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Whiskey and coffee have come together before in the form of whiskey aged in barrels used to mature beans, and even coffee liqueur put into used whiskey barrels to soak up flavor. But it appears that Los Angeles-based Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. is the first to finish a blended whiskey with staves from barrels previously used to mature coffee liqueur, and the result sounds intriguing for lovers of java and booze.
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Broken Barrel sources its whiskey from Kentucky, specifically Green River Distilling (formerly called Owensboro Distilling Co.), and then focuses on cask finishing using what it calls an “Oak Bill”—kind of like a barrel stave mashbill. That involves not only putting whiskey into casks for a secondary maturation period, but using “broken barrel” staves which are submerged into the whiskey, similar to what Maker’s Mark does with Maker’s 46. For the new Black Hjerte release, Broken Barrel collaborated with Laurel Canyon Spirits, the producer of a coffee liqueur of the same name made from a base of corn vodka. The barrel-aged version of this spirit spends time in ex-bourbon casks, which were then sent to Broken Barrel for this release.
The whiskey is a blend of Kentucky straight rye and light whiskey, the latter of which is distilled to a higher proof than bourbon or rye and can be aged in new or used barrels. The Broken Barrel team then selected an Oak Bill of two-thirds Black Hjerte Coffee Liqueur staves and one-third Blood Orange Coffee Liqueur staves, a limited release from Laurel Canyon Spirits. The final product, according to the brand, is a golden amber color with notes of buttercream and coffee on the nose, followed by caramelized sugar, orange zest, and bitter espresso on the palate. It can be sipped neat or used to make any whiskey cocktail you can think of.
You can buy the new Broken Barrel x Black Hjerte Collaboration from the Broken Barrel website now (SRP $95), and if you’re interested in exploring the lineup further check out retailers like Total Wine now to purchase other whiskeys in the lineup.
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