Made in the Hill Country, Garrison Brothers’ Cowboy Bourbon — a hard-to-find whiskey that sent Garrison fans into a frenzy last year over its release — might be more than just hype.
For a second year, a revered whiskey critic has given it the U.S. Micro Whisky of the Year Award in his “Whisky Bible 2017.” The whiskey-loving expert, Jim Murray, releases a book every year announcing what he believes are the best whiskeys in the world (or whiskies, depending on which kind), giving each one a score. The Garrison Brothers bourbon received the distinction of a 96.5, out of a possible 100, in the American Whiskey category.
That’s a small improvement from two years ago, when Murray gave the 2013 version of the Cowboy Bourbon a 96. This year, he also listed the Cowboy Bourbon as the best bourbon nine years and under.
“Four years in Texas evidently equate to 23 in Kentucky: there’s a geography lesson for you,” according to Murray. “Whiskeys from this distillery have absolutely delighted and astonished me in the past: this proves, indubitably, it was no fluke. If you didn’t think Texas was on the world map of Great Whisky, it is now.”
The Cowboy Bourbon is made just as Garrison Brothers’ flagship is: with organic Panhandle corn, soft red winter wheat grown at the distillery, two-row malted barley and Hill Country rainwater. But unlike the flagship, the 2015 Cowboy Bourbon was aged for four years and left at barrel-proof, unfiltered and uncut. If you’ve been able to get your hands on a bottle, treasure it.