Named after two of the original chickens and ducks that roamed the vineyard managing pests and entertaining guests, ChickenDuck is an innovative bourbon brand crafted by Bending Branch in Comfort, Texas.
Bending Branch has built a reputation for exceptional wines and experiences, and now Dr. Bob Young, CEO and Alison Young, President and Master Blender, have expanded their brand to include something that has always been a love of theirs – bourbon. “Our family is from Kentucky, so being able to craft quality bourbon here in the Texas Hill Country is truly special to us,” said Alison.
In addition to ChickenDuck, Bending Branch also launched Bending Branch 1840, which features premium Kentucky straight bourbon and high rye bourbon whiskeys, aged for a minimum of four years in new American charred oak barrels in Kentucky and then for approximately another six months here in Texas. According to Dr. Bob, “This label features a more traditional aging process for bourbon.” The first two 1840 Bourbons offered from Bending Branch are a premium high rye bourbon and a signature four-grain mash bill bourbon. 1840 pays homage to the year the Bending Branch Winery property was settled and to the original log cabin home on the property.
ChickenDuck, on the other hand, continues Bending Branch’s expertise in innovative techniques. The creation of this brand of bourbon uses an advanced oak extraction technology that gives them the qualities of bourbons that are aged for multiple years in a much shorter time span. Something else unique to ChickenDuck is that 100% of the aging of these bourbons takes place right here at the Bending Branch property in Comfort. “This is significant because bourbon produced and aged in Kentucky has a special taste. Climate and temperature play a large role in traditional bourbon aging. Kentucky has a distinct four seasons each year, unlike Texas, which affects the flavor. Typically, the longer a bourbon is in the barrel, the better. Approximately 70% or more of the flavor comes from the oak barrel. With ChickenDuck we have cut years off of this process without sacrificing the flavor,” explained Dr. Bob.
According to Alison, “The environmental impact of ChickenDuck is less than traditional bourbon whiskeys because of the extraction technology, reduction in barrel storage time and associated costs, and its almost complete reduction in evaporation loss, or ‘Angel’s Share’, compared to bourbons aged a minimum of four years.”
The first ChickenDuck bourbon releases are a high rye bourbon and a wheated bourbon. The high rye has aromas of brown sugar, baking spices and molasses and opens to sassafras and cracked pepper on the finish. The wheated bourbon entices with cedar chest and vanilla on the nose, and it follows through with caramelized sugar and buttery toffee notes.
“In blind tastings, industry experts have been saying they thought that ChickenDuck had been aged anywhere from four to eight years. We recently took the bourbon to a Tokyo tradeshow and shared it with hundreds of Japanese tasters that were all shocked and impressed when we told them how long it had been aged. We are very proud of this revolutionary product. ChickenDuck offers bold flavors that not only sets it apart but can hold its own against the traditionally crafted bourbons,” added Alison.
Want to try these bourbons out for yourself? Flights of four tastings are available daily at the Bending Branch tasting room. Both ChickenDuck and Bending Branch 1840 bourbons are currently available for sale there as well and will be offered in select retail stores soon.
Bending Branch is now offering sandwiches and salads Friday through Sunday and cocktails will also be available soon!