Texas is home to many small towns with strange and difficult to pronounce names. From Boerne to Littig, there’s some strange place names out there. One of those strange names is Pflugerville, a small city on the outskirts of Austin, particularly enjoyed locally for (the ‘p’ is silent, for the record). And now, the “Pf” has its own distillery making their own spirits.
We’ve all been there. A long night of solving the world’s problems with our drinking buddies after the third bottle turns to the inevitable discussion of “we should buy a bar” or “we should open a distillery.” In 2006, then 29-year-old Shaun Siems of Pflugerville, Texas decided to actually follow through and open his own distillery that would produce affordable Texas inspired spirits that would rank among the best in the world.
Three years later, Shaun and three friends opened the distillery with a homemade three gallon still, taking their time and ensuring that their product was perfect before it was released in 2016. Since then, Shaun has bought out the other investors and is now the sole owner of Spirit of Texas Independent Distillery.
The Pfluger Single Malt Whiskey starts with a grain bill of 80% malted barley and 20% rye. Once fermented, the mash is distilled three times in small batches before being aged in new production charred oak barrels.
Once the spirit has been aged to perfection (an undisclosed period of time) the whiskey is charcoal filtered prior to bottling.
The bottle design is common among craft distilleries — a round and wide bottle body with a quickly rounded shoulder and a short neck. The whole thing is capped off with a plastic and cork stopper.
What makes this different from those other bottles is the labeling. The label design takes a lot of inspiration from the local area, with faded blue background on the labeling reminiscent of the Texas sky and the Pflugerville water tower prominently in the middle of the label. It’s attractive, and best of all the label doesn’t obscure the whole bottle. There’s plenty of room around the label to enjoy the caramel coloring of the spirit.
The very first thing that I smell is banana bread coming through strong. Around the edges there’s some vanilla and caramel, but the most prominent thing in there is the banana aroma. It’s sweet, fruity, and delicious.
Taking a sip, the banana is still there… but there’s also some of that charred oak flavor coming through from the charcoal filtering. It’s smooth and delicious with a bit of a peppery spice on the finish from the rye content.
While I think the banana flavor is very much from the distillation process and a bit from the aging, the fact that it’s clearly a banana bread and not just straight Hoppes #9 banana extract is from that malted barley in the grain bill. It adds some cereal bread-like notes that round the edges of the flavor.
Surprisingly, the flavor doesn’t really change with the addition of the ice. The flavors are bold and beautiful, and they don’t even get diluted in the process here. The banana bread flavor is still there, though, coming through loud and clear.
The only thing that may have changed is that the peppery spice from the rye content seems to have faded a bit into the background. It’s mostly sweet and delicious banana bread at this point.
Cocktail (Old Fashioned)
What I love about this version of the cocktail is how refreshing it is. The citrus of the orange peel and the existing banana flavors compliment each other and almost make this taste like a Painkiller but without the sweetness or spice of the rum. It’s smooth, sweet, and amazing all on its own even without some added sugar.
Overall, it’s a great cocktail. Well balanced with good flavors, and a smooth sipper for those Texas afternoons.
Usually, I expect that the ginger beer in a mule will cover up the majority of the flavors in a whiskey; but in this case, the two flavors compliment each other.
There’s more than enough of the banana flavor to stand up tp the ginger beer, and the two flavors do a great job mixing together. The tangy ginger and the sweet banana balance each other nicely to produce a delicious experience. And, on the end, there’s still enough peppery spice from the rye to make a bit of an appearance.
I still think the Sweetheart of the Rodeo whiskey is better in a mule, but this ain’t half bad.
I really like this. As a Texas single malt whiskey, you’d expect bold flavors and interesting tasting notes, and that’s exactly what you get here. It’s delicious and unexpected in a good way, something that deserves a spot on the whiskey shelf. If I can clear some space.
Pfluger Single Malt Whiskey
Owner: Spirit of Texas Independent Distillery
Production: Pflugerville, Texas
Classification: Single malt whiskey
Grain bill: 80% malted barley, 20% rye
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $45 / 750ml
Overall Rating: 5/5
A bottle full of the spirit of the Pf.