Broken Barrel California Oak Bourbon


Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished with Oak Staves

Company: Broken Barrel Whiskey Co.

Distillery: Owensboro Distilling Co.

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 88

Age: NAS (Straight bourbon aged a minimum of 2 years then finished in a tank containing a combination of 80% broken California cabernet cask staves and 20% broken new French oak staves per the company press release)

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 21% Rye, 9% Malted Barley

Color: Light Gold

MSRP: $35 (2022)

Official Website


Seasoned oak | Caramel | Summer fruit | Bakery scents | Light & sweet overall


Green apple | Apricot | Summer fruit | Fresh oak | Vanilla cream | Delicate with a hint of spice on the tail end


Light spice | Creme brulee | Touch of oak | Short & crisp


Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. Broken Barrel was founded by Seth Benhaim, following his first liquor brand of single bottle infused vodkas, Infuse Spirits. The concept for Broken Barrel originates from experimentation with used bourbon barrels, French oak barrels, and sherry casks from Spain, which the company would eventually trademark as the “Oak Bill,” which is essentially breaking the barrel staves and then inserting them in the whiskey to finish it.

The “Oak Bill” for California Oak is of 80% central coast cabernet staves and 20% new French oak staves. Considering it’s only 2 years old before finishing and 88 proof, the whiskey does well to hide its age and amplify the flavors present. Fresh oak and green apple flavors are present, but aren’t off-putting like they can be in other cases. The delivery is light and sweet overal, with a short crisp finish, but it’s surprisingly flavorful at the proofpoint. It’s not a bourbon I would necessarily reach for in my typical rotation, but at $35 and with its approachably sweet flavor profile, it makes for an interesting new option that will appeal to those seeking a sweet, lower proof pour at an affordable price point.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

March 23, 2022
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