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Wednesday
Sep132017

The Spirit of Collabor&tion

Part of my recent trip out to the Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky involved a bit of consulting and needless to say I was happy when the gang from both BBCo and Copper & Kings called me back to say they wanted K&L to be one of the exclusive retailers for the new Collabor&tion Bourbons: a pair of 10 year old MGP-distilled whiskies finished for an additional year and a half in two different types of Copper & Kings barrels. While we don't yet have the bottles at K&L, the big announcement from Bardstown is scheduled for today, so I decided to offer these out on a pre-arrival basis for those of you who want to get the jump on securing your bottles. There are only 200 of each for the moment and there are no bottle limits, so take what you need. I'll give you my honest opinion: they're both very, very good and completely different than anything else in the market right now. I wouldn't have signed on for this if I wasn't totally impressed with both the Bourbon and the guys from BBCo. Obviously, we love Copper & Kings. Their official press release is pasted below:

Bardstown, KY (September 13, 2017) – The Bardstown Bourbon Company (“BBCo”) and Copper & Kings American Brandy Company (“C&K”) announced today the release of “Collabor&tion,” two distinct products made with 10-year-old straight bourbon whiskey – one finished in Copper & Kings’ American Brandy barrels and the other in Muscat Mistelle barrels for more than 18 months in the Copper & Kings basement maturation cellar. 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.  

“Collabor&tion is the first of many original releases from the Bardstown Bourbon Company,” said David Mandell, President & CEO, the Bardstown Bourbon Company. “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.” 

Started in late 2015 by two Kentucky-based distilleries, Collabor&tion is a culmination of nearly two years of work. 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, meticulously blended it until it achieved the right flavor profiles, and chose the barrels for the finishing process. 

“Coll&boration is not made to be collected; it’s far more special than that. Its heart is friendship, enjoying company, and bringing out the best in each other,” said Joe Heron, President & CEO of Copper & Kings American Brandy Company. “It is an exceptional bourbon that was made by friends for friends and is designed to be enjoyed with friends.”  

“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 and 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.   

The bourbon used to produce Collabor&tion was distilled in Indiana in 2006 by Lawrenceburg Distillers, now MGP, and is made from 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. The Collabor&tion expression aged in Copper & Kings American brandy barrels is bottled at cask strength of 113 proof. The Mistelle barrel finish is bottled at cask strength at 94 proof. 

Collabor&tion is a very limited release that’s only available in select Kentucky retail stores, at the BBCo and C&K gift shops, and a small selection of fine retailers across the USA.

You can reserve your bottle of Collabor&tion below. Hopefully, there will still be enough bottles left to sell in the store once they actually arrive!

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion – Brandy Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey $124.99 (PRE-ORDER) - The Collaboration series is the first release of whiskey from Kentucky's soon-to-be star Bardstown Bourbon Company, a project done in "collaboration" with Louisville brandy specialists Copper & Kings. Using 10 year old stocks of Bourbon distilled at MGP in Indiana, BBCo finished each of the whiskies for an additional 18 months in two different types of casks: American brandy and Muscat Mistelle. Made from 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, the Collabor&tion expression aged in Copper & Kings American brandy barrels is bottled at cask strength of 113 proof and offers classic, yet bold Bourbon flavor with vanilla, oak spices, and a concentrated richness that speaks to the age of the whiskey. We tasted this on our initial visit to the distillery this past summer and instantly fell in love with the additional fruit and subtle sweetness added from the brandy barrel finishing. It has all the classic flavors of great Bourbon but with extra lift and roundness on the finish. In the spirit of collaboration, the teams at BBCo and Copper & Kings really knocked this one out of the park. NOTE: Due to the shape of the Collabor&ation bottle it cannot be consolidated with other bottles shipping and must ship in its own individual package.

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion – Mistelle Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey $124.99 (PRE-ORDER) - Made from 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, the Collabor&tion expression aged in Mistelle barrels has an incredible viscosity and chewiness to its texture from the time spent in the used casks. 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 and the Collabor&tion whiskey aged in these barrels is pure joy. It's a completely novel sensory experience; deeply concentrated, rich whiskey that has a supple, fruity, and absolutely delicious finish. It's both an incredibly unique and divine tasting experience. Bottled at 47% cask strength ABV. NOTE: Due to the shape of the Collabor&ation bottle it cannot be consolidated with other bottles shipping and must ship in its own individual package.

-David Driscoll