Not all Southern whiskey is bourbon. Obviously, there’s Tennessee whiskey, of which one name comes first to mind. Then there’s all the white lightning riding a trend across the nation. And then there’s everything else. Not tied to place or grain content or aging rules, but free to be whatever its makers want it to be. Sometimes you might be in a mood for a drink that’s free of anything like terroir or tradition; a whiskey that’s simple and just good, without being challenging. For a long time, that’s generally meant a blend, and blends are currently the most popular whiskey in Texas, the home (surprise, surprise) of TX Blended Whiskey.
TX is produced in Fort Worth by Firestone & Robertson Distillery, the only “artisanal bourbon distillery in northern Texas.” The owners, Leonard Firestone & Troy Robertson, met at their kids’ play group and later realized their shared passion and interest when separately took tours of the same distillery and heard about each other. Together, they renovated a prohibition-era warehouse into a distillery that they describe as “just awesome.” It’s frankly kind of hard not to like them, just based on the story of their business. I like the idea of a whiskey with its provenance in a play date; that owes its existence to two guys who just want to make a good drink, without any pretense or historical baggage. Currently, Firestone & Robertson produces just two whiskeys: the TX Blended, and a straight bourbon. The bourbon went into barrels last fall, and won’t be available for bottling for a while yet. The Blended is the subject of this review.
On the nose, the TX Blended is like pecan pie. It’s very sweet, with heavy notes of vanilla, toasted nuts, and caramel. On the tongue, it’s simply mild. There’s no rye spice, big burn, or loud notes; this whiskey is smooth and agreeable without much drama. The finish is sweet again; simply pleasant lingering vanilla. It’s a blend, so drama’s not really to be expected (nor great complexity), but it’s a surprisingly fun whiskey to sip. The dessert theme carries through a glass; this would be ideal after a meal, especially with guests who might not enjoy your favorite peaty Islay. Have it neat, or use in any recipe that calls for blended whiskey. It really doesn’t call for ice or water; it’s plenty smooth on its own.
So as a bottom line: Recommend