As a Colorado resident and frequent traveler to Breckenridge, I’ve had Breckenridge Bourbon before. I’ve never actually sat down and done a tasting with it, though. So, I figured it was high time I pour myself a glass and write a Breckenridge Bourbon review.
After we discuss some of the history and specs of Breckenridge Bourbon, we’ll get into the tasting notes of this top bourbon. Is this bottle worth the 4 titles of best American blended whiskey? Is it every bit of the 96 points it was given at the ultimate spirits competition? Let’s find out.
Breckenridge Distillery & Bourbon History
Breckenridge Distillery was founded in 2008. They are known for being the highest distillery in the world… because of the elevation of course. Their first bottles of vodka and whiskey were released in 2011 and since then their bourbon and distillery has racked up some awards. Breckenridge Bourbon won best American blended whiskey in ’16, ’17, ’18, and ’19. The distillery won best Colorado Distillery in 2019 as well.
With all of the success came purchase offers. In 2021, Breckenridge Distillery was purchased by Tilray, a Canadian cannabis company. They are working on creating non-alcohol, cannabis-infused spirits. It seems that Breckenridge Distillery will be the highest distillery in the world and not just in elevation.
Breckenridge Bourbon Mash Bill
While we often focus our attention to the grains, the Breckenridge Distillery tries to take advantage of a nearby source of water. They use snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains as a source of water. As the snow melt and runs down the mountain, it picks up extra minerals.
As far as grains go, Breckenridge is a high-rye bourbon. I recently wrote about high-rye bourbon more in depth in my review of Redemption Whiskey. To be considered bourbon, you must have at least 51% corn in your mash bill. Breckenridge Bourbon just barely passes this. It uses 56% corn, 38% green rye, and 6% malted barley.
As you may have noticed by the awards, this is a blended bourbon. While they do produce some of their whiskey at their Colorado distillery, Breckenridge sources much of their straight bourbon from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. All the whiskeys in the blend are aged a minimum of 3 years.
Breckenridge Bourbon Tasting Notes
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the tasting notes. What does this bourbon taste like? Is it good?
Nose: Butterscotch and mint are the predominant aromas. Light notes of wood and alcohol appear with swirling it around the glass. There’s a stronger alcohol smell than expected for an 86 proof whiskey.
Palate: You can tell this is a high-rye bourbon. There is plenty of rye spice without it being overdone. Mint, vanilla, apple, and some light orange hints round it out.
Finish: Medium-long finish, but light. I taste vanilla on the tongue and mouth, but some light pepper sits in the back of the throat. Overall, I’d say it’s fairly gentle.
Breckenridge Bourbon Taste Summary
I’m a big fan of Breckenridge Bourbon. It’s not the greatest bourbon out there, but there is just enough complexity and none of it is overwhelming. I drink whiskey as I write reviews. Sometimes I find myself just sipping the whiskey and not thinking about it. Even in a state of flow, I always seem to notice the flavors when I take a sip of Breckenridge Bourbon.
I’ve always been a fan of high rye bourbon for their balance, and Breck Bourbon gets it right. The rye spice that turns many people off of rye whiskey is gentle yet very noticeable. I’m a fan.
Breckenridge Bourbon Price
For 99% of us, price is also a huge factor when it comes to what we buy and how often we buy it. So, let’s take a look at what a bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon is going to cost you. As a note, prices may vary greatly depending on individual store and location. I bought my bottle for $39.99, but it’s $29.99 at my local Total Wine (It’s a 25 minute drive, so I went to my more local liquor store). However, it’s much cheaper in CO than other states.
- 750ml Breckenridge Bourbon: $33-45 (Can be cheaper in CO)
- 1.75L Breckenridge Bourbon: $75-90 (~$60 in CO)
As is the case with many smaller craft distilleries, it’s cheaper in the state it’s produced in. This is magnified by the logistics of having a distillery sitting in the Rockies over 9,000 feet above sea level.
Is Breckenridge Bourbon Worth It?
When we take into account the taste and price, is Breckenridge Bourbon a good value? Well this depends. What’s your budget? How much does it cost at your liquor store? How often do you drink? etc.
