We sit down with Markus Kypreos, Founder of Blackland Distillery, to discuss its origins, sourcing, a unique grain, and the future of their grain to glass operation.
The name originates from the Blackland Prairies ecosystem. The main belt runs from just south of the Red River through the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area and into southwestern Texas. This area was shaped by frequent wildfires and bison. Large fires frequently swept the area, clearing shrubs and stimulating forbs and grasses. Large herds of bison also grazed on the grasses, and they trampled and fertilized the soil, stimulating the growth of the tallgrass ecosystem, at least according to Wikipedia.
A fitting name the way Markus describes it. The grain coming from the fertile land due to charring which helps the barrel impart flavor on the whiskey. The name is interesting but it is also fitting. Blackland Distillery is working with some unique and locally grown grains to set them apart. Blackland Distillery is one of the first distilleries we are aware of using a hybrid grain called Triticale.
Triticale is a hybrid of wheat and rye. From a quick search, triticale can more or less resemble either of its parents. Not being a grain expert, that tells me it can impart either more wheat or rye flavor depending on the germination process. We will work on getting an expert we know to chime in.
Blackland Distillery opened its doors in March of this year (2019), so how do they have whiskey? Well, they are sourcing until their straight whiskey is ready. So what are you drinking when you buy their whiskey? You are drinking a blend that is 80% sourced and 20% their own young juice. Blackland Distillery sources from a distillery in Minnesota that has a unique mashbill using only corn, wheat, and rye.
According to Markus, this particular mashbill is going to blend well with their straight bourbon mashbill of 80% corn and 20% Triticale. We were fortunate enough to try some of their very young (two weeks) bourbon and I am interested to see how the barrel changes and adds to its flavor. Being young the grain is the dominant flavor, but it is a creamy smooth spice.
Another unique thing about Blackland Distillery is their use of modern automated stills from Europe. The stills produce a lighter more elegant alcohol. Thus creating spirits that have a light mouthfeel. That is great with their vodka and gin, but does it make the best whiskey? That is something only you can answer.
The whiskeys are a great summertime and introductory whiskey at 83 proof. If you are used to drinking high proof whiskey or Islay Scotch it is going to feel like something is missing.
Blackland Distillery is sourcing now, but are producing whiskey from grain to glass and moving toward a day when they release their straight whiskey
Check out the video below for the full interview and let us know what you think.