Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Breckenridge Whiskey Port Cask Finish

VITALS:
- $70
- 90 Proof

A couple weeks ago my wife and I did the obligatory road trip with the kids, taking them across the flat lands of Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska so they could see mountains and experience something other than the great plains. We stayed in Breckenridge, and I knew that at some point on this trip I'd be visiting the Breckenridge Distillery.

Within 10 minutes of being in town, though, I found myself in the Breckenridge Tasting Room, where I was immediately greeted and offered a shot of bourbon! Great start to a vacation, and on hell of a way to cap off a long drive! While at the tasting room, though, I learned of a new release, one which the lady behind the counter believed was already sold out. She informed me that only a week prior Breckenridge Distillery had just finished bottling their port finish. While she had no samples for me, she assured me it was incredible.  So, I spent the rest of the week searching out any bottles that remained.

On my last day of vacation I finally made it to the distillery and much to my pleasure they had box on top of box of the port finish, and I grabbed my bottle even before I took the tour (which was free and really fun, by the way!).

On the nose the fruit from the port is really noticeable. Just as noticeable, though, is the sweetness of this whiskey. A sweet, vanilla aroma really came through, not overly sweet, just sweet enough to intrigue me and make me think I'm in for something a little different and good. It smells like dessert!

It comes across as a very easy drinker, not too syrupy, no burn, and, unexpectedly, not nearly as sweet as the nose made me believe it would be. It's on the sweetness level of plums or dark cherries. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but it wasn't that sickening-sweet that you get in some finished bourbons.

Speaking of "bourbon," I found it interesting that despite that this is simply Breckenridge Bourbon finished in port casks, they chose to label it as "whiskey" and not "bourbon" for the fact that the finishing adds flavors not otherwise found in the bourbon. While some distillers continue to call their port finished products "bourbon" (i.e. Angel's Envy and Barton 1792), Breckenridge went the safe route calling it "whiskey."

Nonetheless, the traditional bourbon flavors eventually came through, sneaking out from under the dominant dark fruit flavors. Vanilla and cinnamon came to the forefront as well, along with a hint of coffee flavor.

In the end, though, the earlier sweetness stuck around after the other flavors seemed to disappear, and those sweet notes seemed to linger at the back of my throat forever, something I really enjoyed about this bourbon. Overall, I was very pleased with the only souvenir I brought back from Breckenridge, and I hope they keep cranking out such quality products!

Grade: A

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