As a symbol of our offering to the makers who came before us and whose inspiration roused us to seek a future all our own, Cataleja Texas Single Malt is one of the most complex and unique whiskies in our portfolio.
The Single Malt made with 100% Golden Promise Malted Barley was first aged in refill casks, then in a variety of decommissioned Sherry Solera puncheons: Moscatel, Amontillado Dulce, Oloroso, & Palo Cortado.
The word Cataleja is a loose translation of the English word spyglass. As we chart our course, we honor our elders by viewing the horizon through their lens, learning the lessons we need to chart our own course and ensuring the future of Texas whiskies and American Single Malts.
To celebrate our 15th year of distilling whisky in Texas, we offer you Balcones Cataleja, brought to life with influence from the makers who came before us: old world barley, long open fermentations, customized casks suited to our climate, copper pot distillation, and top tier wine finishes.
ON THE NOSE, Cataleja is bright yet earthy with notes of brandied figs dusted with smoked paprika that build to sautéed apricots served on an olive wood spoon. Deeper breaths reveal sophisticated savory notes of sobrasada garnished with orange zest, mossy cherry cavendish, and venison jerky in browned butter.
ON THE PALATE, it is sticky with brooding notes of medjool dates stuffed with cashew butter, cacao nib, and ground clove which transitions to vibrant notes of eucalyptus oil and burnt lemon peel. Pineapple kebabs on matchstick and cinnamon skewers fade to a bittersweet finish of licor de hierbas and affogato made with cherry ice cream.
The Golden Promise single malt that became Cataleja first began its maturation in 200L used Kentucky bourbon barrels, the cradle where much of our single malt starts its maturation journey.
After roughly 3 years of maturation the delicate fruit character of the distillate is preserved while the Texas climate has had a concentrating effect, brightening and marrying the spirit to the soft residual wood sugars drawn from these heavily used oak barrels.
Next, we married & transferred this whisky into decommissioned 500L - 700L Sherry Solera puncheons: Moscatel Dorado, Amontillado Dulce, Oloroso, & Palo Cortado. These puncheons were meticulously hand selected during a visit to various bodegas across Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.
Their very first fill with Balcones single malt showcased the intensity and wonderfully high impact of these 80+ year old casks, so we transferred the whisky back out into neutral barrels after a little over a year of finishing. Next we finished 2 additional rounds of refill single malts within these puncheons, picking up subtle traces of the sherry, along with sulfur & funk.
Over the years we have learned to give whisky and wine-finishing time to co-mingle in neutral casks to encourage integration of two disparate elements.
With further oxidation and evaporation leading to a unity of purpose and elevated flavor. The majority of casks that went into Cataleja experienced this period of post finishing coalescence in neutral oak before being pulled in consideration for the final Cataleja blend.