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5 Locally Distilled Whiskeys Perfect for Last-Minute Holiday Gifting

From beginner to serious snob, these five bottles of brown liquor will impress any whiskey drinker

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The Four Grain Bourbon from Grapevine’s Tahwahkaro Distilling
Tahwahkaro/Facebook

Considering that Christmas is next week and the postal service is in a state of total chaos, it’s probably a little bit too late to order those last-minute holiday gifts. Fortunately, there’s no better gift option than whiskey, especially one that’s distilled locally.

Instead of getting the whiskey drinker in your life yet another set of whiskey stones that they don’t want, consider one of these 5 top-quality bourbons made to impress any level of brown liquor aficionado in Fort Worth, Grapevine, Waco, and beyond. As an added bonus, they’re all available for curbside pickup or delivery, which means you won’t have to brave the crowds of fellow procrastinators.

Tahwahkaro Distilling’s Four Grain Bourbon, $45

Brothers Justin and Jason Jackson have been quietly making some of the best whiskey in North Texas for quite a while at Grapevine’s Tahwakaro Distilling. The 96-proof Four Grain Bourbon is an especially solid choice, with Texas yellow corn, red wheat, rye berry, and three different types of malted barley in the mash bill. That combination produces a flavor that is more complex than the average bourbon, with notes of honey butter, fresh biscuits, and honeysuckle on the nose. Order via Total Wine.

Lone Elm Distilling’s Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished Straight Wheat Whiskey, $30

For the whiskey fans in your circle who won’t shut up about vaunted Kentucky bourbon Pappy Van Winkle, give Lone Elm a try. Distilled in Forney, this is a 100 percent wheat whiskey, and one of the most underrated spirits in the state. Packing a potent 123.3 proof, expect hints of sugar-soaked dates and pipe tobacco on the nose, with notes of chocolate covered cherry, caramel, pecan, and a bit of licorice on the palate. Head to the distillery and call ahead for curbside pickup.

Ironroot Republic’s Harbinger 115, $60

Right before the pandemic started, Whisky announced that Ironroot Republic in Denison had produced the best bourbon in the world in 2020. Occasionally the Denison distillery will offer single-barrel releases, but its primary focus is on the art of blending, using individually produced whiskeys from heirloom corn to create their signature bourbons, like the award-winning Harbinger. At 115 proof, this complex spirit smells of cinnamon, orange marmalade, blackberry, strawberry compote, and brown sugar maple cookies. On the palate, there’s fresh elote, baking spices, caramel kettle corn, dry charred oak, and magic.

If you have a whiskey snob you’d like to impress, this is some of the best bourbon they’ll ever have. Full stop. Head to Ironroot’s website for details on where to order.

Balcones Distilling’s Lineage Single Malt, $42

From the beginning, single malt whisky has been the focus of Waco’s Balcones Distilling. Created specifically to be the distillery’s “most accessible single malt yet, in both taste profile and price,” this 94 proof whiskey brings sweet vanilla cream, hot spiced cider, brown gravy, over-ripe bananas, and stone fruit on the nose, with a fun rush of dulce de leche, sweet potato, and black tea on the palate. Available for pickup at the distillery just a short drive away in Waco.

Blackland Distilling’s Blackland Rye Whiskey, $37

For the rye whiskey fans, Fort Worth’s Blackland Distillery is making some very good whiskey at extremely reasonable prices. One of the most unique elements of this 83 proof rye is the use of triticale, a wheat/rye hybrid grain. This spirit is very light on the nose, with hints of vanilla buttercream icing, dried leaves, cinnamon apple baked oatmeal. On the palate, it comes across as herbaceous and creamy, with accents of new leather, candy corn, vanilla, and cinnamon sugar. Order delivery via Drizly, or head to the distillery in Fort Worth for pickup.

Nico Martini is the author of Texas Cocktails, and is currently working on a book about the state’s finest whiskeys.

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