Flaviar, like many retailers, occasionally releases their own barrel selection or bespoke blend. This one (which is still in stock, and is one of the ‘free’ bottle choices if you have a membership) is a blend of straight bourbons from Colorado distillery Breckenridge.
Breckenridge is located so high in the mountains of Colorado that it is the highest-elevation distillery in the world. Founder Bryan Nolt chose the location in 2008 to be as close as possible to the natural Rocky Mountain spring source that he wanted to use for water. The distillery produces its own bourbon as well as rum, gin and vodka, but it also sources barrels of bourbon from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee for its blends.
The Flaviar blend chooses four blends of straight bourbons with high-rye mashbills and bottles them at 43% ABV. Yes, you read that right. This is a blend of blends. Luckily, everything involved is a straight bourbon, so it just comes down to percentages – which they don’t disclose, alas, nor do they include any age information.
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Nose: Winey, with a lot of cherry pie filling right at the top of the glass. Resinous fresh-sawn lumber, pine needles, corn syrup, and tutti frutti / fruit punch. This reminds me of the youthful fruit punch notes in Buffalo Trace’s Benchmark or in Rebel Yell bourbons.
Palate: Thin body and a moderate tongue burn, but with a nice sweet entry. Cherry pie filling again, plus sweet corn, cornbread with honey, bright cinnamon, and spicy oakiness.
Finish: On the short side. The better palate notes carry through the finish, including cherry and cinnamon. Fades into very slight bitter charcoal and pine sap.
With Water: Several drops of water initially wake up the nose tickle, necessitating a rest in the glass. After the rest, there is a new vanilla cake frosting note, but a lot of the fruit has been muted. The palate burn is eased, and the finish is a little sweeter and more cohesive. Water doesn’t hurt here, but don’t proof it down too much.
Overall: A friendly, uncomplicated bourbon – sorry, blend of blends of bourbons – with a pleasant balance of woody sweetness and fruit. There isn’t much depth, but also no off-notes (unlike some of the other “fruit punch”-like bourbons mentioned above). However, at this proof and with this light flavor profile, it doesn’t stand up to intense cocktail ingredients nor compete with some of the more-robust Bottled-in-Bond bourbons that are popular right now. If you buy this for mixing, know that it will disappear into your cocktails and for some that’s a plus.