Whiskey Review: Belfour Bourbon Whiskey Finished With Texas Pecan Wood

The usual hope with a celebrity-backed spirit brand is that you’d buy the bottle because of the name on the label. That didn’t work here because, to be honest, I’m not a “hockey person”. I do enjoy going to an occasional game in person, but I need more than a program to know the players. So for me, the fact that the distillery was founded by Ed Belfour (NHL Hall of Famer and goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks for most of the 1990s) wasn’t what spurred me to bring this bottle home. I bought this bottle because I liked the way it looked, and I think you’ll agree that alone was enough to give it a test.



The history of the Belfour family and spirts dates to the 1920’s, when the grandparents of Ed Belfour ran a moonshining operation in Saskatchewan Canada. That early distillery remained a small batch local operation and didn’t make the transition into being a legal facility, and the distilling ended when the family moved on to other more legal revenue sources. The family secret remained well kept until 2014 when Ed Belfour retired from hockey and decided to learn about whiskey.

Ed and his son Dayn began to study the whiskey making process in 2016. They learned about their family’s history and involvement with the early moonshiners and worked to educate themselves with help from industry experts in Kentucky and Canada, seeing to learn how the finest whiskey is made and understanding the influence of different equipment and ingredients on the quality and style of the finished product. During an internship at Woody Creek Distillery in Basalt, Colorado, Dayn made the first 12 barrels of what would eventually become Belfour Straight Rye Whiskey.

A family affair since it’s 2019 founding in Dallas, Texas, Belfour Spirits has been looking to create high quality sprits using top notch ingredients mixed with a high personal touch. There are currently 2,000 barrels of whiskey in various stages of aging, with many more barrels planned as their distribution expands to over 21 states.


As you might expect from a relatively new facility, there isn’t a lot of background available on the process used to create this bourbon. However, we do know as a bourbon whiskey, this is required to start with a grain bill of at least 51% corn. Some sources indicate that they might be using a mashbill that is 60% corn, 30% wheat, and 10% malted barley. The next step, as always, is that the grains are milled, cooked, and fermented to create a mildly alcoholic distillers beer.

After that, the distillers beer would be distilled, which ramps up the alcohol content and selectively captures the components and flavors of the spirit that the distiller wants, resulting in raw “white” whiskey. That newly made whiskey is then placed into new charred American oak barrels for 18 months.

At the 18-month mark, several toasted staves of Texas pecan are added to the barrel and the bourbon is aged longer. This addition of pecan staves was inspired by an enormous pecan tree that is found on the Belfour ranch in Texas.


As I mentioned in the intro, the packaging is the reason I bought this bottle.

The bottle has square sides and is roughly a foot tall, with a strong art-deco vibe from top to bottom. The base of the bottle is a smooth and rectangular, covering the lower inch and a half or so of the bottle. Most of the body of the bottle is covered in glass nubs oriented as diamonds that fully surround the bottle. The amber spirit inside seems to shine through the bottle. Before the shoulder, which is nearly squared off, is another smooth section with a black sticker with the Belfour name printed in gold, wrapping around each side with art-deco wings.

The short neck is wrapped in a black label, which is adorned with a gold eagle’s head – much like Belfour’s helmet was throughout his hockey career. The bottle is capped with a wood and cork stopper.

This is might be one of the best looking bottles I’ve seen.



The first thing that I notice with this whiskey is a rich nutty aroma with hints of molasses and oak. Those aren’t components I’d usually expect in a bourbon, which leads me to believe that even from the start we’re seeing those pecan staves making a significant impact on the spirit. If you were to heat this up (not that you would, that would be weird), I imagine it would smell like fresh pecan pie.

The pecan pie flavors carry over nicely to the flavor profile of this bourbon. It’s on the sweeter side, with light flavors that I’d expect in a wheated bourbon like this one (where there’s a significant percentage of wheat grains in the mashbill). That’s not to say that you don’t get the classic notes as well — there are clear brown sugar components that give the impression of a rich crème brulee flavor or maybe pecan praline, and sprinkled in are also some nutty flavors that seem to give way to a slightly buttery peppery finish.

The thing that is most surprising is the slight hint of smoke — probably another flavor from the toasted staves. It seems to come across as a mild smokey vanilla flavor that is present throughout.

I could sip on this bourbon all day. It’s got enough flavors to stand alone, yet nothing is overpowering enough to make me want to stop after the first glass.

On Ice

On the ice, the sweeter notes mellow out a bit more. You can still pick out the brown sugar and pecan praline flavors, but they are not quite as in-your-face as they once were. Now, the savory notes take more of a front seat.

That’s not to say that this becomes boring — quite the opposite. In this version, the nuttiness is much more prominent. It’s still slightly buttery, but the black pepper seems to be joined with some nutmeg. The woodiness from both the barrel and the smokey pecan staves are more pronounced now, too.   

This was good neat, but I think it might be better on ice — which makes total sense for a spirit owned by an NHL Hall of Famer.

Cocktail (Old Fashioned)

A bourbon that reminds me of pecan pie? I think that might be the perfect starting point for an old fashioned.

In the actual event, this cocktail is pretty well balanced. The sweetness has mellowed from the ice, but the sugar in the cocktail helps to keep it in focus. The nutmeg and smoky pecan seem to mesh well with the floral and herbal components of the bitters, and the orange peel just seems to pull everything together with a little hint of citrus.

This is a good old fashioned, but I cannot in good conscience recommend using a $75 bourbon for cocktails unless they knock my socks (or skates) off. Not saying it’s a bad cocktail, I just don’t see the value to flavor ratio — I have had a better old fashioned made with lower priced bourbon.

Fizz (Mule)

It takes a special bourbon to standout in a Kentucky mule. The flavors in the spirit need to stand up to the ginger beer — creating a symphony of flavors, and not just bourbon-ed down ginger beer.

Sadly, though, this cocktail is not a symphony. It’s more like the sound of the goal horn: blaring in your face for as long as you are drinking the cocktail. There is only one flavor, and that is ginger beer.

I shouldn’t be surprised, given the high wheat in the mashbill. In fact, it reminds me of making a mule with Weller Special Reserve. The bourbon is barely noticeable in the cocktail — you may get an occasional note of pecan, but won’t find any of the primary flavors seen when sipped neat or on the rocks.


Overall Rating

For a distillery that has only been operating for four or five years, this is a really good product. There are a lot of flavors when enjoying it neat or on the rocks, which is impressive considering it was only aged for 18 months and then finished with some toasted pecan staves. I think the toasted pecan adds a distinctness that you don’t find in just any ordinary bottle of bourbon.

This is a surprise celebrity spirit — one in which the celebrity actually put the time in to learn the process, not just loan their name to the marketing. I’m not sure it will ever make the bourbon hall of fame, but when you’re already in the hockey hall of fame, does it really matter?

Belfour Spirits Bourbon Whiskey Finished With Texas Pecan Wood
Produced By: Belfour Spirits
Production Location: Texas, United States
Classification: Bourbon Whiskey
Aging: 1.5 Years
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $74.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 4/5
This is a great sipper – just don’t take a shot (on goal), I am sure Belfour will block it.


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