Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
In late 2022, Broken Barrel Whiskey Company released Americana, its fifth addition to its core offerings of Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Rye Whiskeys. This 50% ABV is a straight American Whiskey with a mash bill of predominantly corn, rounded out with rye and malted barley. Four plus year old corn whiskey is blended with younger bourbon to create the final product.
In addition to a mash bill, Broken Barrel Whiskey Company whiskeys also have what the brand describes as “an oak bill.” The unique thing about this company, and the inspiration for its name, is that its whiskeys are finished in tanks with whiskey broken barrel staves rather than individual barrels. This allows for whiskeys to be finished with exposure to more than one type of barrel wood. The combination of the different type of barrels added to the finishing tank makes up the “oak bill”. Americana’s oak bill is comprised of American oak barrels of varying char and American apple brandy cask.
The whiskey is beautifully packaged, with the company’s name written out in embossed glass, and an elegantly designed label that sits on the bottom third of the bottle, allowing for the rich brown of the whiskey itself to be the thing that draws the eye. It will stand out on a shelf for sure. After trying the whiskey for myself, I’m not sure the whiskey stands up to the flashy marketing, but it is still a respectable offering, especially for a relatively new company.
Tasting Notes: Broken Barrel Americana
Vital Stats: 50% ABV. MSRP $35. 750 ml bottle. Mash bill: 80% corn, 14% rye, 6% malted barley. Oak bill: 40% charred American oak, 40% toasted American oak, 20% American apple brandy cask.
Appearance: The color is a light reddish brown that turns golden when held up to the light.
Nose: Vanilla, apple, caramel, and baking spice make up the bulk of the nose. A light, aromatic grassiness makes itself known as well.
Palate: Honey sweetness spiced with oak and light rye takes the forefront. Grassy and nutty notes come into play as well. The mouthfeel is silky, yet the drink leaves a suede-like grippiness on the tongue. The alcohol is punchy. The vanilla from the nose finally reveals itself on the palate, which is lingering and warm.
Whiskey Review: Broken Barrel Americana
I love that American whiskey’s loose definition allows it to be a playground for distillers and whiskey companies to push boundaries and use their imagination. The cleverly named oak bill creates a new avenue to develop flavor alongside the mash bill. Having said that, this whiskey lacked some of the complexity and smoothness I look for in a sipping whiskey. The flavors were interesting and a little bit different, but did not hook me and reel me in to keep going back.
However, I think Broken Barrel Americana would make an excellent cocktail. At only $35 dollars a bottle, it may well be worth your while to pick up a bottle the next time you’re craving a whiskey sour.
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Larissa Banitt is a writer and nurse born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She's a foodie, whisk(e)y nerd, and animal lover. You'll often find her hiking with her dog, trail-riding with her horse, or crocheting with her cats.