The fun folks at Garrison Brothers Distillery sent me a bottle of their 2014 Spring Vintage bourbon to enjoy and share my thoughts.
I recently returned from a trip to Louisville, KY, aka bourbon country. With a packed schedule there was no time to sneak off and explore the Kentucky bourbon trail, an item that’s been on my to-do list for far too long. Don’t panic, I still sampled several Kentucky bourbons throughout the weekend. I might have even been convinced that Kentucky bourbon can’t be beat. And then….I returned home to a bottle of Garrison Brothers bourbon.
I carefully unpacked the spring vintage bourbon bottle, and that was the beginning of my love affair. Superficial maybe, but the bottle alone is gorgeous, so instead of rushing to open the bottle for a taste, I spent an hour trying to capture the details in photos. Each barrel and bottle is made by hand, and the owner, Dan Garrison, signs and numbers every bottle. Hand dipped in black wax, then stamped with a star (Texans like our stars), the bottle has a very refined look and feel. When my bottle is empty, I’ll shed some tears, but it won’t see the recycle bin, it’s just too cool not to re-purpose.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon Spring 2014 Vintage
You can taste the distillers love in the liquid gold, that has a distinct amber color. It would be a crime to mix this bourbon with Coke. This isn’t the bourbon you slam back in a shot glass. Garrison Brothers bourbon is special, you don’t share it with just anyone. No, this is the bottle you lock up in the liquor cabinet, and only share on special occasions. A small batch, craft bourbon, Garrison Brothers 2014 Spring Vintage is the best example of Texas craftsmanship you’ll ever taste.
Premium bourbon is made from premium ingredients. Garrison Brothers use corn from the TX panhandle, recycled Hill Country rain water ,organic red wheat grown on the ranch, two row barley from the Pacific Northwest or Canada, and then is aged in barrels made from white oak. Oh, and when I say amber, be warned Garrison Brothers bourbon is darker than average. They even compare the amber to the tone of a Texas sunset. Never seen a Texas sunset? Like the bourbon in the bottle, they’re breathtaking.
I’m kind of in love with their philosophy and how they’re getting things done in Hye, TX.
At Garrison Brothers, we are single-mindedly dedicated to making fine bourbon. Bourbon is all we will ever make, and it is our mission to study the craft and get better every day. We consider our stillhouse and barrel barns hallowed ground. Garrison Bros. website
Cool factor, volunteers bottle the bourbon twice a year. I think this would be an amazing experience to help bottle a bourbon made with love in Texas. Like, off the charts cool, and so while I want to tour the distillery, bottling bourbon at Garrison Brothers has been added to my bucket list.
Garrison Brothers is off the beaten path in Hye, TX, a town of a little over 100 people. It’s Texas’ first and oldest bourbon distillery, founded in 2006. The first legal whiskey distillery in Texas, was also the first one outside Kentucky and Tennessee to produce authentic bourbon. You can find Garrison Brothers bourbon in many bars throughout Texas, and at your local liquor store. But you should know the bottles tend to fly off the shelves and sell out in record time. My local Spec’s has a few bottles on the shelf for $75. Because it’s so popular, they recently decided to start sharing the love with other states.
I’m actually a little sad to see bottles of Garrison Brothers bourbon leaving Texas and heading to New York, Arizona, Germany,Washington, D.C., Colorado, California, and Louisiana. The selfish side of me says let’s keep it a Texas secret, and then I think, heck, let them taste why Texas is so awesome! Although, Dan, I think it would be the bees knees if you’d make a special Texas only vintage once in a while!
Be sure and check out the Garrison Brothers website for tour information, super cool merchandise, bourbon tasting events, and how to join the exclusive Old 300 club. You can also find Garrison Brothers on Facebook and @garrisonbros on Twitter.
A Texas size thank you to Dan Garrison and crew for sharing your liquid gold with me.