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Whiskey Review: Balcones ZZ Top Tres Hombres

Editor’s note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Balcones. This in no case, by our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the purchase link at the bottom of this review, our site receives a small sponsorship payment which helps support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The Texans pull together in this new version of Balcones Distilling, a collaboration to create Balcones ZZ Top Tres Hombres, named after the band’s 1973 Top Ten album. ZZ Top manager Carl Stubner said in a prepared statement, “ZZ Top’s love for Texas runs deep and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than by creating something with Balcones. Tres Hombres exemplifies what can be achieved when brands care deeply about their respective products and heritage.

The whiskey was created amid the pandemic, with Balcones Distillery coordinating Zoom meetings with the group to share virtual tastings, ensuring a truly creative fusion of minds. ZZ Top said of the expression: “Together we set out to create a whiskey with the fundamental grains of Balcones – roasted blue corn, malted barley and rye. Three distinct whiskeys and three distinct band members – married together to creating a one-of-a-kind spirit with Texas-sized flavor. The sum of its parts tells a compelling story, just like the iconic tunes of the small Texas band…”

The Balcones Distillery began brewing in 2009 in Waco, Texas, and has since strived to celebrate Texas, including using the first Texas-grown malted barley. Their process includes malted barley matured in virgin oak, which can make the whiskey feel older than it is.

The interesting aspect of the Balcones recipe is the blue corn, which is said to have a “milder, nuttier” flavor compared to yellow or white corn. Balcones assures that Blue Corn provides “a layer of solid bass and fat body”, contributing to a fuller-bodied spirit. The distillery prides itself on a spirit of DIY craftsmanship. They have grown their business from the ground up, including building their own condensers, wash stills and other equipment that ensures a uniquely practical and personal process.

This tasting constituted a kind of challenge, because the profile was not immediately decipherable. But the more time I took with the whiskey, the more it opened up for me, bringing a complexity to my palate that I loved to explore. Balcones ZZ Top Tres Hombres signifies the very nature of the distillery – a pride of Texas and a passion for their award-winning spirits that results in truly delicious whiskey.

Balcones ZZ Top Tres Hombres (image via Jerry Jenae Sampson)

Tasting Notes: Whiskey Balcones ZZ Top Tres Hombres

Vital Stats: Mash beak of roasted blue corn, malted barley and rye. 50% ABV (100 proof). $60/750ml.

Appearance: Dark amber, medium viscosity.

Nose: Notes of delicious red apple, buttery sweetness and fresh greenery.

Palace: The whiskey imposes itself as a soft and mellow expression. Notes of sandalwood, clove and vanilla shine through.