DSR – CO – 001: Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, A Blend
Company/Distillery: Breckenridge Distillery
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Mash Bill: In-house Distillate: 54% yellow corn, 38% green rye, and 8% barley; Blended with other high-rye whiskies sourced from undisclosed distilleries.
Age Statement: Minimum of 3 years
Proof/ABV: 86 Proof/43% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, A Blend is light gold in color. It produces a medium viscous line in the tasting vessel and is thin bodied in appearance. Numerous legs develop after a slight delay, then progress rapidly down the sides of the whiskey glass.
Purchase Price: Approximately $45.00 for a 750 ml bottle; a 1.75 L was used for the purpose of this review. This bottled was graciously provided to us by a friend, affectionately known to us as Bullwinkle, for review. Thanks, Dan, for graciously allowing us to taste your bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey!
Bottle Label Information:
“Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey”
“Whiskey with snowmelt water from the Rocky Mountains”
“100% Bourbon Whiskey”
Located some 9,000+ feet above sea level in the snow capped Rocky Mountains lies the “World’s Highest Distillery” – Breckenridge Distillery of Breckenridge, Colorado. This distillery was founded in 2008 by radiologist Bryan Nolt. Mr. Nolt, a lover of malted Scotch, found his way to the world of distilling after an enlightening trip to Scotland in 2007. While visiting many of the different whisky distilleries on his journey Mr. Nolt became fascinated by the varying approaches to how each company handled their barley for distillation. It was during this trip that the proverbial light bulb went off and an idea took root–he would begin distilling his own malted whiskey. In just over 10 years, Mr. Nolt has since taken his passion for whiskey and turned it into one of the most highly decorated craft distilleries in the United States.
Production began quickly in 2008, with the distillery concentrating primarily on its vodka and bourbon lines. In the beginning, the distillery produced roughly 1 barrel a day using a small pot still. In 2018, the distillery would undergo considerable expansion adding a 40-foot continuous column still and doubler, a 10,000-gallon fermentation tank, and a 10,000-gallon mash tank. This has allowed Breckenridge Distillery to increase production up to over 20 barrels a day of its bourbon whiskey. The original still continues to be used at the distillery and currently makes rum and single malt whiskey at approximately 2 barrels per day.
Breckenridge Distillery offers a long list of offerings produced at the Colorado facility. In addition to the Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, A Blend which we used for this review, the distillery also produces Whiskey Port Cask Finish, Rum Cask Finish, Madeira Cask Finish, Distillers High Proof, Bourbon Single Barrel, Whiskey Powder Hound, Whiskey PX Cask Finish, Collector’s Art Edition, Dark Arts: Whiskey Distilled from Malt Mash, Reserve Blend, Two Clans Blended Whiskey, Spiced Whiskey, many different rums, gins, aquavit, and vodkas.
To see video’s of the Breckenridge operation, including videos and a 3-D virtual tour, check out their website at https://breckenridgedistillery.com/.
Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, A Blend
Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey takes in-house distillate made from a mash bill of 54% yellow corn, 38% green rye, and 8% barley and blends it with other high-rye mash bill bourbons sourced from undisclosed distilleries. The Breckenridge distillate is made using fresh Rocky Mountain water, rich in mineral contents and unique to the whiskey being produced. The bourbon is aged in 53-gallon new oak barrels for at least 3 years before being bottled and distributed to much of the United States.
Tasting Date/Vessel: September 30, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few added drops of distilled water.
Christian: In the bottle, this Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey opens with a quick burst of fruitiness that reminds me of black cherry. Removing the bottle from under my nose and then returning it allows a robust, fresh tobacco aroma to emphatically take over. One last pass allows a gentle undertone of undiscernible spice to hang quietly below the tobacco forward aroma. In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey has a fruitiness much more like fresh cut apples. A quick swirl of my glass opens up the nose to generous helpings of brown sugar, cinnamon, a touch of floral, and freshly made breakfast pastries. Finally, I notice just a tinge of earthiness that is mineral in nature. The addition of distilled water brings forward a caramel flavor that is accompanied by an aroma that reminds me of freshly frying donuts…sweet and inviting.
Mike: Nosing this bourbon from the bottle, I’m delighted by soft tobacco aromas and notes of light cherry. The tobacco aromas become dominant, then transition to warmed brown sugar. Nosing this whiskey from the glass, I immediately detect sliced green apples, the bagged variety that you can get from most fast food restaurants. Baking spices, primarily brown sugar and cinnamon, become present on the nose. There is a faint chalkiness that materializes, reminiscent of a chewable antacid. As the bourbon settles in the glass, I get qualities of ethylene gas, like the smell of overripe bananas.
Christian: This bourbon whiskey is thin and soft on the palate. Little to no residue remains on the tongue or roof of my mouth. The whiskey isn’t overly sweet on the palate and has a rather muted flavor profile. As I take my first sip, very subtle hints of leather, vanilla, and honey quickly come to my mind. A quick swirl then second tasting envelops my mind with graham crackers, creamed yellow corn, and just a smidge of black tea. Water allows the whiskey to remain very thin and soft but adds an element of creaminess. Loads of corn are accompanied by vanilla pudding and brown sugar. I am reminded of fresh corn pudding – it’s not going to blow you away with flavor, but there is an enjoyable sweet and savory component to this.
Mike: Breckenridge Bourbon is thin with a delicately creamy mouthfeel. Vanilla pudding or wafer cookies hit the front of my palate gracefully. Apples and baking spices emerge mid-palate and move front to back as leather and tobacco settle in late.
Christian: The finished product by Breckenridge Bourbon is short and dry. It is at this point in the experience that I pick up just a morsel of rye spice in the pour. It is not at all overbearing or disruptive to the experience. It reminds you that this whiskey originates from a high-rye mash bill. The finish really brings out flavors of cinnamon, a touch of clove, baked apples, and the crumbly pie topping found on many fruit pies. Again, well after the whiskey has been imbibed, a small amount of mineral essence and tart green apples hangs around. Water really kills any finish that was present when this whiskey is enjoyed neat. Green Apple and a touch of oak barrel char really stand out the most.
Mike: This bourbon offers a dry and very mild finish. A soft burn of white pepper strikes the back of the throat. A touch of bitterness, oak char or oak tannins, is detected late. After the whiskey is consumed, there is a satisfying sweetness on the tip of the tongue and lips.
Christian: Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, A Blend offers a delicate, approachable, and smooth drinking experience that should appeal to the wider whiskey community, for the seasoned drinker as well as those just beginning their journey. Perhaps a little light on proof at just 86, this bourbon really comes off as polished, with no unruly sharp edges that stand out. In short, Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey is a tasty, light option for a time when you are just looking for and easy sippin’ pour to enjoy. This is a whiskey that would be good to have on your home bar for those occasions when guests are over just to hang out and enjoy an evening of light banter and genuine laid back fellowship. If you have a chance, give this pour a shot and enjoy.
Rating: 3.25 Rickhouses
Mike: Breckenridge Blended Bourbon is an unpretentious offering. It is very easy-sipping with delicate flavors overall. I prefer bourbon with a little more punch but, I would identify this bourbon as being agreeable to most consumers. This bourbon has traditional qualities and a great introduction for those interested in dipping their toes in the bourbon waters. If you have access to this bourbon from Breckenridge, it would be worth grabbing to have around for guests or for a light nightcap. I feel it would get lost as a mix in with some standard cocktails and for me, should be consumed neat.
Rating: 2.63 Rickhouses