We are pleased to release a whiskey we’ve been working on for more than 4 years, our new Cognac Finished Bourbon. This release is inspired and influenced by the great Cognac blenders of France. Like these producers, we used an intricate aging, finishing, and blending process called solera (suh·leh·ruh) for this whiskey. The result is a particularly distinct and delicious whiskey that we can’t wait for you try.
Inspiration and Catalyst
Cognac Finished Four Grain Bourbon was one of our first special finish projects at Laws Whiskey House. We started small with this first release of Cognac Finished Bourbon back in 2017. This was just one 400L Cognac barrel which we placed 3+ year old Four Grain Bourbon in and then released after six months of finishing. Our village and customers alike loved the results so we obtained another Cognac barrel repeating the process with our Four Grain Bourbon but this time we let it mellow for a year. Again, the result was pleasant with solid notes of stewed fruit, raisin, and toasted wood. However, we knew there was more depth and layered complexity that could be achieved by investing further in our process.
The Next Level
At Laws Whiskey House we take pride in continually learning and improving our craft. In our early work we learned that the Cognac base notes derived from these barrels integrated well with our Four Grain Bourbon. Intrigued by the results, we then took a step back and shifted focus taking a page from the history and techniques used in Cognac production. Taking a variety of vineyards, crus, and vintages, making Cognac is a blending intensive exercise often bringing together more than 100 different liquids into a final expression. The goal of blending can be multifaceted and certainly stylistic to each producer, but achieving balance, uniformity as well as signature complexity are high on the list. To achieve these results, most use a solera system or process where products of younger and older ages are married together in a tiered system of barrels or large blending vats.
Inspired by the Cognac and solera models of blending and our early results, we set out to create our own solera process by layering a series of Cognac-finished barrels together in batches. Combining these series over time had us approaching what we wanted to achieve with this whiskey but we still wanted a softer, more organic vessel for its home base. Stainless steel while convenient and utilitarian would not achieve this. We wanted a vessel that would softly add to and continue to promote maturation while integrating the series of our Cognac finished Four Grain Bourbon. It was at this moment in our process that something interesting happened as if our Gargoyle protectors were looking out for us. Vicard, part of our network of folks that procure barrels for us, reached out. They had two 50-year-old, 60 hectoliter (1,600 gallon) used Cognac blending tanks, known as a foeders, made of French oak that a customer was retiring. After some re-coopering and tightening we had our base vessel for the solera-finished Four Grain Bourbon. A seasoned and vintage home for our project. Let the games begin.
Solera-Aged Cognac Finished Four Grain is Born
Earlier this year, after three series of Cognac barrel finishing periods, our project was ready for prime time. Filling our foeder required over 15 Cognac barrels of finished Laws Four Grain Bourbon of various sizes from 205 liter to 400 liter, equivalent to approximately 35 fifty-three-gallon American oak barrels. On average, this first Cognac Finished Bourbon release consists of 2,220 bottles that are over 4 years-old with barrels in the mix ranging from 3.5 to nearly 6 years old of total aging. In a solera process, only part of the whole is harvested for each release leaving the balance as the basis for the next year. We are holding our harvest rate under 40% per year with an immediate top-up after each harvest with a fresh series of Cognac-finished Four Grain Bourbon. What this means is that many years from now, the annual release will still contain molecules from the very first providing consistency but also wonderful complexity. Thanks for joining us on this delicious and incredibly fun taste journey as we experience how this whiskey evolves over time.
Founder, Laws Whiskey House
- Stewed fruit and black tea on the nose
- Flavors of spiced apple butter, toasted wood, and raisin lead to a rich and luxurious finish
- 60% corn, 20% heirloom wheat, 10% heirloom rye, 10% heirloom malted barley
Pricing and Availability
- $79.99 suggested retail price
- Available in the Laws Whiskey House Tasting Room starting 10/29 and in select markets across the U.S. in November