The armadillo is a creature firmly rooted in Texas, so it’s no surprise that a whiskey brand out of Austin would names its product after the animal.
9 Banded Whiskey (named for the nine-banded armadillo, native to Texas) is made by blending oak barrel-aged whiskies with Hill Country spring water that is filtered through limestone. What results, based on my tasting, is something terribly smooth, but at the same time possessing a tender kick.
Amber to the eye in the glass, 9 Banded’s bouquet brings forth honey and a slight hint of fermented apple. A sip — before adding a drip of water — is pleasant, not quite smoky, but something that makes one think of smoke. I added a few drops of water, and the pour, to my taste, improved. Brighter, livelier, springier.
It was a cool evening when I was tasting, and the warmth, balanced by the smooth character of this whiskey, was appreciated. It’s not one that you will remember years from now, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Its caramel profile would, I imagine, please many casual whiskey drinkers. Punch? Yes, this one would make a wonderful bowl of party punch.
My companion for the night was a Balvenie drinker, and he decided that the 9 Banded would be best for mixing a cocktail, so we decided to give that a try the next day. To stay true to 9 Banded’s maker’s, we made a Texas Toddy, which is featured on the brand’s site. It’s two ounces of the whiskey, some allspice dram liquor (which you can make yourself), honey syrup, Angostura bitters, and lemon juice. If you like a fall/winter profile, make this. The 9 Banded served the purpose well.
This whiskey will cost you between $25-$28. A recent check at Spec’s found it on sale for $27. At that price, it can certainly occupy some space on your bar.
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