle stuff. As they put it, “We don’t just make whisky in Texas. We make Texas whisky.”
And yes, they are one of the few US distilleries that spell whisky without an “e”. Another nice Texas touch.