DSR – CO – 002: Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish
Company/Distillery: Breckenridge Distillery
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Mash Bill: In-house Distillate: 56% yellow corn, 38% green rye, and 6% barley; Blended with other high-rye whiskies sourced from undisclosed distilleries. Finished in a Breckenridge Rum Cask.
Age Statement: No Age Statement; A Blend of whiskies aged from 4 to 10 years.
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Viewing this whiskey from the bottle, it presents a soft tawny color. In the tasting vessel, this Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish is light chestnut in color. The whiskey produces a medium bodied viscous line when tilted and allowed to run up the side of the glass. Legs are plentiful and rapidly glide back down to the bottom of the glass.
Purchase Price: Approximately $60. Our bottle was brought to us from the distillery from a good friend.
Bottle Label Information:
“Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish”
“Batch No. 11”
“Blended Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Rum Barrels with Natural Flavors Added.”
“Produced and Bottled by Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, Colorado”
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 taken his passion for whiskey and created 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 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, 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 Rum Cask Finish
Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey takes in-house distillate made from a mash bill of 56% yellow corn, 38% green rye, and 6% 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 4 years before being finished in Breckenridge Distillery’s own rum casks. Breckenridge adds dried fruit peels, various spices, and different roots and barks to add character to its rum. That character is then transferred over to the bourbon through the cask finish process.
Tasting Date/Vessel: August 1, 2022 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few added drops of distilled water.
Christian: From the bottle, Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish smells of dark brown sugar sweetness. A second pass allows the oak barrel influence to rise from the bottle and is joined by a light indiscernible floral note. In my Glencairn glass, a nice aromatic floral note is accompanied by light honey and sweet corn. A gentle swirl uncovers a fresh baked bread component that is quickly followed by a punch of baking spice and rye. One final pass brings forth a quick wisp of maple syrup. There is an element to the nose that reminds me of a young lightly aged bourbon. At this point in the experience, I am not noticing much influence from the rum cask. The addition of distilled water really sweetens up this spirit. Sweet molasses and rye spice meld together nicely to create an enticing nose.
Mike: From the bottle, this whiskey emits an aroma of fresh cut oak staves. It then transitions gently to brown sugar tones and packaged oatmeal. As I nose this whiskey from the Glencairn glass, a quick rush of new make/moonshine is revealed then yields to light Karo syrup. A swirl allows a suggestion of dark berries to engage on the back-end. As the whiskey settles in the glass, there is a trace of very soft buttercream icing that emerges.
Christian: The Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish has a nice thick mouthfeel that gently coats the tongue and roof of my mouth. Freshly buttered corn hits my palate first before a rush of rye baking spice erupts in the mouth. I allow the second sip to sit on my tongue, at which point I begin to notice subtle hints of traditional rye flavors like leather, green apple, caramel, and clove. The distilled water tames the mouth here by thinning out the mouth feel and flavor profile offered. Flavors transition more rye heavy with toasted oak and brown sugar really being the dominant forces.
Mike: This rum cask finish from Breckenridge is light and crisp upfront, then bites sharply on the back of the palate. Subtle hints of apple and pear, then a bite of rye spice, is detected mid-palate. A second pass reveals a honey-like sweetness on the tip of the tongue then a palatable dose of baking spices as the sweetness of the rum cask finish surfaces late.
Christian: This whiskey offers a nice crisp finish that is medium in length and offers a warming hug. The rye spice wells up from deep in the throat and lingers for a generous amount of time. Boom! Now this is where I notice the influence of the rum cask! Nice flavors of oak barrel char, vanilla, raisin, and baking spices tickle the palate. A zip of cinnamon comes along late and lingers nicely with a touch of simple syrup sweetness. Finally, apple appears again very late in the finish and is quite noticeable. The water allows the finish to shorten a bit while not totally removing the rye spice. A hint of coconut is now introduced along with oatmeal and cinnamon apples.
Mike: This Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish whiskey is medium to long overall. A mild tingle in the back of the throat swells to a rather bold finish. Somewhat unrefined, a slight bitterness is detected on the back end.
Christian: I really enjoyed this Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish and find it to be on equal footing with the Breckenridge Blended Whiskey we reviewed. It is enjoyable and approachable. A nice change of pace, sipping whiskey for the middle of summer. One thing I notice with this pour is that the more you sip on it, the more the flavors evolve and the sweeter it becomes. At first the rye bourbon influence overpowers any semblance of rum, but that really changes with every sip. More and more rum influence begins to seep in as you continue to enjoy this beverage. Overall, I find this whiskey to offer enough traditional bourbon flavors, while just adding a hint of rum influence, to meet the needs of a variety of different whiskey drinkers. Sometimes whiskey finished in different barrels can be overpowered by the flavors from the secondary spirit, which is not the case here and makes Breckenridge Rum Cask Finish a whiskey worth giving a shot.
Rating: 3.25 Rickhouses
Mike: This is a sweet and easy sipping offering from Breckenridge. Not overly complex, its simplistic nature is as refreshing as the whiskey itself. It punches slightly higher than 90 proof on the finish. At a price point of approximately $55, it is in line with most cask finished whiskies on the market but for me personally, a little on the high side for its proof and muted flavor profile.
Rating: 2.875 Rickhouses