By 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, and with it their namesake Herman Marshall Whiskey (Garland is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex). Their 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. After a few years, their weekly discussions turned to whiskey and, as they say, 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 excellent whiskey in a pre-Prohibition style, something to set the Texas standard. 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, no corn.
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. Spicy 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 spicy with cinnamon leading the transition in the finish to a light peppery feel.
That is a medium to long finish, but it is in the way of “less is more.” 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 spicy 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.