The Breckenridge Distillery released its Rum Cask Finish [90pf/$70] June 24. It was first released exclusively at Breckenridge Distillery. The Distillery plans to expand its footprint nationally August 1 in 22 select states (see below). Bryan Nolt, Founder and CEO, says, “It may be one of the best products we’ve ever released.”
Breckenridge Distillery recently released the Madeira Cask Finish, one of four award-winning wine cask finished products and the Double Barrel Aged Whiskey. Both are available at the Breckenridge Distillery.
Rum Cask Finish Tasting Notes
Our award-winning Breckenridge Bourbon soaks up the charm of our own aged Colorado rum casks, creating an unstoppable wave of flavor. Candied apple and cinnamon enfold as dark chocolate and cacao follow. Lingering allspice captivates the senses, gratifying in just one sip but mysterious enough to leave you wanting another.
Bryan Nolt is not a rum fan, but if he is going to drink rum, he favors very old (over 20-year) blackstrap sipping rums and when sipping a cocktail, classic tiki drinks are always a great escape.
“About a decade ago, we decided to make a proper grain to glass, traditional style spiced rum, no fake flavors unlike the mega brands we all know. It turned out to be one of our collective favorites,” says Nolt.
Our process for the Rum Cask starts after making the basic rum. We do multiple stages of macerations with dried fruit peels, spices, roots, barks, herbs and spices. Early on, we recognized that some of these components paired amazingly well with our style of high-rye bourbon so we began tinkering. It took several years to develop the exact fractions of these combinations that combine the desired flavor profile into the oak barrels, then dumping and refilling those barrels with our bourbon and allowing the extraction to take place.
“It’s a little crazy to make a specific rum that lives to impart flavors into a barrel that will later be used to finish an already perfectly aged bourbon whiskey, but I guess that’s what happens when passion takes over. We’re a little nervous about releasing this product because it’s too good, as-in nobody will want to drink any other whiskey (including ours), so we’ll see how it goes,” says Nolt.
Q & A with Breaking Bourbon + Bryan Nolt and Hans Stafsholt
Why did Breckenridge decide to do a rum finished spirit?
BN: We painstakingly macerate each component of our spiced rum, and over the years couldn’t help but notice how well the rum components married with our high rye whiskey style. It took years, but we were able to balance the flavor profile we love in the rum with what we wanted to impart into the oak barrels.
Why did you choose a high-rye bourbon as your base whiskey?
BN: That’s how I roll with Bourbon, and it’s a signature with us. We make big and balanced whiskeys.
Can you disclose the age of the base whiskey?
BN: We always vat differing ages together in order to achieve the exact profile we’re after, from nose to body, mouthfeel, finish, and so on. The youngest whiskey is 4 years and the oldest in over 10 years
What are your takeaways from your experience doing this? Does rum finishing work? Will it ever be as popular as wine finished whiskey or remain more of a niche product?
BN: I believe this is the type of product that the American palate is looking for at this moment. The barrel finish adds complexity and subtle sweetness that is unique to our product line, and I expect this one to fly off the shelf. The initial response from consumers has been through the roof and we already had to allocate. Our 6-month distribution plan was wiped out in four weeks.
There aren’t many rum-finished spirits on the market. Why don’t we see more rum-finished American expressions?
BN: This product will probably change that. I just don’t think there are a lot of distilleries out there that are so devoted to both whiskey and rum.
How long did you finish the whiskey for and how did you decide on the length of finishing time?
HS: It’s a moving target as we continuously taste each of our barrels through development. The exact times are proprietary, and some of our wine cask finishes ride for up to two years. So far, we’ve found the rum casks make their contribution much faster.
What was the most difficult part of the process? Was this a grand slam right away or was there a lot of trial and error when developing it?
HS: Making sure the spice profile on the rum wasn’t too big or overpowering for the whiskey. This project took years to perfect and was a dance.
On your website, you talk about the multiple stages of macerations with dried fruit peels, spices, roots, barks, herbs and spices. This is unique among your peers doing rum-finished whiskeys. Can you describe this process in more detail and why you went down this path?
HS: I think most consumer brands are about scale and ease, so artificial flavors and extracts are the best fit. We just don’t do that. Bryan has never directed us to mass-produce flavors, and we all just really enjoy making spiced rum in the traditional method.
Davy Jones’ Locker
2-1/2 oz Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish (available at Breck Distillery)
1 oz peach/apricot shrub*
3/4 oz lemon juice
Garnish: mint bouquet
**Peach/apricot shrub: take 3 peaches, 2 apricots with as much skin removed and cut into pieces. Over medium heat, add 16oz water, 12 oz sugar and the fruit. stir until sugar is dissolved. Let rest for 2 hours. Break up the fruit and let rest again. Strain fruit. Add 3/4 oz cider vinegar, 3/4 bar spoon vanilla bean paste & 1/4 bar spoon sea salt.
Order it at the Breck Distillery Restaurant now.
You can find the Rum Cask Finish now at the Breckenridge Distillery and in the following states starting August 1, 2020: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, LA, MA, MD, MN, MO, NJ, NM, NV, NY, SC, TN, TX, WA and WI. We will be expanding further distribution shortly after.