Americans have innovated the use of corn in whisky since we first set foot on this continent. Baby Blue is not white lighting nor bourbon. It has the freshness and verve of a traditional corn whisky but with a refined complexity added by brief aging in small oak barrels. It has a round nuttiness and roasty overtones with a smooth finish. By legal definitions it could be labeled as a bourbon, but it is not essentially a bourbon in character. Bourbon is largely dominated by the flavors of the wood in the barrel; the new charred oak barrels give bourbon is defining and recognizable flavors, color and aroma. Our brief aging in oak certainly contributes some of the recognizable oak notes and characteristic of bourbon, but these flavors do not dominate the rich corn flavors we have taken so much trouble to impart to the spirit. In any case, bourbon drinkers, as well as other whisky drinkers, will find plenty here to like. Baby Blue is not only the first Texas whisky on the market since Prohibition, but so far we know the only blue corn whisky made anywhere. It pays homage to the American whisky tradition and while adding something we think is new and innovative.
Balcones Baby Blue is made from 100% roasted Hopi blue corn. The Hopi have used it as a staple for thousands of years. Their origin mythology describes how the Creator gave the first people corn of many types, and the Hopi received the blue corn. The Hopi use blue corn as a major food source, but it has spiritual significance for them as well. It is used in many ceremonies representing long life, wisdom, understanding, and the strength that comes through overcoming hardship.
While Hopi blue corn we use has an extremely interesting history, there is really only reason one we prefer it to all other corn for our whisky taste. Its gorgeous midnight blue kernels are packed with a rich, roasty nuttiness that is truly exceptional. Unlike most of the blue corn on the market, Hopi blue corn is not just white dent corn which has been specially crossed to give it a blue tint. There is a lot of quality corn in this category, even some nice organic examples. But in a blind taste test, we could not tell the blue from the white corn. Hopi blue corn, however, has been grown with the same rich color and flavor for thousands of years and is the only corn that could impart the rich character we require for our whisky.