Reviewing what I believe is the 2017 release, at a near-hazmat proof of 137. Color - really dark, if this was labeled as a Caribbean dark rum you would assume the color was artificially added, but all Balcones sprirts have this color due to the small-barrel aging. Nose - Definitely more oak than molasses. Nothing funky - to the extent it smells like rum it's pretty clean. But mostly you get the barrel here: smoky & woody along with some ethanol/varnish. Palate - Some sweetness and burnt sugar show up initially, but are quickly overwhelmed by bitter dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee. At over 68% ABV the heat is no surprise, but the larger issue is the bitter/astringent finish which pretty much ruins things for me. Some water or ice tames the ABV heat but doesn't really help with the finish. Balcones is really frustrating for me. As a semi-local distillery that takes their craft seriously and releases a lot of interesting products, I really want to like them. Unfortunately they insist on aging everything in small barrels, and I just can't get into the bitter, woody flavor profile this results in.
59.0 USD per Bottle