Well, I just finished a huge term paper, so I am rewarding myself with a post that I have wanted to get up for some time. I am continuing to review some good micro-distilleries with today’s review of Breckenridge bourbon. Breckenridge Distillery is a small distillery in Breckenridge, Colorado that has already garnered some international attention for their spirits. Their bourbon won a gold medal at the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition, which is pretty impressive considering it is only a 3 year old bourbon.
The story of Breckenridge bourbon is that it was originally a sourced whiskey from an unnamed distillery in Kentucky, but the distillery has been churning out its own bourbon since 2009. Nowadays, the bourbon is mostly Breckenridge stock, with the occasional batching with older, contracted stock to ensure a consistent product.
I first discovered Breckenridge bourbon at WhiskyLive 2012 here in Boston. I was surprised when the woman pouring my sample of Breckenridge told me that Breckenridge was a 3 year old bourbon that had won one of three gold medals at the IWSC the previous year. However, once I spent a few seconds with this bourbon, I was hooked. It took me a while to find a bottle in Boston, but I eventually got lucky. So, without further ado, here is my review of Breckenridge bourbon (bottled at 86 proof).
In the glass, this bourbon is a rosy red amber, not as dark as some older bourbons. One of the interesting facts about Breckenridge bourbon is that the distillery uses snowmelt for their bourbon, as opposed to the mineral rich water used in Kentucky. I think that lends itself to Breckenridge’s lighter character, but that could also be its youth. On the nose, this whiskey is sweet and citrusy. There are big notes of sweet toffee and butterscotch, with some orange peel notes sneaking through. The palate is medium-bodied and simple, but it tastes so good. Vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar come flooding across my tongue and don’t let up. The finish is longer than I would have expected, and it keeps the sweetness of the palate all the way through. There are notes of oranges, caramel, vanilla, and brown sugar cinnamon. Water doesn’t do much good; this one stands best on its own.
Overall, this is a delightful bourbon. It is not too heavy, but the sweetness that makes bourbon so delicious is all over the tasting experience. It goes to show (along with my review of Bully Boy last week) that you don’t have to have old whiskey to have good whiskey. My Grade: B+. Price: $40-45/750ml. This one is a tasty bourbon, and it has enough complexity to make it an intriguing pour. With a little more body or complexity, this one could easily be in the A range. There are better value buys on the market, but it is always fun to give a shout out to micro-distillery. I can’t wait to see what happens if Breckenridge releases some older stocks or some barrel-strength batches in the future. In the meantime, let it ride!
p.s. A special shout out is deserved by Bryan Nolt (El Jefe at Breckenridge). I sent him an email inquiring about the source of his bourbon, and I got a detailed explanation within 45 minutes. That is customer service and actually investing time in the consumer. Breckenridge is well deserving of their craft distillery label. Keep letting it ride out there in Colorado.