The folks at Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky, as we pointed out quite recently, are putting themselves through some aggressive expansion times as they aim to be one of the biggest and brightest in the heart of bourbon country. Having an actual product on the market will help in a big way with this, and for their first release they’ve teamed up with a Kentucky brandy distillery for some interesting offerings.
What’s being called Collabor&tion, according to those behind it, is the result of a partnership between Bardstown and Copper & Kings American Brandy Company. What they’ve done is release two distinct products made with 10-year-old straight bourbon whiskey – one finished in Copper & Kings’ American Brandy barrels and the other in Muscat Mistelle barrels, for more than 18 months in the Copper & Kings basement maturation cellar.
Started in late 2015, Collabor&tion is a culmination of nearly two years of work. Steve Nally, Master Distiller for BBCo, and Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller for C&K, hand-selected the bourbon for the project, blended it until it achieved the right flavor profiles, and chose the barrels for the finishing process. The bourbon used to produce Collabor&tion was distilled in Indiana in 2006 by Lawrenceburg Distillers, now MGP, and is made from 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. The Collabor&tion expression aged in Copper & Kings American brandy barrels is bottled at cask strength of 113 proof. The Mistelle barrel finish is bottled at cask strength of 94 proof.
“Exceptional bourbon will always carry beautiful dark fruit notes (figs, raisins, dates) as well as apple and pear to complement the classic honey, spice and butterscotch,” said Nally in a prepared statement. “Aging in brandy barrels not only accentuates these notes – it layers more on top of that foundation to create an incredibly rich, smooth and complex whiskey.”
“A Mistelle barrel is a unique vessel. Mistelle is unfermented grape juice (in this case Muscat) fortified with un-aged brandy (Muscat eau-de-vie) and then aged in bourbon barrels for 18 months,” added O’Daniel. “The empty barrels are deeply and highly caramelized with the grape sugars and fruit essences. The whiskey exiting these barrels is pure joy. A completely novel sensory experience; deep, deep rich whiskey – very soft and supple, mellow, and the taste goes on forever.”
Collabor&tion is a very limited release that’s only available in select Kentucky retail stores, at the BBCo and C&K gift shops, and a small selection of fine retailers across the USA.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...