In the realm of whiskey craftsmanship, few distilleries dare to push the boundaries of tradition and redefine the art of barrel finishing. One such pioneer is Broken Barrel Whiskey Co., renowned for its avant-garde approach to aging and finishing whiskey. The latest testament to their innovative spirit is the unveiling of the Honey Smoke Reserva, an exquisite libation that follows in the footsteps of the immensely popular Honey Smoke Rye introduced last year.
Seth Benhaim, the visionary Founder of Broken Barrel Whiskey Co., expressed his enthusiasm for the new release, stating, “The response we received to last year’s Honey Smoke rye whiskey was incredible. The older whiskey, higher proof, and longer finishing time for this year’s release promises to make it one of the most distinctive tasting spirits ever produced. We’re also making whiskey history as the first to finish this whiskey using a combination of honey and sotol barrel staves. This is a must buy!”
The Honey Smoke Reserva is not your ordinary whiskey; it is a meticulously crafted masterpiece that pushes the boundaries of flavor profiles. Distilled in Kentucky, this American Whiskey ages gracefully for six years before embarking on a transformative journey during a five-month finishing process. What sets it apart is the fusion of 50% Honey barrel staves and 50% Texas Sotol barrel staves, resulting in a unique and complex elixir bottled at a robust 110-proof (55% ABV).
As the amber liquid dances in the glass, the nose is captivated by the earthy terroir of the sotol, setting the stage for the subtle sweetness of honey to unfold. A sensory adventure ensues, with aromas of honeycomb sweetness mingling with hints of charcoal and woodiness from the barrel-aged Texas sotol. On the palate, a symphony of flavors unfolds, revealing notes of vanilla and spice, harmonized with the golden sweetness of honey, perfectly balancing the grain and oak. The smoke, a constant yet never overwhelming presence, distinguishes this whiskey, leaving a lasting impression of sweet spice and warming smoky flavors on the finish.
This remarkable departure from the 2022 release, which featured vegetal and floral notes, showcases Broken Barrel's commitment to pushing the boundaries of flavor and crafting a truly distinct and memorable whiskey experience.
Availability and Pricing
For enthusiasts eager to embark on this whiskey journey, approximately 1,900 bottles of Broken Barrel Honey Smoke Reserva are now available online at BrokenBarrelWhiskey.com and Seelbachs.com. Select retail stores in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina also offer this limited-release expression. Priced at $79, the Honey Smoke Reserva boasts a mash bill of 99% corn and 1% malted barley, and an Oak Bill consisting of 50% Honey barrel staves and 50% Texas Sotol barrel staves.
Finishing is Everything: The Broken Barrel Philosophy
Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. has become synonymous with innovation, challenging the conventional norms of whiskey production. In collaboration with Green River Distilling in Owensboro, Kentucky, Broken Barrel has elevated the art of barrel finishing to new heights. Unlike traditional practices that rely on one type of barrel for one type of whiskey, Broken Barrel embraces a more diverse approach.
Founder Seth Benhaim envisioned a process that involved not only broken barrel staves but also the combination of multiple barrel types, all finishing aged bourbon in tandem. After a minimum aging period of two years, carefully selected barrels are dumped and batched in a large tank. Broken barrel staves from various casks around the world are then added to further age and finish the whiskey.
The award-winning core whiskey portfolio of Broken Barrel includes Americana (whiskey), Heresy (rye), Small Batch (bourbon), and the acclaimed Cask Strength (bourbon), named Best Kentucky Finished Bourbon at the 2023 World Whisky Awards. In the spirit of experimentation, Broken Barrel regularly issues special releases, incorporating barrel staves from diverse combinations of unique casks sourced globally. With nearly 30 unique whiskeys to date, the journey of Broken Barrel continues to unfold, weaving a tapestry of flavors that transcends the boundaries of tradition. Past limited releases have seen the incorporation of barrel staves from Barbadian Rum, French Oak, Cognac, Armagnac, Islay, Maple, Mizunara, and Amontillado, showcasing the distillery's commitment to pushing the envelope in pursuit of unparalleled whiskey excellence.
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About Broken Barrel Whiskey
Broken Barrel Whiskey is a relatively new entrant into the world of American whiskey, known for its innovative and unconventional approach to the aging process. The brand is associated with Infuse Spirits, a company that infuses spirits with natural ingredients to create unique flavor profiles.
Broken Barrel Whiskey stands out for its use of a proprietary infusion process, where staves from used wine barrels are broken and added to the whiskey casks. This additional exposure to the wood and the remnants of the wine left in the staves during the infusion process are believed to impart distinctive flavors to the whiskey. The infusion technique is meant to accelerate the aging process and contribute nuanced and complex flavors to the final product.
The brand offers a range of expressions, each with its own infusion profile and flavor characteristics. These can include notes from different types of wine or other spirits, depending on the specific barrels used in the infusion process. Broken Barrel Whiskey has garnered attention for its experimental and creative approach to crafting unique whiskey offerings.