Laws Whiskey House Releases Cognac Cask Finished Bourbon

By Gary Carter / November 20, 2021

Colorado’s Laws Whiskey House recently released their Cognac Finished Bourbon, barrelled in 2017 as one of the brand’s first projects in their Special Finish series.

The limited release is available now in select markets across the country, with a suggested retail price of $79.99.

Laws’ new Cognac cask Finished Bourbon is the first release of what they’re calling a “living and evolving annual blend.”

Laws Whiskey Cognac Finished Bourbon

Laws Whiskey Cognac Finished Bourbon (image via Laws Whiskey House)

Through several years of trial and experimentation, the distillers at Laws created what’s described as a distinctive solera process where only a portion of their Cognac Finished Bourbon is released at a time, leaving the remainder to marry with future blends of this whiskey.

Al Laws, founder of the brand, explained in a prepared statement that the process starts with Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon that’s been aged a minimum of two years in new American oak barrels.

Select barrels are then chosen to be finished in 205L and 400L Cognac casks for secondary aging.

Finally, the Cognac Finished Bourbon is married together in a 50-year-old French oak blending vat known as a foeder. Each year, only a portion of the foeder will be harvested, meaning each annual release will contain molecules and style continuity from this first batch.

“We love not only the taste and end result of this whiskey, but also the intricate process it takes to get here,” Laws said. “That’s why we turned to Cognac for inspiration. Cognac producers are masters of the blending process, creating some of the most amazing styles and depths of flavor with their techniques.”

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To learn more about Cognac, Laws called on sixth generation Cognac producer Alain Royer to provide technical expertise on Cognac cask finishing and blending, as well as lending a hand in sourcing a blending vat.

Similar to Cognac production, Laws said, the right blending vat is necessary for creating a distinctive style beyond what the distillery had done before. French oak, in particular, is prized for adding elegance and finish to spirits.

“We needed something that would softly add to the flavor and continue to promote maturation. It’s easy to source stainless steel tanks, but we knew this wouldn’t add to the flavor of the whiskey and enhance the process like an organic vessel would,” Laws said. “Fortunately, Alain came through with exactly what we needed.”

Through Royer, the Laws team bought a 50-year-old, 60 hectoliter French oak Cognac foeder, a vessel just right for maturation and what enables the solera process. After a portion of the blend is harvested for each annual release, the foeder is immediately topped with Cognac finished Four Grain Bourbon and the cycle continues.

This first release consists of 2,220 750ml bottles. The distiller’s official tasting notes show that the new whiskey has aromas of stewed fruit and black tea on the nose, with flavors of spiced apple butter, toasted wood, and raisin on the palate.