Breckenridge Bourbon prides itself on being the highest (altitude) distillery in the world. And that probably is accurate based on my limited knowledge of where whiskies are made. To my knowledge, Breckenridge Bourbon has always sourced other state’s distillates (Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee) as long as they were high rye bourbons and then blended it with their own. The end result is a mashbill that I’m not exactly sure the ratios of, but let’s just say it’s very close to being a rye whiskey if they push it any more.
Being open since 2007, it’s amazing that you don’t really find any age statements on their products 13 years later. All of their bottles contain distillate at least 2 years old and sometimes labeled up to 4 years old, but that’s about it. So how would their standard fare, 86 proof bourbon stand up? Let’s find out. I sampled this neat and from a glencairn.
Nose: Young rye spice is apparent with youthful astringent and pine-y notes, but at this low proof, it’s not really strong enough to knock me back in my seat. There is some subtle caramel sweetness as well. The youth of this distillate is apparent with some very grainy notes and a little bit of ethanol sting. Had I not known what this was before I started to drink it, I would assume this was a young Kentucky rye whiskey.
Palate: The thin mouthfeel does not help me want to indulge in this bourbon for too long. There are some light honey notes that contrast with a bitter oak taste that I can’t avoid. The graininess of the distillate that I smelled on the nose is apparent on the tongue as well. The rye spice notes, black pepper and a little bit of red pepper flakes, add some depth to the distillate overall, but can’t really save the palate much.
Finish: The menthol cooling effect is at the forefront upon swallowing, but there is no backfill of sweet flavors to really help you enjoy your sip. Peppermint sticks around for a while and the bitter oak remains. The finish is short and not memorable at all.
Breckenridge was one of the first bourbons I bought back in my early days with whiskey. Moving from Colorado from Indianapolis, I wanted a memento to take with me from a state I grew to love. Unfortunately, Breckenridge bourbon doesn’t do that memory justice as the distillate here is young and disjointed. There are many more things I would’ve much rather bought at this price point if I knew then what i know now.
Since I bought this bottle, Breckenridge has expanded their lineup to include finished whiskies and even a high-proof version. But all of these attempts leaves me wondering why there have been no higher aged products coming out of a distillery that has been open since at least 2008. Is it lack of storage space? The climate of high altitude not being conducive to aging whiskey? Or just a bad business plan? I don’t know and probably never will, but the bottom line is that it is hard to get excited about this whiskey and I don’t think you’ll find me buying another one anytime soon.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
*Bourbon Culture is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.