All manner of whiskey is coming from Texas these days, as distillers work with the state’s climate and locally made grains to produce a breadth of styles. At the heart of many of these Texas whiskeys is big, bold flavor, which is adjoined by similarly big proof (a side effect of the intense heat and humidity that’s present across the state for much of the year).
While bourbon is perhaps the most popular style in Texas right now, with distillers lending their own twists to differentiate from Kentucky counterparts, increasingly experiments in single malt, rye, wheat whiskeys, and more is ongoing. The following whiskeys showcase some of the best that Texas has to offer, and there’s a little something for everyone.
Top Texas Whiskeys To Try Right Now
Firestone & Robertson TX PX Sherry Cask-Finished Bourbon
92 points, 50.8%, $65
Stewed prunes, toasted oak, orange peel, butterscotch, and vanilla on the nose. The palate has a creamy texture and notes of chocolate fudge, allspice, and cherries. A medium-length finish shows darker fruits, like figs and raisins, as well as chocolate syrup and black cherry.
Andalusia Stryker Smoked Single Malt
91 points, 50%, $50
Thick and chewy, with dark untamed notes of prune, cooked blueberries, incense, sage, and saddle leather. There’s a luscious sherried-like quality, coupled with an appealingly rugged earthiness, both integrating with cedar, barbecue fire, smoked brisket, rich dark chocolate, and espresso, then sprinkled with paprika and cayenne pepper.
Balcones Lineage Single Malt (Batch SML20-2)
91 points, 47%, $40
Orange blossom, tropical notes of lime, pineapple, and guava, as well as fruitcake, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and balanced oak on the nose. More tropical notes and powdered sugar follow on the palate, along with hot chocolate, roasted nuts, grain notes, pepper, and barrel char.
Ranger Creek .36 Cask Strength Bourbon
91 points, 67.1%, $90
Pleasant grapey and oak-influenced berry aromas on the nose. Sizzling and spicy on the palate, but water ushers in a rich array of flavors—raspberries, chocolate, bitter espresso, walnut, and pepper spice. Heat and lots of spice reemerge on the finish, with the berry and chocolate notes lingering.
Tahwahkaro Cask Strength Straight Bourbon
90 points, 64.3%, $65
Alluringly dark and fragrant, sending forth aromas of grape jelly, dried strawberries, and apricots. The rich palate is loaded with blackberry tart, cooked prunes, buttered popcorn, malt, and vanilla cake. More berries and luscious dark fruit on the finish.
Five Point’s Lone Elm Single Barrel Straight Wheat
89 points, 61.4%, $66
Dried leaves, oven-roasted peanuts, blueberry pie, caramel fondue, candied ginger, and orange peel on the nose. There is more sweetness on the palate, with brown sugar and chocolate peanut butter cup paired with peppery spice, pine needles, and an earthy dusty oak.
Still AustinThe Musician Straight Bourbon
89 points, 49.2%, $45
There is a rich sweetness on the nose; vanilla angel food cake with sugared strawberries, toasted marshmallow, candied pecans, maple syrup, banana bread, and berries and cream. A velvety palate showcases orange blossom, honeysuckle, chocolate-covered cherries, and cream soda.
Ironroot Harbinger Straight Bourbon
88 points, 57.5%, $60
Rich dessert notes on the nose: dulce de leche, flan, wet walnuts, strawberry syrup, milk chocolate, and blueberry pie. Syrupy with or without water. Plenty of heat on the palate alongside caramel and fruity sweetness, barrel char, and new wood. Fiery spice and barrel char continue on to the finish.
Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Bourbon
88 points 47.5%, $55
Notes of tropical fruit highlight the nose, with tangerines, orange peel, and papaya alongside hay, licorice, butterscotch, and pronounced grain. The palate is smooth and creamy, with pancake syrup, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, balanced oak, roasted peanuts, coffee, and earthen warehouse floor
Garrison Bros. Small Batch Bourbon
87 points, 47%, $85
Dark, with a slightly musty nose, this chewy bourbon has an underlying earthiness. There are flavors of spicy gingersnap, cinnamon, and toasted pecan, along with a medicinal note and some oak-forward astringency, which lead into caramel and vanilla on the finish.
Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon
87 points, 46%, $55
Dried peaches, cooked raspberries, and a hint of orange peel and vanilla on the nose. There’s zippy cinnamon spice on the palate: cinnamon bun with vanilla icing, white pepper, Fig Newtons, allspice, rice pudding with cinnamon, and a touch of bubble gum. Good length on the finish, with lighter notes of chocolate and cinnamon.
Gulf Coast Longhorn Straight Rye
85 points, 40%, $27
The nose has maritime notes of seaweed along with York Peppermint Pattie, wood shavings, and dunnage warehouse. Aromas improve over time, with lime, orange peel, vanilla cream, and a hint of leather. The palate is silky with bitter chocolate and new wood. With water, peppery spice, black currant, and cooked pears.