SBC #72: Starlight Bourbon Champagne Finished “Pop the Bourbly”

Breaking Bourbon Award Winning Single Barrel Club picks are selected by Breaking Bourbon, and whenever possible with the help of Patreon supporters. The bottles are made available to Patreon supporters first by pledge tier. If any bottles remain after all supporters have had an opportunity to purchase, they are made available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Each barrel is sponsored by a retailer partner, who sells the bottles directly to end purchasers.

Retailer Partner: Seelbach’s

Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in a Champagne Wine Barrel

Company: Starlight Distillery

Distillery: Starlight Distillery

Age: 4.5 Years (Finished for an additional 4 months)

Proof: 105

Mashbill: Undisclosed blend of: 60% Corn, 20% Rye, 20% Malted Barley & 51% Corn, 20% Rye, 20% Malted Barley, 9% Wheat

Yield: 150 Bottles

Release Date: December 2022


Starlight Distillery is located on the grounds of the Huber estate in Borden, Indiana. Housing Huber’s Orchard & Winery, according to the company they “began farming back in 1843 when our ancestors settled in Starlight, IN from Baden-Baden, Germany. Growing primarily fruit, our farm began to diversify in 1978 when we opened the doors of our winery. This bourbon was aged in Huber’s Old Rickhouse (on the grounds of the 7th generation Huber estate, established in 1843).” Now on its 7th generation, Huber estate produces a variety of crops that are grown alongside the onsite distillery that produces an assortment of brandies and whiskeys. They began distilling bourbon in 2013.

We’ve selected a barrel of Starlight Distillery Bourbon in the past, but this was our first visit to the distillery and farm, and it was hopping. A perfect fall day can bring tens of thousands of visitors to the farm - stocking up on farm-fresh produce, taking tours, picking pumpkins, enjoying the Family Fun Park, visiting their Ice Cream Factory, Cafe, Cheese Shop, bar, or one of their other dining establishments which allow for indoor or outdoor seating, and plenty more. The gift shop was shoulder to shoulder, with patrons tasting whiskeys, wines, and more and stocking up on food, drink, and other gift-shop themed things.

We met up with Andrew Jerdonek, Starlight’s Spirits Program Director to start with a quick chat to better get to know each other, and then a quick tour of the distillery including a jot by the working still as we made our way to the rickhouse with aging single barrels to taste. Starlight does a lot of whiskey finishing: Armagnac, Rum, Port, Vino de Naranja (VDN), Bordeaux, Triple Sec, Amburana, barrels that previously held honey, Champagne, and quite a few more. The finishes seem nearly endless, and each one offers a unique variation on the underlying whiskey’s flavor profile.

We were joined by Ted Huber, master distiller and head winemaker for Huber Winery. He is also President and co-owner of the parent company Huber’s Orchard, Winery, and Vineyards, and represents the sixth generation of the family business. One of his two sons, Christian, also joined us a little later. Christian joined the family business in 2017 after graduating from Niagara Collage in Canada with a degree in Viticulture & Enology. Like Andrew, Ted and Christian were down to earth, easy to chat with, and we could feel their energy and excitement for their whiskey and farm.

We tasted through too many barrels to count, but two really stuck with us - a Jamaican Rum finished bourbon and a Champagne finished bourbon (more on the Jamaican Rum finished bourbon later). As for the Champagne finished bourbon, its warm bright fruit, cherry, and citrus notes accenting more typical caramel, vanilla, and oak bourbon flavors stood out. Just enough to change it, but not too much to take it away from still tasting like bourbon, it was a really well-integrated finish and one we haven’t had much experience with yet. As you can imagine, this quickly led to a discussion of whether or not we could get this bottled and in people’s hands by New Year’s Eve - a perfect finished bourbon for the occasion.

For the custom sticker, we kept this one clean, simple, and sophisticated. Hopefully you enjoy this pick as much as we do!

Tasting Notes

Nose: Bright fruit | Peach | Apricot | Light cherry | Citrus | Caramel

Palate: Caramel chews | Vanilla | Light seasoned oak | Dried apricot | Orange peel | Touch of spice | Well integrated

Finish: Light spice | Concentrated fruit sweetness | Cherry | Medium length with lingering fruit sweetness

About Seelbach’s

For this pick, we partnered with spirits retailer Seelbach’s, which was founded by Blake Riber, also the creator of Bourbonr and the Bourbonr Facebook group. An online-only retailer with a twist, we interviewed Riber to discuss how he’s running his shop differently than everyone else. “Unlocking Craft Spirits” he calls it - seeking out up-and-coming craft distilleries and learning about their process and tasting through their products to find hidden gems.

Distillers, Producers, and Retailers: If you would like to be a part of this program and get your name in front of millions of bourbon enthusiasts, contact us.

Please note these bottles will not be sold by Breaking Bourbon, but will be sold by retailers we partner with in order to fulfill the orders and ship the bottles directly to Patreon supporters. Breaking Bourbon will receive no compensation from our partner retailers under these agreements (with the exception of a bottle from each barrel for editorial purposes). If you represent a retailer and ship to consumers and you’re interested in partnering just let us know!

Written By: BB Team

December 10, 2022
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