zondag 1 maart 2020

Yellow Rose Whiskey Tasting

When I mention “Yellow Rose of Texas”, you probably think I’m talking about the song. But did you know it’s also the brand name of a small Houston based whiskey-distillery?
Just one mash tun, just one pot still, but they do have their own very specific ideas about their products. They are actually the first Houston based legal distillery, launched in 2010.

Last Thursday I was invited by Jan Visser to the Single Malt Whisky Shop 
in Geel to discover three different whiskey varieties of this brand, presented by Brand Ambassador Jason Macal.

It seems in Texas whiskey-laws are stretched a bit to get as creative as possible with their spirits. We really enjoyed the talk about the history of the brand and their products. We got to taste three whiskeys, which will be the range launching in Europe right now. In the future they will probably also add single barrels, special cask finishes etc.

Yellow Rose Premium American Whiskey
(80 Proof)
We started the tasting with this blended whiskey, a mix of bourbon and light whiskey (=single grain, produced in a continuous still). In the USA you are actually allowed to add whatever alcohol to your blended whiskey, like unaged new make whiskey, vodka or even gin. Yellow Rose American Whiskey contains 100% whiskey.

This American Whiskey seems a bit sweeter than most whiskeys I have tasted before. Flavours of banana and caramel. This blended whiskey is often served with a mixer, which can be Coke or even (suggestion from Jason!) pineapple juice. It’s also a nice ‘first step’ whiskey to learn to appreciate whiskey.

Yellow Rose Rye Whiskey
(90 proof)
This whiskey is made with 95% rye and 5% malted barley and aged in new American oak barrels for 3 years.
Nose of green apples, pine, spearmint, cedar wood. You do get the spiciness which is typical for rye whiskey. Works very well for classic spirit forward cocktails such as an Old Fashioned. This was probably my least favourite of the three bottles, but don’t let that hold you back.

Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey
(92 Proof)
The mashbill on this whiskey surprised me the most. This whiskey is made from 100% corn. Not just “at least 51%” as stated in the law, but the full 100%.
Aged in small barrels with an alligator char (this is the Nr.4 Char – 55 seconds burn, which is the deepest char used in the whiskey industry), double pot distillation.

The spirit that goes into the barrels can be maximum 125 proof by law. A lot of producers try to get as high as possible, but it leaves a lot of bitterness. Yellow Rose fills its barrels at 114 proof which brings out more typical oak flavours like honey, vanilla, caramel.

At the warehouse in Houston (without climate control!) it gets 35 to 40° Celsius during the day at a 90 to 100% humidity. The climate is totally different from Kentucky, Tennessee or Scotland. The barrels constantly expand and shrink with an extreme high Angel’s Share, 15% yearly for each barrel. In Scotland this is only 3 to 5%. The barrels are stored upright on pallets, 4 to 5 levels high. The main reason is the lack of space. As mentioned above, it’s a small company.

At the end of the tasting we also got served a refreshing Horse’s Neck cocktail, based on the Outlaw Bourbon. And we also got to put our teeth in real Texas style hamburgers.

Thanks for the invitation. It was a very nice introduction to this brand. The bourbon is definitely a premium product which is quite unique at 100% corn. The American Whiskey is much sweeter than most whiskeys, which just might balance out other strong flavours in a cocktail. Could be interesting to try in a Manhattan or even a Boulevardier?

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

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