Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey,
The Spring 2011 Release
On Monday, 4,368 hand-dipped and sealed bottles of the finest bourbon we’ve ever made left Hye in a Republic National Distributing Company truck on their way to their new owners. Please get out of the way of that truck!
A few thousand bottles will make their way to liquor stores, bars, hotels and restaurants in Hye, Johnson City, Blanco, and Fredericksburg later this week. A little later, a few thousand more will be carefully escorted to stores in Austin, Bandera, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Horseshoe Bay, San Antonio and Spring Branch. All of our babies should be in fine liquor stores, restaurants and bars by Monday, March 21. Truth be told, we really don’t know where they’ll end up, but we hope they find good homes.
Keeping with tradition, each bottle is hand-labeled, hand-numbered, hand-dipped with a thick black wax seal, and signed by me. Deerskin lace wraps each neck and the Texas Star is etched into the wax by hand with a leather tool. Some of these corks can’t handle the heat, so you may need a corkscrew to get into it.
Sounds Like Lots of Brown Liquor, But It Ain’t.
As in the past, this is an extremely limited release that could sell out quickly. If you want a bottle, I strongly encourage you to call your local liquor store today and get on their waiting list. If they haven’t started a list, you might politely suggest they do so by putting your name at the top.
We won’t be releasing more bourbon until late this fall, and sadly, that release won’t be too much larger than this one.
Now, About This Bourbon…
The Rednecks at Garrison Brothers selected 91 barrels from our barns for this release. Each barrel was two years old, at minimum, but many were closer to three. We held a few back for longer aging. But a few more months in the barrel has made a staggering difference in the taste. This one is sweeter and smoother than any previous release.
I recently visited with Chris Evans, the head bartender and mixologist at The Bluegrass Tavern in Lexington, Kentucky. If you like good bourbon, you must visit this place. In what became a memorable evening, we shared a number of fine, rare Kentucky bourbons. I asked Chris what I should say to the professional mixologists who want cocktail recipes using our bourbon. His answer: “Tell them to mix 2 parts Garrison Brothers with one part glass.”
I wholeheartedly agree with his suggestion. Please save the cola for the kids!
In this release, the sugars from the wood have started to overpower the grain flavor of the White Dog. Not entirely, but enough to make Fred, Donnis and myself quite proud of this release. If you like bourbons that bite back – that sting your throat going down – you won’t like this one. It’s gentle. This bourbon was made with soft red winter wheat we grew ourselves. It has a long and delicate velvety finish more akin to Grand Marnier or Tuaca than whiskey.
This release is another toasted butterscotch and caramel bomb, with a warm buttery finish like afternoon sunshine. We taste-tested this bourbon at 90-, 96- and 100-proof, but we bottled it at 94 proof because we believe that’s how it should be enjoyed. If you want more of the grain flavor to come out, add a splash of soda or water and a few cubes of ice.
Bourbon Bottled By Texans
In November, the Rednecks got together for a little management meeting to discuss how in the hell we were going to bottle this much bourbon. Including me, we have a full time staff of four. There was simply no way we could handle the job ourselves. I suggested we send out a call for volunteers. Fred and Donnis thought it unlikely that sane people would take two days off from work; drive all the way out to Hye; pay for their own gas and lodging; and then bust their backs for two days of daunting work. All we could offer them was a bottle, a couple of questionable meals and a handshake to say thanks.
As further testament that Texans are the greatest people on earth, more than 40 volunteers cowboy’d up for the job. We even had dozens of fine people sign-up on our waiting list to help with the next release.
We are deeply indebted to those of you who played a role. We thank you for your service and we hope we showed you a good time while you were in Hye.
Make More Bourbon, Damn It!
Yeah, I know. We’re not making enough bourbon, but help is on the way!
We are pleased to announce that our beautiful copper pot still, The Copper Cowgirl, now has two big brothers looking out for her. Two big, bad and beautiful 100% copper pot stills have joined our little girl in the stillhouse.
Nicknamed Fat Man and Little Boy — because they are an awesome display of American might – these two massive offensive linemen will be put to work making more bourbon in a matter of weeks. Standing more than 23 feet tall and about ten feet wide, these boys are going to make some serious bourbon.
The bourbon they produce this year won’t come out of a barrel until 2014 or 2015. So, again, I have to ask those of you in Dallas, Houston, East Texas, West Texas, The Valley and The Panhandle to please be patient with us.
The Bourbon Kitchen, General Store and Barrel Barn
We are almost finished building a new gourmet kitchen at Garrison Brothers. In this state-of-the-art bourbon kitchen we’ll grind the grain, cook corn, wheat and barley, add our yeast, ferment distillers’ beer, and then pump the sweet mash over to the stillhouse for distillation.
When she’s complete, we’ll fire up the boilers, test all the connections and run a few test batches before we light the candle. Once we do, if the wind is right, you should be able to smell the sweet Panhandle corn cooking from as far away as San Antonio.
We’ve also spruced up the barrel barn, adding a back porch and a little gift shop with lots more cool Garrison Brothers Gear.
A Small Hill Country Ranch That Happens to Make Fine Bourbon Whiskey
Our hospitality manager Stephanie, God bless her, has brought order to chaos around here though. We are still conducting “Hard Hat Tours,” if you’re willing to call first and make a reservation. We’ll open up for longer, more informative “Sit and Sip Tours” and shorter and sweeter “Whiskey Road Trip Tours” in a few weeks.
Tours are available at ten, noon, 2 and 4. If you’d like to come by and see the place, we promise to roll out the red carpet for you. You can schedule a tour with Stephanie by calling (830) 392-0246, or even better, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll make all the arrangements.
Later this year, we plan to open up the barrel barn for events and celebrations. We’ll post more about this on our website soon.
Making Bourbon This Good is Expensive!
To take the edge off, we’ve launched Garrison Brothers’ Dry Goods Store on our website. You’ll find some nice t-shirts and bumper stickers there. Please take a look and consider buying one. Each time you do, it enables us to make a little more bourbon.
If you really want to get involved, please consider joining our ambassador association, The Old 300. If you choose to join, I can personally guarantee you’ll soon know more about fine bourbon whiskey than anyone else in Texas and you’ll have a great time learning.
As always, if you don’t buy this fancy propaganda about our bourbon, you’re welcome to come on out and taste it. Know in advance that since the law prohibits us from selling you a bottle direct from the distillery, we’re going to ask you to buy a t-shirt.
Have a happy and safe spring and summer. We’ll check back in with ya’ll in the fall.
Proprietor and Distiller