Balcones Cataleja charts a new course for the celebrated Texas distiller

Balcones Cataleja, photo by Cristine Struble
Balcones Cataleja, photo by Cristine Struble /

Celebrating the Texas distiller’s 15th anniversary, Balcones Cataleja takes whisky drinkers on a new journey. Without overshadowing the distiller’s award-winning offerings, this single malt brings together the past, present, and future of the craft. When the moment deserves a celebratory pour, the Balcones Cataleja should be top of mind.

Although Texans might think that everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star state, Waco may not be the first thought when it comes to whisky distilleries. Even though the small town has seen a surge in popularity thanks to home renovation brands, the reality is that Balcones Distilling took that Texas bigger, better mindset and instilled it into their process.

In this case, the journey began with ingredients. By focusing on home grown ingredients, like Texas-grown malted barley, the distillers wanted to prove that a great tasting product begins with those carefully selected grains. After that, the ingenuity, craft, and creativity can shine.

Over the years, Balcones Distilling has won numerous awards for its offerings. Recently, its Balcones Distilling’s Texas 1 Single Malt earned Whiskey of the Year at the New Orleans Spirits Competition and the distillery received Double Gold and Gold Awards. While all those accolades are well-deserved, the brand is always looking write the next chapter in their story.

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, Balcones Cataleja is a unique offering worthy of the special occasion. While the brand says that “cataleja” can loosely be translated to mean spyglass, which is an image emblazoned the label, that reference is more than setting a course to greatness. It is a willingness to look beyond the status quo, push the boundaries, and celebrate the accomplishments of taking those risks.

Looking specifically at this special offering, the combination of the Golden Promise Malted Barley and various casks created a nuanced whisky that is unlike others on the market. While sherry casks might be a current trend in the liquor world, this particular spirit brings a slightly different flavor to the conversation.

Upon first pour the whisky, it is the balance of savory, nutty brown butter with a zesty orange that feels comforting yet exciting. Layered with smoked paprika, brandied figs, and even a touch of apricot, the aroma feels like an intriguing dish that invites that first taste.

With the first sip, a sweetness takes hold. The combination of nuttiness with a date forward note feels like a touch of an old-school dessert. The underlying fruit notes combination with warm spices are comforting, satisfying. It has a touch of whimsy but never feels childlike. In a moment, it opens a sense of wonder and willingness to explore. One sip leads to another. Once the glass is empty, the experience wants to be enjoyed time and again.

While there are similarities across the Balcones Distilling offerings, the Cataleja charts a course to where the brand may be going. With a respect to its history and a nod to its future, many people will want to have this particular bottle become part of their special celebratory moments. Everything might be bigger in Texas and this special offering is a big, bold declaration that Balcones Distilling is a force in the whisky industry.

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