March 13, 2020

Treaty Oak Barrel Selection

As you may know, we had a group go down to the Hill Country over the weekend for a barrel selection at Treaty Oak. Here's Tucker's story of Treaty Oak's hospitality and how the group go to the barrel that they did aka "The Cherry Bomb"


We went out to visit the Treaty Oak ranch for a barrel pick of Ghost Hill Bourbon. This is 100% Texas, grain to glass, whiskey, aged 2 years in the hill country outside Dripping Springs. I highly recommend any member go visit as they have 29 acres of beautiful countryside, tons of room for hanging out (and kid-friendly), an awesome cocktails lounge, cool distillery operations/tours, an awesome BBQ restaurant named Alice’s, and they brew their own beer and have wine, gin, and cocktails so there is something for everyone.

So after a tour and some amazing BBQ, we got down to the Barrel pick. They brought out 3 barrels at barrel proof and the same barrels at their standard bottling at 95 proof. The mash build is 57% Corn, 32% Wheat, 11% Barley with char 3 barrels. The general taste they discuss for Ghost Hill is Dark Stone Fruit, Soft Oak, Sweet Corn, Robust Malt, & Mild Spicy Finish. We started with barrel proof first.

Barrel #879 was low proof at 101.6 proof but beautiful amber color. Nice nose of caramel and cinnamon with a chewy mouthfeel that we picked up graham cracker and apricots. Barrel #890 was a light amber but came off hot at 123.8 proof. Butterscotch and fruit nose with some banana and savory maple/butter taste. Lastly, Barrel #959 was similar light amber at 120 proof, but the nose was all vanilla and cherry that stayed consistent with the taste with sweet toffee and cherry cola. Overall, the vote was 1, 2, 7.

#1: Barrel 879 - 101.6 proof
Sight: dark amber
Nose: honey, cinnamon licorice, caramel
Mouthfeel: Med/light
Taste: chewy, licorice, graham cracker, apricots
Finish: quick drop off, alcohol burn, slight corn flavor. Not much

#2: Barrel 890 - 123.8 proof
Sight: light amber
Nose: butterscotch, banana cream pie, fruitcake
Mouthfeel: Med
Taste: banana, maple candy, butter toast, savory, spice
Finish: slight red apple

#3: Barrel 959 - 120 proof
Sight: light amber
Nose: vanilla, herbal, grassy, maraschino cherry
Mouthfeel: light
Taste: toffee, cherry cola, vanilla
Finish: cherry pie

After trying these 3, we did a round at bottle proof of 95 proof to see how they proof down, depending on how people drink them. Barrel #879 stayed similar with a few more chocolate notes. Barrel #890 just died at lower proof. This became a dump glass for everyone. Barrel #959 maintained a lot of character even at lower proof, strong cherry and vanilla remaining while not losing a ton of body. Here it was an overwhelming 1, 0, 9 vote with a preference for #959.

We tried a few new blends from their Red Handed line. You can find the special pick on 13-14 year old Dickel juice at Total Wine & More. Their older Red Handed blend is much younger, with Virginia and OZ Taylor and they just released a new blend of 2 year Heaven Hill juice.

And I know we’re a Whiskey group, but their Waterloo Antique Gin is a whiskey drinkers Gin. Aged 2 full years (like their whiskey) in new oak, char 3 barrels. Great to replace with any whiskey cocktail and good straight. Gotta try it.

They are also releasing a new line called the Daydrinker, that is an 80 proof, 1 year old whiskey that is a really easy drinker and surprisingly good.

But the highlight is seeing what this brand can do and they are building up their inventory to bring a 4 year, Bottled-in-Bond bourbon to market (probably in 2 years) called Old Fitzhugh as they are off Fitzhugh road and a great play on Old Fitzgerald. They shared some 4 year with me about a year ago, and it is really where this stuff becomes amazing. Can’t wait to see this come out.

We ended the night at Alice’s for the Steak dinner, and damn, but bourbon and bbq is a great combo. They had 16oz New York strips they served up and they smoke them before searing them and finished with a chimichurri topping. Amazing way to end the barrel pick.