Broken Barrel x LA Distillery Wheated Bourbon Cask Strength
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.
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 Seth Benhaim, who approached Dr. Lewis Harsanyi of LAD in 2022 about a collaboration.
Benhaim hails LAD as one of California’s most impressive distilleries – a true 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 today houses one of the most breathtaking and sophisticated distilling operations in the craft spirits industry.
For this special release the two companies selected three, five-plus year-old wheated bourbon barrels. 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 insists on their quality and distinct profile. Using that heritage to his advantage, Dr. Harsanyi customized to his own specifications the densest, top quality new Hungarian white oak barrels.
“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 the staves of each 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") as well as 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.