Here at Breckenridge Distillery, it all started with our award-winning Bourbon. Whether you were here from the start, or in any state in the US, you are probably familiar. (Bonus points if you’re in one of the 8 international countries we distribute to!) So, what is the difference between bourbon and whiskey? Start with this simple rule: All Bourbons are Whiskeys, and Not All Whiskeys are Bourbons. Think of Bourbon as your first name and Whiskey as your last name!
What makes our classic Bourbon different from cask finishes and Whiskeys?
Bourbon falls under the umbrella of Whiskey along with others like Tennessee Whiskey, Scotch, Kentucky Bourbon, Irish Whiskey and so on. A Whiskey is going to be any distilled and aged spirit that started with grain.
But to be a bourbon, like Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, you need to follow a few rules to call your bourbon a bourbon. Everything else……is whiskey. Oh, and we are here to dispel a few myths for a bourbon to be a bourbon.
- Bourbon has to be made in the United States.
- No, a Bourbon does not need to be from Bourbon County, Kentucky – unless it’s a Kentucky Bourbon. Back in 1964, the United States congress voted to officially recognize Bourbon as a “distinctive product of the United States.”
- Breckenridge Distillery produces Bourbon at an elevation of 9’600 in Breckenridge, CO. (Yes, the World’s Highest!)
- Bourbon needs to be at least 51% corn.
- Starting with the basics here! After this requirement is met, a mash bill is up to the Distillers. Usually, a combination of Rye, Hops, Barley, or Wheat will make up the other 49%. At Breckenridge Distillery, we use a lot of rye- giving the dram a white-peppery finish.
- Where does all the spent grain go? After grains leave the Lauter Tun, we’ll ship the grains to a Southern Colorado ranch to feed the cattle that are used in our Breckenridge Distillery Restaurant steaks. (No, they are not Bourbon-infused cows)
- Bourbon needs to be aged in brand new, charred Oak barrels.
- As you can imagine, we go through a lot of barrels. After our bourbon processes, we’ll age our Dark Arts Single Malt Whiskey, Double Barrel Whiskey, or Spiced Rum in our used barrels. In addition, we’ll ship them to wineries, breweries, or other distilleries as well as make furniture out of them!
- We get our American Oak Barrels from around the country or ISC, an Independent Stave Company in MO. We use level 3 charred barrels meaning they’re fired for about 30 seconds. This is where Breckenridge Bourbon gets its flavor, and color!
- Proofing Bourbon
- A Bourbon can’t be distilled at higher than 160 proof and won’t enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof. Once we’ve proofed down our Breckenridge Bourbon, we will bottle it at 86 proof. Looking for more? Try the 105 Proof Bourbon; same juice and less water.
- Aging Bourbon
- There are no age requirements on Bourbon. A “Straight Bourbon” needs to meet the minimum age statement of 2 years.
- Here at Breckenridge Distillery, our Bourbon will be a blend of 15-20 barrels, with ages spanning 3-8 years. Not a Blend person? Try our Breckenridge Single Barrel.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, what about everything else we make?
- Breckenridge Port Cask and PX Sherry Cask: Once we make our Breckenridge Bourbon, we’ll import used wine barrels from Portugal or Spain to finish the Bourbon in, anywhere up to 2 years. Once it’s re-barreled, this Bourbon is now a Whiskey! These finishes will take on the flavors and colors of the wine that was once in them. Try the Port Cask Finish or PX Sherry Cask
- Breckenridge Spiced Whiskey: Our once-Bourbon, now has traditional holiday spices added. Allspice, cinnamon, clove, and brown sugar makes this a fan favorite for camping and the holidays. Try it here: Spiced Whiskey
- Dark Arts Single Malt: This stuff is so good we have a separate pot still just to make it. Unlike Bourbon, Dark Arts is a 100% Barley mash (no corn or rye).
- Rum Cask Finish: This all-season spirit might have your head spinning. Once we age our Spiced Rum in our Bourbon barrels, we’ll bottle that. With these once-Bourbon-then-Spiced-Rum barrels, we’ll actually put our Bourbon back in, giving this buttery, caramel apple dram, a spicy finish. Check it out here: Rum Cask Finish.
- Collectors Art Series: The second installment of one of our favorite projects this year, is finished in an XO Cognac Cask for 2 years.
There you have it. Now you can be an informed taster and sipper.
Get your favorite spirits delivered to your door.