Balcones Showcases Two Texas Madeira Cask Finished Single Malts

By Gary Carter / June 20, 2021

Two new American single malt whiskies from Balcones Distillery explore the world of whiskey finishing, both completing their journey of aging in ex-Madeira barrels.

The two whiskeys are rolling out in limited quantities, according to the brand, and both were finished in 16 Texas Madeira barrels from Haak Winery in Santa Fe, Texas.

The distillery team indicated on social media that one of the single malts was finished exclusively in first-fill casks while the other was finished exclusively in second-use casks.

Balcones Dawn, Dusk

The Balcones Dawn, Dusk whiskeys (image via Balcones)

To create Dusk and Dawn, Balcones partnered with Haak Winery, a Texas based operation that uses the traditional heated storage technique (estufagem) to make a handcrafted estate Madeira on the gulf in Texas.

Balcones’ Dusk and Dawn bottles are available across Texas this summer, and out now at the Balcones Distillery in Waco. You’ll find more info on each below, including official tasting notes.


111 proof, aged 48 months

Dusk is finished exclusively in freshly dumped first-fill Haak Madeira casks. Singular and dense, it boasts of dark and brooding notes of roasted nuts, polish, and dried plums.

  • Nose: soft notes of fig chutney & dried hyssop that transition into a long warm note of seasoned wood from an old steel-string guitar
  • Taste: decadent with old-fashioned horehound candy and the texture of velvet mullein leaves, before filling out with cardamom mochi, toasted walnuts, and cranberry relish
  • Finish: long and sweet sulfury grape mist


116 proof, aged 48 months

Dawn is finished exclusively in second-use refill Haak Madeira casks. It’s singular and bright, expressive, and juicy with notes of citrus peel, varnish, and white blossoms.

  • Nose: spritely with notes of crunchy pear and kiwi followed by graceful notes of chamomile and lemon curd
  • Taste: effervescent with notes of under-ripe strawberry, parfait, and lime leaves that transition into sweet bready notes of sage shortbread.
  • Finish: subtle yeasty finish of champagne lees

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