Breckenridge Distillery is no stranger to Drinkhacker, though we’ve been keeping tabs more recently on their Buddy Pass collaborations with the coincidentally named but unrelated Breckenridge Brewery and their beer/bourbon barrel aging crossovers. Alas, we have not delved into their straight bourbons in nearly a decade despite steady releases since our review in 2012. The quick recap is that the distillery boasts the highest elevation in the U.S., situated at 9600 feet, and uses Rocky Mountain snowmelt water to proof its whiskeys. Their current and rather prolific lineup includes finished, limited edition, blended, and collaborative releases with the Denver Broncos NFL franchise.
Today we try two of their latest: Breckenridge High Proof and one of the Broncos collaborative bottles.
Breckenridge High Proof Blend Bourbon – A blended bourbon, no age statement. The nose evokes caramel turtle candies with nutty caramel and vanilla undertones wrapped in milk chocolate sweetness. The palate starts out with the turtle candies but is immediately awash in minty, peppery spice which overtakes any remaining milk chocolate sweetness and leaves behind burnt caramel. The finish slides into grain-forward notes of toasted corn nuts with light oak and nuttiness lingering. Its youth shows in how quickly those notes fade and makes me bet that the majority of the blend leans on the youngest stock. There is some great character and potential in its lightness, but promises seem unfulfilled in not letting this age a little longer. It’s still a very well balanced and pleasant pour and would be a good segue into higher proofs for newer fans of bourbon. 105 proof. B+ / $60
Breckenridge Back to Back Blend Bourbon 2023 – Novelty collaborations continue to abound in the whiskey world and hey, why not, there’s enough fun to be had all around. Breckenridge is the official bourbon Broncos and this latest release is a limited edition homage to the Broncos’ milestone of winning back-to-back world championships in 1997 and 1998. The nose in this blend is strikingly similar to the High Proof Blend with more potent vanilla notes that bring up flashbacks of cracking open a new box of Whitman’s Sampler chocolates. It borders on peculiarly dessert-like, similar to the High Proof Blend, with some welcome playful and tingling mint and pepper spice immediately cutting through. This expression definitely drinks like the High Proof cut with water, for better or worse, which tames heat and oakiness but also brings out some pointed citrus rind bitterness. I think it is best suited either cutting this down further, served over a healthy dose of ice for a bourbon al fresco, or used the base of a bright cocktail with fruit liqueurs. 86 proof. B / $43