Breckenridge Distillery’s whiskey innovation will surprise your palate with wine cask finished whiskies.
Breckenridge Distillery was the proud (frankly giddy) recipient of the Icons of Whisky 2018 Brand Innovator of the Year award from the World Whiskies Awards. Innovation is a characteristic of the Breckenridge Distillery. It is illustrated in the innovation of the wide array of wine cask finished whiskies. “Creating and assembling flavors and mouthfeel is what we do, and there are no parameters we won’t change to make a better whiskey,” says Founder and CEO Bryan Nolt. Grains and yeast undergo a fantastic journey to become whiskey, and the time spent in barrel has dramatic effect. The Breckenridge Distillery uses a mash bill of corn, rye, and barley for its whiskeys. The most natural flavor combination with this mash bill is Port. They go together like PB&J.
So, naturally the first wine cask release was Breckenridge Bourbon finished in Tawny Port wine barrels to create Breckenridge Distillery’s Port Cask Finish Whiskey, winner of 2017’s Best American Blended at the World Whiskies Awards. From there you need to decide whether to focus on enhancing subtle neutral fruit, dense sweet fruit, or more eclectic flavors such as walnut. In the Breckenridge Distillery’s case, they decided to balance many of these flavors but pushed the concentrated fruits forward. The Port Cask Finish Whiskey showcases notes of dark fruit like plum and cherry, which temper the high rye content of the initial spirit.
Port Cask Finish Tasting Notes
Our award-winning Bourbon Whiskey gets some final grooming in 59 gallon Tawny Port casks, adding aroma and flavor of sultana raisin and maple syrup, which round out and soften the naturally spicy finish. Thanks to the superior Tawny Port casks, each batch flaunts a unique expression.
Our most decorated finish, the PX Sherry Cask Finish, was awarded 2018 & 2019 & 2021’s Best American Blended by the World Whiskies Awards. The concept came out of Nolt’s obsession for Scotch Whiskies finished in Sherry casks along with a love for Sherry alone. It took years to find the correct cask pairing on this one as he wanted the traditional dryness of sherry to cut through. In the end, they needed the concentrated sugars of the Pedro Ximenez grape to soften the dry edge. The barrels come from an ancient Solera in the Andalusia region of Spain. The PX barrels impart a golden raisin characteristic, followed by a dry white pepper finish.
PX Sherry Cask Finish Tasting Notes
This highly viscous, syrupy, wine is aged in ancient solera barrels for decades before release. Left to bask in these ripe, fruity vessels, our Whiskey emerged with complex layers of fig compote, orange marmalade, and licorice to complement the sweet oak and vanilla character of our world-renowned Bourbon Whiskey.
For the Sauternes, Breck Distillery wanted to get the noble rot of Sauternes together with the sweet and subtle fruity notes from the whiskey. They jumped at the chance when they had the opportunity to get their hands on barrels from Chateau D’Yquem. The rich Sauternes barrels imbue the whiskey with subtle notes of apricot, white peach and artisanal honey. The barrels were reluctant to give up the goods, so the whiskey spent 465 days finishing in the Sauternes Barrels. It turned out to be the ideal whiskey release for their tenth-anniversary celebration in fall of 2018. In 2020, the Sauternes Finish was awarded Gold at the World Whiskies Awards. The Sauternes Finish was exclusively sold at the Breckenridge Distillery but has since sold out. Hopefully, it will return in the future.
Set to release in early Fall 2020, Breck Distillery adds a fourth wine cask finish to their portfolio, the Madeira Cask Finish. Known for tasting notes of roasted nuts, toffee, orange peel, and burnt sugar, Madeira wine is matured in oak casks that make an enticing vessel for finishing Bourbon. Its colorful history and ties to the Colonial Era of America also made this project one worth undertaking.
Madeira wine is produced from a small number of varietal grapes grown on terraces called poios on the rocky island of Madeira, 300 miles north of the Canary Islands. Due to the warm climate, its fruit is picked earlier with higher acidity than other wines. Initially shipped by the Portuguese around the Cape of Good Hope, this wine was exposed to all the wrong winemaking variables including equatorial heat, constant rocking motion, and oxidization. Factors that would ruin nearly any wine gave Madeira its signature style, and a historic Napoleonic naval blockade created the need to fortify this wine with brandy to prevent spoilage during extended periods at sea.
Once a favorite of early Americas, Madeira was drunk to celebrate George Washington’s inauguration, toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and caused an anti-duty riot in Boston a few years before the notorious Tea Party. The history of Madeira is as rich and deep as the hue you’ll notice when nosing your glass, and this is the sexiest cask-finished Whiskey we’ve made yet.
Madeira Tasting Notes
Our award-winning Breckenridge Bourbon marinated in Madeira casks; rich in flavor, without an overpowering sweetness. Maraschino cherry with notes of plum tease the palette, flavors of smoked cherrywood and leather are quickly to follow. Finishing with a hint of Baker’s chocolate, this will quickly become a go-to delight.
CEO Bryan Nolt sums up the raison d’etre of Breckenridge Distillery: “Philosophically we are different than most. Breckenridge Distillery is my obsession and was born by combining an unbridled passion to create along with maniacal love of Whiskey. The consequence of this marriage is a quality-first product, and translating that to a successful business requires building a company packed with high performing associates. We’ve been in business for a decade and learned that our mojo only works when our associates (others call them employees) operate in unison like ninjas. Our products are certainly different due to the unique qualities of the water here in Breckenridge. It’s perfect for mashing and blending spirits due to its hardness, high minerality and low iron content. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it terroir, but we could never create products of the same quality elsewhere, even if we’re just talking about blending and proofing.”
Find the Port Cask Finish and PX Sherry Cask Finish at select liquor stores across the US or shop online at ReserveBar.com. In Breckenridge? Visit us for a free tour on Sundays and tasting and purchase some of Breck’s most sought after spirits.