The flavors imparted from contact with oak are what create the whiskeys we love and enjoy. Rather than put our whiskey into barrels, we instead explored what happens if we did the reverse. Instead of using barrels, we destroyed them, using axes, sledgehammers, and other tools. We chose to put wood into whiskey - and the results were unbelievable.Broken Barrel Whiskey Co.Click to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.
Single Oak Series
The following is a review of three (3) separate whiskeys from Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. I've broken out details as much as possible for this review.
- DISTILLER: Broken Barrel Whiskey Co.
- MASH BILLS:
- Isle of Peat: 1-year+ wheat & single malt whiskies
- Mizunara: 4-year Indiana corn & 5-year Kentucky corn whiskies
- The Cask of Amontillado: 12-year whiskey fortified with 5-year Kentucky corn whiskey
- Fermentation: Standard
- Cooperage: Not Disclosed; Barrel Staves Inserted
- YEAR: 2019
- Mizunara: 100 Proof (50% ABV)
- Isle of Peat: 110 Proof (55% ABV)
- The Cask of Amontillado: 110 Proof (55% ABV)
- MSRP: $44.99
Isle of Peat: Wet Smoke | Charred Oak
Mizunara: Corn Pudding | Baking Spice | Fresh Cedar Plank
The Cask of Amontillado: Herbal Spice | Dark Red Fruit
Isle of Peat: Sweet breakfast cereal | light smoke | baking spice
Mizunara: Green oak | anise | celery root
The Cask of Amontillado: Sweet red berries | rose champagne | clove
Isle of Peat: Short, oak dominant with spice
Mizunara: Short, root vegetable and pencil shavings
The Cask of Amontillado: Short, bright effervescent red fruit
Isle of Peat: Scotch fans who appreciate the smoke but don't appreciate the tariffs.
Mizunara: Japanese whiskey fans that want the legendary Mizunara cask-finished whiskey without the legendary Mizunara price tag.
The Cask of Amontillado: Whiskey lovers that are skeptical of wine barrel finished whiskey.
WORTH THE PRICE: At about $50 MSRP, it is right in line with other craft whiskies. Perhaps a little pricey for the whiskey in the bottle, but for a "limited edition" this is well under current market.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST:
Isle of Peat: Bar; Caveat here is that I'm not a huge fan of peaty scotch and in that category I'd lean more towards a beefy Lagavulin if I'm buying a bottle. If you love peat, pick up this bottle. If you are peat-curious (paging Fred Minnick), try this at the bar first.
Mizunara: Bar; I didn't love this one but it wasn't a total bust. Probably a reasonable cost for a pour at a bar if you can find it.
The Cask of Amontillado: Bottle; At the MSRP, this is a great expression that is unique in my home bar and would be revisted often.
OVERALL: I intentionally didn't read about these whiskies before trying them and logging my tasting notes. I'm generally skeptical of "new techniques" and certainly skeptical of producers in Southern California. Throw in corn whiskey and the wine-barrel finished product and my inclination would be to write a negative review without even tasting it.
This is why blind tasting is so important in the whiskey world. Your palate doesn't lie. Even when you want to argue with your palate all those points above. Seth Benhaim may be on to something here. He sourced some very young corn whiskey and turned them into something enjoyable, even desirable.
To rank these offerings in order of my preference, The Cask of Amontillado, which claimed a Silver at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, was the clear winner for me. The Isle of Peat, which claimed a double gold at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, was second. And the distant third was the Mizunara offering. That one didn't win any awards.
The bottle art is fantastic. The price point is very reasonable. The variety of flavors has something for most everyone. To the barrel breakers and risk takers in Los Angeles, cheers. I am interested to see what you come up with next.
Broken Barrel Whiskey Company
The Single Oak Series
Isle of Peat
Broken Barrel Isle of Peat explores the concept of reclaiming flavor from oak while also reclaiming oak from the Scots. American whiskey is heavily dominated by Bourbon - a whiskey governed by a rule that a new oak barrel can only be used once. Scotch whisky however follows no such rule, and Americans export millions of ex-bourbon barrels to Scotland where they become Scotch barrels.
Isle of Peat introduces a curated combination of American wheat whiskey and American single-malt whiskey, blended together and matured with the charred oak staves from these very Scotch barrels.
Specifically, Islay Scotch barrels - best known for their unrelenting smoky character and intensity. The reclaimed oak staves are broken down from their barrel form, carefully selected, and submerged into the whiskey we've blended for a minimum of 30 days. Stored in a warm dry environment, these Islay staves impart their smoky finish into every last drop of this incredible whiskey. The finish is a long-lasting smoke show that will leave you wanting more and more.
Broken Barrel Mizunara is a true tale of East meets West. This artisanal whiskey blends American corn with Japanese mizunara oak staves. Both are matured together for a rare yet balanced combination.
Mizunara, literally translates to “water oak.” This oak has become increasingly popular with the global growth of whiskey, and the majority of this oak is now sourced from Mongolia. It has a high moisture content and is much more porous than other commonly used oaks for barrel making. Making barrels out of Mizunara is quite challenging according to many coopers, as the porous properties of the casks are prone to leaking.
Our whiskey, as a result of using this most interesting oak for our Oak Bill™ resulted in a rich, harmonious blend that is both quintessentially American in sweetness and character, while still notably Japanese-styled in its mellow smooth finish. Broken Barrel Mizunara Whiskey is exceptionally flavorful and unforgettably clean tasting - a whiskey meant to be sipped, savored, and most importantly - shared.
The Cask of Amontillado
The classic tale told by Edgar Allen Poe of deception and is resurrected by this intricately designed whiskey. Using the coveted Amontillado Spanish sherry casks that spent decades aging the finest fortified wines, we have emboldened our whiskey with a most intriguing and beguiling of flavors and depth.
The Cask of Amontillado pays homage to the environments of the deep dark cellars where Fortunato was deceived.
This whiskey takes 12-yr old Light Whiskey and Kentucky corn whiskey, devilishly blended together to embody Poe's story, delivering a killer character that is reminiscent of that cool, dark, damp crypt rich with earthy, fruit and semi-sweet tones and dark fruit finish that is to die for.
Each bottle features beautiful hand-drawn original artwork by Joshua Zingerman.
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Disclaimer: Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.