Father John Rayls
I was very excited to discover another distillery in Texas producing some pretty good stuff. Marshall Louis and Herman Beckley built Dallas Distilleries in Garland, Texas, the producers of Herman-Marshall Whiskey. Garland is located in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex. These whiskeys include a bourbon, rye and single malt. The founders had an accidental meeting about 16 years ago at a Starbucks and began building a friendship with regular meetings there. After a few years, their weekly discussions turned to whiskey. And, as they say in the movies, the rest is history. Herman has responsibility for everything inside the bottle and Marshall has responsibility for everything outside the bottle. Their driving desire is to produce whiskey with excellence. They want it to be the Texas standard for all whiskey produced in the state. Their approach is a bit of “Old School” in that they want taste and techniques that are pre-Prohibition. Dallas Distilleries uses local grain when they can to produce the finest grain to glass experience possible. Herman – Marshall Texas Rye Whiskey is aged for at least 4 years in charred new 53 gallon American white oak barrels and then bottled at 92 proof. The mashbill is an interesting 77% rye and 23% malted barley.
The bottle is fairly traditional, but the label is…well…quirky. It doesn’t really jump out at you. It really doesn’t even grab your attention. It just kind of quietly says “Hi, I’m Herman-Marshall”. It’s a black label with minimalist green graphics and small white lettering. The rye whiskey is a light brown with gold highlights in the bottle. In the glass it’s a dark gold with polished brass highlights. The legs are thin and inconsistent. The nose is somewhat subdued with aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and caramel with some light floral on top. There is no noticeable alcohol burn even when nosing deeply.
This is a mid-palate experience with both upper and lower sections activated. Spicey vanilla drives this flavor profile with both in abundance and there is a light and soft mouth-feel throughout. It’s a very interesting combination of sweet and spicey with cinnamon leading the transition in the finish to a light peppery feel. It’s a medium to long finish, but it is in the way of “less is more”. (Watch “Angles in the Outfield” for a better understanding of this concept!). It’s a quiet finish that requires your full attention. However, it’s the vanilla profile that is so surprising as it lingers to the very end. I don’t normally drink my whiskey on ice, but try it if you love vanilla. With ice, the vanilla palate profile jumps to another level and it softens the finish changing the pepper back to cinnamon. The results really surprised me.
I had very low expectations for Herman – Marshall Texas Rye Whiskey because of its label, position on the shelf (bottom) and price point. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by its balanced sweet and spicey flavor and its pricing. I would certainly recommend you look for this at your local retailer or even online if you live outside of Texas. It’s a good, sweet sipper (think dessert) and it would make cocktails come alive. Expect to find this priced at under $40.00 for a 750ml bottle.