At $30, I will buy a bottle every time I go to the liquor store. For $40, I’ll buy it every couple months or if I want to give a guest something I know is good. Otherwise, there are so many good whiskeys for $40 or less, so I’d like to try new ones.
If you haven’t had Breckenridge Bourbon yet, I recommend you try it. Even if you don’t enjoy it as much as I do, it’s a very good whiskey at a fair price point.
Breckenridge Distillery Products
Breckenridge Distillery offers a huge selection of spirits. They have numerous whiskeys, vodka, gin, rum, and even aquavit. I have only had the bourbon and vodka, so I’m going to refrain from having any opinions about the others, but I wanted to touch on some of the whiskeys Breckenridge Distillery offers.
- Breckenridge Whiskey Port Cask Finish – 90 Proof. Extra aging in Tawny Port casks. Adds syrup and raisin flavors
- Breckenridge Whiskey Rum Cask Finish – 90 proof. Extra aging in Colorado Rum casks. Adds apple and cinnamon flavors.
- Breckenridge Whiskey PX Cask Finish – 90 proof. A grape named Pedro Ximenez makes a dessert wine. Breckenridge Whiskey sits in these before bottling. Adds licorice and fig flavors.
- Breckenridge Whiskey Madeira Finish – 92 proof. Sits in wine casks from the Madeira region of Portugal. Adds cherry, plum, and chocolate notes.
- Breckenridge Bourbon High Proof – 105 Proof. Breckenridge Bourbon that is bottled before being cut all the way down to 86 proof.
- Breckenridge Bourbon Single Barrel – 92 proof. Aged up to 10 years, all grains, distilling, and aging in done in Colorado and from a single barrel.
- Breckenridge Whiskey Powder Hound – 90 Proof. Only available in Colorado. It won Best American Blended Whiskey in 2022. As I mentioned, I’ve never had it before, but this is one of the Breckenridge founder’s choice for best whiskey.
As I mentioned, Breckenridge Distillery offers a much larger selection than that. These are just a couple that caught my eye. I may try them soon, and if so, I’ll keep you updated with another review.
Summary of Breckenridge Bourbon Review
Breckenridge Bourbon is a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. They also produce some whiskey at their own distillery and source their water from the Rocky Mountain snow melt. It also contains a large percentage of rye grains, 38% to be exact. There aren’t many high-rye bourbons out there with such a high rye content.
When it comes to taste, much of what we like comes down to personal preference. I can’t say you’ll like Breckenridge Bourbon, but I know I do. It is complex and gentle. If you really pay attention, you can taste something new every sip. If you are drinking casually, there is enough distinction to stand out. At 86 proof (43% ABV) it’s a fairly smooth drink as well.
The big concern here is price point. If you live in Colorado, go get yourself a bottle. There aren’t many bourbons as good as this for $30. At the $40+ price point, there are plenty of quality options you can replace this with. Regardless, even above $40, I recommend buying a bottle and trying it yourself. Whether you agree or disagree, let me know in the comments.
Breckenridge Bourbon FAQ
Below are frequently asked question regarding Breckenridge Bourbon and the Breckenridge Distillery. Many of these are answered in the article above.
Is Breckenridge Good Whiskey?
Yes. Much of it comes down to personal preference, but I am a huge fan of it and based on their awards, so are others.
Is Breckenridge Bourbon Real Bourbon?
Yes, it’s a blend of straight bourbons. Many people believe Bourbon must be made in Kentucky because that’s the birthplace and 95% of bourbon comes from there.
Who Makes Breckenridge Bourbon?
Breckenridge Bourbon sources their bourbon from Indiana, Kentucky, and Indiana as well as from their Breckenridge Distillery. At the end of 2021, the Breckenridge Distillery was purchased by Tilray, a Canadian cannabis company. Very on-par for Colorado.
When Did Breckenridge Distillery Open?
The Breckenridge Distillery was founded in 2007 in Breckenridge, Colorado. Their first spirits – Breckenridge Bourbon and Breckenridge Vodka – were released in 2011.