Well, hell, it’s college football season. It snuck up on me. It’s still blazing hot outside, but there I was, watching UGA and eating nachos last Saturday night. And when it’s football season, I crave bourbon. You could argue that the craving is Pavlovian—so many football games, so much bourbon over the years, how could I crave anything else this time of year? I’d argue that the two just go together. Like Bloody Marys and breakfast, or Zima and middle school dances. Bourbon goes with football.
And I found a new bourbon that I’m all gaga over. Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey started winning me over before I even had the first sip. The bottle is manly (as manly as glass gets, I guess), and there’s a tiny leather strap hidden beneath the wax seal that you pull to open the bottle for the first time. It’s classy in a Texas, “let’s use this cow,” sort of way. Of course, the Texas star is imprinted on the top.
Poured neat, the bourbon is dominated by a corn-forward sweetness. There’s some heat here (it’s 94 proof, and whiskey, so…) that eventually gives way to a bit of vanilla on the back end. It’s incredibly dark and oaky, especially when you consider it’s only been aged two years. Add some ice, and the bourbon gets a bit more complex, as the alcohol takes a back seat while all kinds of caramel and vanilla come forward.
This is high quality bourbon, but what really impresses me about this whiskey, is the amount of disclosure Garrison Brothers gives you about the bottle you just bought. While many distilleries are moving toward hiding their whiskey’s age, Garrison Brothers not only tells you how long the bourbon hung out in oak, they tell you the corn variety they used for the mash, when that corn was harvested, and what area of Texas the corn came from. They even grow their own wheat and use rainwater to cut the proof. That’s legit. And that’s a great way to kick off the football season.
Distillery: Garrison Brothers
City: Hye, Texas