It’s not unusual to hear about a craft spirits maker and a craft beer maker working together to experiment with each other’s liquid and used barrels. The results can be quite pleasing. When it comes to a bourbon company and a brandy company working together to experiment with spirits in used barrels, that’s a bit off the beaten path but that’s exactly what we have here.
“Going a little bit back to the relationship between bourbon and brandy. In the late 1800s there were 400 brandy distilleries in the state of Kentucky and that doesn’t include the 100 that made both bourbon and brandy. So there’s a fine history and relationship and symbiosis between the two categories. This is an illustration of a fraternal relationship as opposed to something that is a little bit more competitive, this is how it should be, this is how we should be working together. I think that’s the joy of this.”
~ Joe Heron President and CEO of Copper & Kings American Brandy Company
David Mandell, President and CEO of the Bardstown Bourbon Company and Joe Heron President and CEO of Copper & Kings American Brandy Company first met at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival some two years ago. From there, they struck up a conversation and are now releasing not one but two products as a result of that friendship.
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Collabor&tion Straight Bourbon Finished in Muscat Mistelle and Brandy Barrels
Collabor&tion includes two distinct products each made with 10-year-old straight bourbon whiskey. The bourbon used to produce Collabor&tion was distilled in 2006 by Lawrenceburg Distillers, now MGP, and is made from 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. One is finished in Copper & Kings’ American Brandy barrels and bottled at cask strength of 113 proof. The second expression is finished in Muscat Mistelle barrels and bottled at cask strength of 94 proof. Both were aged for more than 18 months in the Copper & Kings sonic boomin’ maturation cellar.
“Collabor&tion is the first of many original releases from the Bardstown Bourbon Company,” said David Mandell. “We’ve built our company by working together with many of the leaders in the spirits industry, and our philosophy of collaboration is reflected in the brands we’re developing, the companies we partner with, and the Kentucky communities that we represent.”
The project is intended to embody the spirit of friendship and partnership, and celebrates great craftsmen working together to produce exceptional products as kindred spirits.
“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 Bardstown Bourbon Company Master Distiller Steve Nally. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and this is an amazing spirit – something I will share with my good friends with real pride.”
“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. A completely novel sensory experience; deep, deep rich whiskey – very soft and supple, mellow, and the taste goes on forever. The whiskey notes are amplified by a softness and smoothness that is singular – to say the least. I could literally sip this for the rest of my life,” said Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller of Copper & Kings.
Collabor&tion is a very limited release that’s available at Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery, Bardstown Bourbon Company (opening to the public in April 2018), select Kentucky retail stores and a small selection of retailers across the USA.