Breaker Bourbon has been on my radar for a while. NDPs can be pretty frustrating with their sneaky marketing shit, and while Breaker is certainly no exception, for some reason I’ve been intrigued by their schtick. So when I saw a bottle during a recent trip I figured it was time I try it.
Before we get too far into this, let’s take a gander at some of that sweet marketing I mentioned:
“Breaker Bourbon Whisky is a new American bourbon from the first craft distillery in the golden hills of California’s Central Coast. Our Master Distiller blends each small batch from only eight carefully hand chosen barrels that have been aged for at least five years. This ensures that each bottle is produced with an uncompromising attention to detail and taste. Inspired by the sublime and elusive sets at El Capitan and other local beaches, Breaker embodies that sense of perfection and freedom” – Ascendant Spirits Website
“Ascendant Spirits is outfitted with its own custom, American-made, 500-gallon copper pot still, built entirely to Gertman’s – who also serves as Ascendant’s Master Distiller – specifications. Outside of the distillery’s walls, the Santa Rita Hills also play an enormous part in Ascendant’s final product. During the day, an intense humidity rolls over the California countryside, causing temperatures to rise as much as 40-50 degrees. This allows the barrels to “breathe heavy”, and the whisky to age much faster – up to four times faster than in Kentucky, according to scientists at California Polytechnic State University – due to its increased interaction with the wood.” – Caskers
Alright, so after reading that it’s pretty clear that Breaker is hand-crafted by a Master Distiller that spends his days distilling, selecting, and blending barrels. Then they age his precious whiskey juice next to the magical sea wind where it ages 4-times faster because of science.
In reality, Breaker is distilled at MGP in Indiana, just like a ton of other bottles on the shelf at your local liquor store. Ascendant Sprits then buys that whiskey and throws it on the beach or whatever for that science-student-endorsed accelerated aging process. I hate NDPs that do shit like this.
So if you couldn’t tell, this shady NDP marketing bullshit pisses me off, but listen, sometimes the stuff in these bottles is still legit, so maybe it’s time to turn the focus to that. Let’s see how it goes.
Company: Ascendant Spirits
Distillery: MGP Indiana
Mash Bill: ?
ABV: 45% (90 proof)
Age: “Minimum of 5 years”
Color: Golden amber
Nose: This one needs some time to open up so that ethanol burns off, but once it does corn becomes the predominate note. There is some light brown sugar, cinnamon, and an off-putting, glue-like, thing going on that ties in with the remaining ethanol to throw things out of whack.
Taste: As if the “golden” part of the color didn’t tip you off, this one is fairly light on the taste. While I would never call it “deep” or “complex” it is actually pretty well balanced. Vanilla, brown sugar, black tea, honey, and oaky pepper round out the taste and while none are particularly strong, it makes for a decent sip.
Finish: The balance falls apart a bit on the finish as the ethanol creeps back in and brings a generally woody, astringent end to the Breaker experience.
Overall: I’m not seeing where this thing tastes like it was aged 4-times longer than reality. If anything, I would have guessed it carried a sub-5-year age statement. While it’s not bad, it’s somewhat simple and I really struggled trying to pull specifics out of it. The balance is good, but it’s just plain light and somewhat boring. An easy sipper for sure, just not for me.