GSN Review: Collabor&tion Bourbon Whiskies

Collabor&tion is the culmination of nearly two years of work between the Bardstown Bourbon Co. & Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. Two deluxe expressions of 10-year-old straight Bourbon whiskey finished for 18 months: one in C&K American Brandy barrels and the other in Muscat Mistelle barrels.

Steve Nally, Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller for BBCo, and Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller for C&K, hand-selected the bourbon for the project, blended it, and chose the barrels for the finishing process. The bourbon used to produce Collabor&tion was distilled in Indiana in 2006 by Lawrenceburg Distillers and is made from a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley.

“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. 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” says Nally.

O’Daniel adds, “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. The empty barrels are deeply and highly caramelized with the grape sugars and fruit essences. The whiskey exiting these barrels is pure joy.”

Collabor&tion Brandy Barrel Finish (113 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Rich, wood forward nose with a sheen of high notes. Soft caramel, light grapeiness, lush dried date and fig. Very enticing, open and evocative.
Taste: The brandy essence comes forward, but quickly turns into a shower of fig and light clover honey. Dessert-like, but not overly sweet, just a compact bomb of flavor. Really smooth and balanced despite the firepower behind the high-proof.
Finish: Long with a lot of the dried fruit keeping pace with the fade.
Overall: An exceptional spirit that hits all the marks. Well done and highly recommended.
GSN Rating: A+

Collabor&tion Mistelle Barrel Finish (94 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Even more vine fruit on the nose, with a sharp edge of oak wood. This would be the sister of the Brandy finished whiskey. Lighter, more ethereal and vivacious. The wood and fruit nose work in tandem to deliver a solid unifying scent.
Taste: Quite sweet and grape forward, but entirely unlike a sherry cask aged spirit. The fruit character plays the leading role, but also allows the bourbon itself to shine.
Finish: Long and with a lot of the sweetness playing out over the minutes.
Overall: A truly fine “dessert” whiskey that will pair well with crème brûlée or pipe tobacco. A brilliant match of spirit and cask. Highly recommended!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Bardstown Bourbon

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