Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. has collaborated with Los Angeles Distillery (LAD) on Broken Barrel’s first distillery Collaboration Collection —a cask strength wheated bourbon whiskey finished with Tokaji and Single Malt staves— which will be released exclusively for purchase at retail in California and online.
Broken Barrel’s unapologetic whiskeys are known for exemplifying the impact a non-traditional barrel finishing practice has on a final whiskey – specifically by using broken barrel staves from multiple combinations of barrel types in tandem. This limited-edition release marks a new journey for Broken Barrel Founder & CEO Seth Benhaim, who approached Total Wine & More and Dr. Lewis Harsanyi of LAD earlier this year about a collaboration.
Benhaim hails LAD as one of California’s most impressive distilleries – a truly state-of-the-art facility led by Dr. Harsanyi, who, for the past 35 years, has sold, imported and built brewing and distilling systems to some of the industry’s most acclaimed producers. In 2014, Harsanyi founded his own distillery, which houses one of the most breathtaking and sophisticated distilling operations in the craft spirits industry.
The two companies selected three five-plus-year-old wheated bourbon barrels for this special release. Each has been aging in new charred Hungarian white oak, selected specifically by the Hungarian-born Dr. Harsanyi, whose origins and extensive knowledge of oak barrels insist on their quality and distinct profile. Using that heritage to his advantage, Dr. Harsanyi customized the densest, top-quality new Hungarian white oak barrels to his specifications.
“Hungarian barrel staves are far denser (30-34mm) than American staves (25-28mm). For this project, I developed custom 200L elongated barrels and then carved wood grooves into each staves to increase the wood surface area (+68%) and impart more flavor,” said Harsanyi.
Benhaim has experience sourcing both liquid from multiple distilleries and barrels from around the world and has mastered blending multiple broken barrel cask staves in tandem to create, develop, and refine the flavor, feel and finish of his limited-release whiskeys. For this expression, he suggested using Tokaji-aszu staves (known as the “king of wines and wine of kings”) and Harsanyi’s favorite, ex-single malt barrel staves to reveal a last and final sweet-leathery kick to the bold cask strength wheated bourbon. During the finishing process, the barrels were emptied into their own drums before adding broken barrel staves to finish the whiskey, in this case, for just a few months.
“Our connection and the combination at every step of the process is something all whiskey enthusiasts will appreciate, enjoy and share,” said Benhaim. “This special collaboration was made exclusively for our best customers in our home state of California.”
The 2022 Distillery Collaboration is currently rolling out to Total Wine & More locations throughout California and within both the Broken Barrel gift shop and L.A.D. gift shop. The expression features a mash bill of 51% corn and 49% wheat and an Oak Bill™ (Benhaim’s term to denote the combination of various barrel staves used), of 80% Tokaji Aszu staves and 20% Ex Single Malt staves. The liquid was bottled at 130-132 proof (65%+ ABV) and has a suggested retail price of $110.
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