Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon Review [In Depth]

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon

Alex author
Founder, writer
breckenridge high proof bourbon header

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon Details

Distillery: Breckenridge Disilling

Type & Region: Bourbon (maybe blended bourbon, USA

Alcohol: 52.5%

Composition: Unknown

Aged: At least 2 years

Color: 1.1/2.0 on the color scale (burnished)

Price: $55-60

From the company website:

Our Blended Bourbon Whiskey, but with a twist, bottled at a gripping 105 proof. Get a chance to experience what our distillers taste as they blend: a wild ride through rich, dark caramel and toasted almonds, burnt Baker’s chocolate and dried orange peel, with a lingering finish of vanilla and spice. A masterful combination of mouthful flavors, furnish our Bourbon Whiskey to a deep, burnt orange hue. Try slowly adding water to enhance your experience.

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon overview

Breckenridge Bourbon was one of the first bourbons I ever reviewed when I started out in 2018. For some reason, my dad had a bottle so it was convenient for me to try. Fast forward 5.5 years later, and I’m reviewing my second-ever bourbon from them, Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon (a blend). They specifically call out “a blend” on the label.
Breckenridge Distillery was founded in 2008 and located in…you guessed it – Breckenridge, Colorado. With distilleries emphasizing “terroir” a bit more these days, Breckenridge is home to a unique environment that few can replicate: sitting at 9,600 feet above sea level (~1.5 miles), and higher in some places.
Most of the major distilleries are located fairly close to sea level. I’m guessing that has an impact on how whiskey ages, I just can’t say for sure. I do know that elevation that high definitely makes me breathe a lot harder. The air is probably drier too, among other things. The point is, Breckenridge has some special terroir, and hopefully that translates into special bourbon.
Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon is fairly straightforward: 2 year old bourbon that’s 105 proof. There are no barrel finishes, staves, or extra stuff. That said, I’m actually confused about what exactly this bourbon is. Is it “regular” bourbon or “blended” bourbon? That’s actually an important distinction because regular bourbon is not the same as blended bourbon, as it also contains non-bourbon spirits such as light whiskey / neutral grain spirit
The fact that it’s not called straight bourbon, even though Breckenridge states that it’s at least 2 years old, is confusing as well. It does suggest that there’s non-bourbon blended in there. Breckenridge’s frequent use of “blended” and “blended bourbon” I guess indicates that is exactly that. Just wanted to point that out so that you’re aware, but knowledge is power.
Let’s find out if this brings an exciting, high octane, experience like riding down the mountains at one of the nearby slopes in this Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon review.
breckenridge high proof bourbon front

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon smell

On my first go around, I smell honey, fennel, red apple, orange peel, toasted oak, cinnamon, apricot, caraway seed, mint, green grape, and hints of coffee and grapefruit. Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon smells pretty good for 2 years old. It has that kind of sweet, herbal, lightly toasted, and gently fruity scents.
Nothing is off or weird, which is always great, and there’s no overpowering graininess or funk. The heat is well controlled too. Nothing really stands out as amazing or unique, but it’s not bad either.
After swirling, I smell minty and orangey honey, grapefruit, licorice, roasted oak, vanilla, fennel, and caraway seed with an overall bright shimmer, which I do like.
Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon smells better this time. It’s a bit more fresh, vibrant, herbal, and fruity with backing toastiness, spice, and earthiness. There’s still not much fullness or personality, but it’s not bad or unpleasant either.
breckenridge high proof bourbon side

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon taste and aftertaste

At first I taste minty honey, licorice, vanilla, fennel, red apple, roasted oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, green grape, orange peel, caraway seed, and some roasted grains. Just like the scents, Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon has a more bright, herbal, and somewhat fruity personality, although there is a bit of this backend bitterness that catches me off guard.
The first sip was alright, but subsequent sips bring an extra bitterness that I didn’t expect. It also brings a bit more earthy and oaky bite, which isn’t ideal, although the heat is well controlled…confusing.
Even with the higher ABV, the flavors don’t have much in the way of richness or depth. It’s decent but not amazing.
With “chewing”, there’s honey, mint, roasted grains, vanilla, orange peel, roasted oak, cinnamon, clove, fennel, green grape, and caraway seed. It tastes fairly similar with a bit more sweetness, fruitiness, and herbalness to push back the oak and bitterness.
The finish leaves honey, mint, licorice, caraway seed, and roasted oak with an oddly lingering back end bitterness. After “chewing” it leaves honey, roasted oak, caraway seed, cinnamon, and green grape with lingering toasted oak, green grape, and orange peel. It’s fine, nothing to write home about.
Nonetheless, Breckenridge High Proof’s flavors are on the lighter side and don’t have much roundness or maturity. I know that I’m beating a dead horse, but Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon drinks young. I know that it is young, but it doesn’t mean that it has to.
As much as I want to adore it, it doesn’t have much personality or charm to get my attention or be memorable. Again, it tastes fine and there’s nothing inherently off about it, but I don’t necessarily have a compelling reason to drink more of it.
I guess it has its benefit as a higher proof cocktail mixer if that’s what you’re looking for.
I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon Rating

Mid Shelf
I’m not going to make many friends by writing this, but why does this 2 year old Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon exist? I don’t write that because it’s bad bourbon, but because I’m confused with what Breckenridge is trying to prove with this odd combination of decent bourbon (or whatever it is) at a more premium price. And believe me, I wanted to adore this, just like I do with everything I review.
The bourbon itself is decent enough so it’s well made. It’s got some sweetness, herbalness, fruitiness, oakiness, earthiness, and nothing weird or off…well maybe besides that slightly overdone bitterness in the flavors. My description is generic…because Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon doesn’t feel unique or interesting.
I’ve had enough bourbons like this (and a lot of much better ones too), so this just blends in with all the other decent bourbons I’ve had over the years. That might be acceptable for a distillery that’s been open for a few years, but Breckenridge isn’t one of those distilleries. Even then, younger distillers are putting out some surprisingly good whiskey that already outdoes the big ones, so that’s not much of an excuse either these days.
For a distillery that’s been open for as long as it has (since 2008), I’m surprised that 2 year old bourbon (or blended bourbon) is still a staple of their lineup. I know that 2 years is still a good amount of time, but distilleries tend to grow out of that and strive for at least 4 years…or you’re Still Austin and somehow nailing 2-3 year old bourbon. Mile High Spirits, in Denver, is releasing 5+ years old bourbon now for the same price as this Breckenridge High Proof.
There are so many great options out there from small to large distilleries, so I don’t really understand what Breckenridge is trying to achieve with $55-60 two year old bourbon that doesn’t outperform its age. I don’t know how they’re trying to differentiate themselves from the pack, apart from being from Colorado.
The $55-60 price is smack in the middle of some compelling bourbons, including Still Austin Cask Strength, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, and Bardstown Bourbon Company Bottled in Bond Wheated Bourbon.
So in my mind, Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon will easily get lost in the seemingly endless aisles of bourbon on shelves today, and the price is high enough to deter those who might be curious, unless they have an affinity for Breckenridge, the place.
I believe that this needs a complete overhaul to be compelling and worthwhile – start by increasing the age and lowering the price. I don’t enjoy being so harsh, but I’ll always be honest over everything else.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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Shattered glass really sucks, so if you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)