There’s Texas bourbon, and then there’s the Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon, a sort of Texas bourbon on steroids, if you will. This has always been a monster of a whiskey from a proof perspective when it is released by the distillery, and certainly the latest release of this expression is no joke either.
The 2019 Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon, according to those behind it, clocks in at a mind-numbing 137.7 proof (last year was slightly lower at 134 proof). It is drawn from the distillery team’s favorite barrels, which are said to be “set aside for a couple of years for further maturation and the liquid is bottled at cask-strength, uncut and unfiltered.” It is noted as well that every barrel used in this release was five years old, reportedly making it the oldest bourbon whiskey ever made in Texas.
“It takes a special barrel to create a bourbon nectar sweet enough to be enjoyed at such a high proof,” said the Garrison Brothers distillery team in a prepared statement. “The potency normally overpowers the flavor. That ain’t the case with the Cowboy – it’s so sweet, the flavor overpowers its proof. And you can thank the Texas heat for that.
“Out here, it’s 100 degrees nine months of the year–hotter inside our steel barns. It might seem crazy to buy high quality barrels and torture them in this heat, but that’s how we extract all the flavor from the American oak. As it matures, the bourbon cycles through the wood’s pores and crevices, yielding a distinct color and bold flavors–everything rich and good about bourbon without the bite.”
As it stands right now, plans call for 6,440 750 ml bottles to be released nationwide, with many of them going on sale in Texas only. Price point is around $220. The initial release happened at the distillery already, with it being said that the allocation there was sold out within an hour. Those that get hold of one will find they now own a hand-signed and numbered bottle that is housed “in a rugged, custom-built American white oak gift box lined with a satin pillow, branded with the Garrison Brothers brand.”
Official tasting notes for the 2019 Cowboy Bourbon suggest a “bouquet of lavender, Manhattan street-cart roasted walnuts, pipe tobacco and Arabica coffee. Powerful rush of raw honeycomb, dried cherries, toffee, warm molasses, cooked apricots, and burnt raisins. Figs and ganache. Burnt marshmallows and a Milk Dud finish. A pleasing hiss like a snake’s rattle as it settles in and numbs the tongue.”