By Father John Rayls
Collabor&tion Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in American Brandy Barrels is, as the name implies (rather more strongly that the first glance suggests, in fact), a collaboration project between Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo) and Copper & Kings. The former is a mid-sized distillery intent on joining MGP as a major supplier of stock whiskey to sourced brands, while the latter is an esteemed Louisville-based micro-distillery that makes brandy and absinthe, the former partly aged in ex-Bourbon barrels.
Because BBCo began operations only last year, the version I tried uses 10 year old Bourbon from MGP’s 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley stock, aged a further 18 months in Copper & Kings brandy barrels. There is also a Muscat Mistelle version, but I didn’t get to that one. It’s bottled at a cask strength of 113 proof.
The look is a beautiful medium to dark brown with red tinting and coppered highlights. Despite the rich coloring, the legs are very sparse and thin.
The nose is surprisingly aggressive, with the 113 proof showing itself in a light burn, but not so much as to squash the scent of sweet fresh fruit, raisins and dates. There are also notes of caramel and very light oak.
Collabor&tion’s mouthfeel is light and somewhat thin. It drinks hot, with punch really, but plowing forward helps a bit. At first there are sweet flavors of raisins and dates over some very light caramel. Unfortunately, it quickly tuns a little sour and even somewhat pungent. Most of the action takes place at mid-mouth as the hot, long finish kicks in with pepper which quickly transitions to white pepper.
For brandy lovers, this might be an interesting and enjoyable pour. For Bourbon lovers, like myself, it’s more of a stretch.
You can find Collabor&tion Straight Bourbon Whiskey priced at just under $125.00.