Whiskey Review: Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaboration (American Brandy Edition) - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaboration (American Brandy Edition)

Back in September of 2017, two Kentucky distilleries announced a collaborative project to put a spin on some common place, widely-sourced Indiana Bourbon. Bardstown Bourbon Co. and Copper & Kings Distillery teamed up to finish specially-selected 10 year bourbon from Lawrenceburg’s MGP in both American brandy barrels from C&K, as well as Muscat mistelle barrels.

The resulting products were put to rest in Copper & Kings cellars for an additional 18 months of aging. As we noted earlier this year, the idea behind using the brandy barrels was to accentuate the already present fruit notes in the raisiny, figgy 113 proof bourbon selected by head distillers Steve Nally and Brandon O’Daniel.

This release comes on the heels of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s tremendous expansion, a move to create capacity to produce up to six million proof gallons which would make BBC one of the largest bourbon distilleries in the world. This growth will allow the distillery to source out their product much like MGP, allowing smaller brands to have access to local Kentucky-made product.

BBC, however, intends on working closely with these brands on the actual production, maturation, and ingredient sourcing to create a more wholly executed vision for growing businesses. As a result, Bardstown Bourbon plans to release some of their house-produced brands later this year.

Tasting Notes: Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaboration (American Brandy Edition)

Vital Stats: 113 proof. MGP-produced 10 year bourbon consisting of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. Aged an additional 18 months in Copper & Kings American brandy barrels.

Appearance: This bourbon pours a deep, dark amber, with density variations running from a dark brown to a bright, glowing cedar wood color. Walls of thick, seemingly unmoving viscosity stick heartily to the glass’ interior. The liquid wobbles and bounces with heft as the glass is agitated. All in all, the appearance of this whiskey is intimidating in its strength.

Nose: Immediate first impressions bring forth punches of new leather, grape skins, and sandalwood. There is a passing waft of peach, or other sweet fruit, that teases a more desserty experience ahead. Despite the pleasant aromas in earlier inhales, a boozy blast with a distinct hit of super glue takes over after initial palate acclamation. There is a musty wood smell that creeps in, and helps to soften the more intense alcohol character, but is not overall pleasant.

Palate: This is certainly one product that tastes ‘as advertised.’ The first sip contains the pillowy, fruity sweetness of brandy that carries with it flavors of sweet cherry, almond, and an almost grappa-like bite of distilled fruit tannins. The bourbon struggles to express itself, and does so mostly through mouthfeel and a deep caramel that enrobes the light, bright, thin & boozy nature of the experimental barrel treatment. At 113 proof, this is a lip stinger, and slow sipper. The lingering flavors are ones that are unexpected for bourbon, like candied ginger, rose petals, and lemongrass.

The Takeaway

This drink is all about the brandy barrel finishing. Save some heft, some caramel, a more controlled sweetness level, and some light cocoa notes, this sips like a brandy aged in heavily charred Bourbon barrels, not the other way around. It holds interest as an oddity and a mind bender, but I don't feel that this would be a go-to evening sipper or crave-worthy beverage for the more traditional whiskey drinker.

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Jim Bonomo