We’re not going to lie, we love a good collab whiskey around here. We also tend to be pretty ride-or-die for Waco, Texas’ Balcones Distilling. Part of that adoration is in the fact that the distillery team is always changing things up and innovating. They’re also always dropping cool collab bottles that actually deliver.
Case in point, their new release (so new that it’s still pre-order only) is a collaboration between the Texas distillery and the legendary Texas band, ZZ Top. This sounds like a match made in whisk(e)y heaven.
The batch was created this year over Zoom as the three band members met with the Balcones team to taste barrels and create blends to build this whisky. They ended up with a Texas whisky that’s a blend of whiskies from Balcones. Each whisky ended up representing a member of the blues rock trio and was named ‘Tres Hombres’ in their honor. We were lucky enough to get a bottle in advance, so let’s see what’s in the bottle!
ZZ Top Tres Hombres Texas Whisky
Average Price: $60 (pre-sale)
ZZ Top worked directly with Jared Himstedt (over Zoom) to blend three Balcones whiskies together. The blend is one part Balcone’s signature Blue Corn Whisky, one part Texas Single Malt, and one part Texas Rye. The idea behind the blends was to build the sip from a bold and oily base towards a fruity mid-palate that ends up nice and spicy. Let’s see how they did.
The nose really leans into the apple crumble with plenty of buttery streusel, brown sugar, and holiday spices (especially cinnamon) with a hint of a worn suede jacket that’s layered with decades of your grandma’s favorite perfume, honey, and cigarettes. The palate does indeed shift away from those notes slightly. The apple crumble is still there but leans more into the brown sugar to the point that it feels wet and almost heavy while a chewy and almost earthy note of grape skins, seeds, and stems arrive with a very slight bitter note that’s also green and herbal. That fruity but woody mid-palate leads towards a finish that’s very spicy and warm but more like a fresh pile of grated ginger next to apple-cider-soaked cinnamon sticks and a flutter of something savory … it kind of feels like fresh rosemary or thyme stems.
Balcones puts all of their expressions in an old-school port bottle and it works. These bottles always stand out on a bar cart or whiskey bar shelf thanks to the stout size.
The label on this one also pops with a unique design dominated by the abstract image of ZZ Top. It’s eye-catching for sure and you know everything you need from that label by just looking at it.
I really dig this. It’s not a mind-blowing whisky but it’s a really solid sipper. It goes to interesting places and feels like the perfect gift for any ZZ Top fan this coming holiday season.
90/100 — This is a solid and very unique sipper and a great gift for a fan.