Texas is not a place I traditionally associate with whiskey making. Lots of beer, steak, and long roadtrip memories, but not whiskey. One of my followers recently gifted me two different Texan whiskies and I’m honestly taken aback with the quality of them. This one in particular, TX blended whiskey from Firestone & Robertson distillery has blown me away.
I grew up in Florida, I’ve traveled hither and yon all over the state and when it comes to billboards, outside of Jesus, the things that took up the most real estate were Oranges and Pecans. Candied, roasted, salted, and every which way in between you could find ‘em and as many people to argue about whether you’re supposed to say it, peecan or pecawn.
But I’m getting off topic here. From what I heard, Firestone & Robertson’s TX Blended Whiskey is brewed and distilled with a proprietary blend of pecan based yeast that heavily impacts their final product. I’m not big on sweets, especially when it comes to my whiskey, and with the rise of whiskey has come a glut of new flavoured whiskey liqueurs that I truly find abominable.
Along with those, however, are a number of American companies experimenting with different cask finishes and flavours much like their Scotch cousins have been doing for many years. Like Angel’s Envy port or rum finished offerings, Straight Edge bourbon’s Cabernet Sauvignon finished limited run, and a number of sherry finished batches as well. So it really made me raise an eyebrow to see a distillery play with the provenance of its yeast.
Yeast is massively important in the distillation process, there is a whole science and business behind whiskey developing proprietary and advanced strains of it. Most master distillers will swear by theirs and go to great lengths to protect which ones they use and even the stills they’re used in, in order to preserve the delicate flavours that have built up over time.
Now TX is a blend of whiskies, so what is theirs and what is sourced I can’t say and they wouldn’t be likely to give up. But at the end of the day, I’m a firm believer in the fact that a whiskey only need taste good and all of the history and marketing behind it, is just good story telling. As long as it’s made right, honest, and without any adulteration after the fact, that’s good enough for me.
Okay, I’ve rambled on enough. You get the pecan immediately on the nose, but beyond that some lovely honey and butterscotch notes. Similarly on the first sip, the savory pecan stand out so well, again with fantastic butterscotch [think Werther’s] notes. Rye is apparently a secondary ingredient in this blend / mash bill, though I find the finish is definitely influenced by it, with a nice rye spice burning its way down to black pepper and earthy notes. There’s almost no oak or tobacco to this bourbon, just smooth and savory with a bit of a kick at the end.
I am not a fan of sweet whiskey as I mentioned above, Jack Daniels honey makes me twist my face up like I just sucked a lemon, Angel’s Envy rum cask finish while complex and delicious is still too sweet for me to have more than one glass of… but this… Firestone & Robertson TX, hit the sweet spot. If you’re looking for a dangerously smooth and drinkable dram then I definitely recommend this. For any whiskey snobs that may turn up their nose at its questionable provenance, well, your loss.