Broken Barrel Whiskey Co., known best for its innovative whiskey finishing techniques, has partnered with Laurel Canyon Spirits to launch Black Hjerte, a blended Rye Whiskey finished in two types of coffee liqueur barrels. As the second limited-edition offering in the Broken Barrel “Collaboration Collection” series, this warm and inviting whiskey that’s perfect for ushering in the winter months is the result of both masterful blending by Founder Seth Benhaim and his sourcing of Laurel Canyon Spirits’ Black Hjerte Barrel-Aged Coffee Liqueur barrels.
The blend features Kentucky Straight Rye and Kentucky-distilled Light Whiskey, offering an exceptional tasting experience. The Oak Bill, or a combination of various barrel staves used during the finishing process, combines Barrel Aged Black Hjerte Coffee Liqueur staves (66%) and limited-edition Blood Orange Coffee Liqueur barrel staves (33%). Both are based on Laurel Canyon Spirits’ original French French-pressed coffee liqueur recipe.
A One-of-a-Kind Taste Profile
The aromas conjure an alluring blend of roasted coffee, vanilla, buttercream, and charred oak as soon as the golden amber spirit hits the glass. On the palate, the whiskey is a symphony of flavors that begin sweet, with caramelized sugar and orange zest notes intertwined with rich and mildly bitter coffee notes. The result is a beautifully balanced fusion of coffee liqueur and whiskey, where the spirit’s underlying grain and vanilla tones gracefully share the spotlight with the coffee’s deep, earthy complexity. The finish is velvety and enduring, with a lingering and warming citrus sweetness from the blood orange liqueur staves.
“When I discovered Laurel Canyon Spirits’ coffee liqueurs and learned of these two distinct coffee liqueur barrels, I knew a collaboration was in order,” said Benhaim. “Oak accounts for over 80% of a whiskey’s flavor, so why not expose whiskey to various types of wood and create even more complex layers of flavor? Our innovative finishing process makes great Kentucky whiskey taste even better.”
The liquid was bottled at 107 proof (53.5% ABV) and has a suggested retail price of $99.
Finishing is Everything
Broken Barrel has become known for producing whiskeys (in partnership with Green River Distilling in Owensboro, Kentucky), showcasing the impact of a non-traditional barrel finishing practice on flavor. While most whiskey is aged in barrels and then bottled, Founder Seth Benhaim believed there was a missed opportunity in traditional barrel finishing – namely, the reliance on one type of barrel used to finish one type of whiskey. He created Broken Barrel to expand the barrel finishing concept, involving broken barrel staves (vs. intact barrels) and combining multiple barrel types, all finishing aged bourbon in tandem. Once Broken Barrel whiskey ages at least two years, barrels are carefully selected, dumped, and batched in a large tank. The broken barrel staves from multiple kinds of casks are added to further age and finish the whiskey. Individually, these oak barrels are not typically used on 95% of all bourbon or rye whiskey produced, and rarely, if ever, are three types of oak used simultaneously to finish any whiskey.
Broken Barrel boasts an award-winning core whiskey portfolio, including Americana (whiskey), Heresy (rye), Small Batch (bourbon), and Cask Strength (bourbon), the latter of which was named Best Kentucky Finished Bourbon at the 2023 World Whisky Awards. Additionally, in the spirit of experimentation, Broken Barrel regularly issues special releases that allow the team to flex its creative muscles further and incorporate barrel staves from various combinations of unique casks worldwide. Benhaim has purchased whiskey barrels from over a dozen countries and released nearly 30 unique whiskeys with varying Oak Bills. Past limited releases have incorporated various barrel staves, including Barbadian Rum, French Oak, Cognac, Armagnac, Islay, Maple, Mizunara and Amontillado. Individually, these types of oak barrels are not typically used on 95% of all bourbon or rye whiskey produced.
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