Whiskey review: Broken Barrel Whiskey Reserve Oak Series, Rum Cask a fun twist on staves

Broken Barrel Reserver Oak Series, Rum Cask Finish. Photo by Michael Collins - FanSided
Broken Barrel Reserver Oak Series, Rum Cask Finish. Photo by Michael Collins - FanSided /

Broken Barrel Whiskey likes to break the rules as much as they do breaking barrels, and their Reserve Oak Series finished with rum cask staves proves they’re on the right track. 

If you haven’t tried anything from Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. yet, I’d highly recommend giving one of their offerings a try. If you’re someone who enjoys a higher-proof pour that has some complexity based on the finish, then their Reserve Oak Series will be right up your alley.

For starters, the mantra of Broken Barrel Whiskey is:

"“Instead of fInishing our whiskey inside of barrels, we explored what happens when You do the exact opposite. we fInish our whiskey with broken barrel staves. WE put wood into OUR whiskey – and the results were unbelievable.”"

Now while this is not an entirely new concept, Broken Barrel Whiskey takes it to new levels with the variety and interesting mix of staves they choose for their bottles. You’ll find everything from charred oak staves, to peach brandy, stout beer, and more.

In this case, I’ve picked the rum cask finish to taste and review, and my palate threw me a party for the choice. If Foursquare is the bourbon-lovers rum, then this bottle from Broken Barrel Whiskey might well be the rum-lovers bourbon.

Broken Barrel Whiskey Reserve Oak Rum Cask Finish Description

Mash bill: 70 % corn, 21 % rye, 9 % malted barley
Stave bill: 75 % rum cask staves, 25 % ex-rye cask staves
ABV: 57.5 %
Color: Golden amber, light caramel
Age: Press release states minimum of 2 years
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Private Barrels Available: N/A

Broken Barrel Whiskey Reserve Oak Rum Cask Finish Tasting Notes

Nose: Immediately the sweet, sugary notes pulled from the rum staves begin to fill your nose. As you go deeper into a sniff, there are caramel, candied peanut, and tropical fruit jam. Very little in the way of heat or ethanol. It’s a delightfully syrupy nose.

Palate: Upon first taste, you find the traditional vanilla-caramely bourbon notes, but shortly after the palate moves to all the brown sugar, molasses, and Caribbean goodness that comes with a fine rum. For those who have ever had the Balvenie Caribbean Cask finish scotch, this is quite similar only in bourbon form. It’s tropical and summery, filled with soft fruits and sugar. The rye cask staves add in a bit of spice, with cloves and rye spices mingling in the fruitiness.

Finish: The tropical influence continues to the finish, where bananas and molasses cookie roll over your throat and linger for a nice long stay. I was still tasting banana in my mouth for a good few minutes after the final sip. As I like to do with many whiskeys, I let the glass sit for a while after finishing the pour and went back for a quick sniff, and the glass smelled like a dark rum pina colada.

Conclusions: This was an incredibly good pour, and when you consider the retail price will likely be well under $50 regardless of where you go, it makes it almost silly not to have one. If the other offerings in this particular series are as well-done as the rum cask finish, then it’s a vertical absolutely worth owning.

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

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