Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by American Highway Bourbon. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Another in a long line of celebrity collaborations in whiskey, country music star Brad Paisley has partnered with Bardstown Bourbon Company to develop American Highway Bourbon. The whiskey is among the first-ever to be aged on the road, following Paisley’s 2019 tour across 25 states and 7,314 miles.
Aged in barrels stored in a semi-trailer, the bourbon enjoyed the benefits of a “rolling rickhouse,” not unlike a “floating rickhouse.” As the climate changes and fluctuates on the road, oak and char are imparted into the bourbon. The new bourbon was distilled by Bardstown Bourbon Company before hitting the road, then was blended with more mature bourbons.
The final blend included the new bourbon aged on the rolling rickhouse, a three-year, 13-year, and 15-year-old Kentucky bourbons. This blending process gives the whiskey a more lived-in feel and a unique flavor profile. Paisley was sure to add more than his famous name, as he worked closely with Bardstown Bourbon Company to the final output. Dan Callaway, VP at Bardstown, says of the collaboration, “You don’t get to see many celebrities that have such a technical palate. It was a super collaboration that resulted in a traveling bourbon in an exemplary expression.”
As for Paisley, he has said in a prepared statement that “Bourbon is like songwriting, it’s a blend of things coming together to make something incredible.” He went above and beyond to work with the distilling team on the final blend.
Bardstown Bourbon Company hails from Kentucky, the state considered the Bourbon Capitol of the World. But “American Highway” Bourbon is unique as it instills a bit of every state into its new bourbon, with the changing temperatures and humidity rates altering the expression as it travelled all those miles.
The introduction of alternative aging methods does not always ensure a product that lives up to its reputation, and a distillery like Bardstown Bourbon Company seem all show with its Napa Valley-style tasting room. That said, I’m happy to say that everything I’ve tasted out of Bardstown Bourbon Company has been enjoyable, often bordering on exemplary. American Highway Bourbon is no different, with today’s tasting bringing plenty of flavor and just the right amount of heat.
Tasting Notes: American Highway Bourbon
Vital Stats: A blend of four rye-forward bourbons ranging in age from three to 15 years, according to the following proportions: 28% 3-year-old with a mash bill of 71% corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley; 25% 3-year-old with a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley; 24% 13-year-old with a mash bill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley; and 23% 15-year-old with a mash bill of 78.5% corn, 13% rye, and 8.5% malted barley. 96 Proof (48% ABV). Suggested retail around $99.99.
Appearance: Soft amber with thin legs.
Nose: Classic and fresh, with aromas of cherry and vanilla with a slight hint of peppermint patty.
Palate: It’s a smooth ride, with flavors that are easy to pick out. Cola and dark chocolate covered cherry blend well with a hint of menthol leading to a long finish.
I truly loved this whiskey. It can be difficult to stand out amidst other more well-known bourbons, but American Highway Bourbon is a truly bold and flavorful expression that I would happily join on the long and winding road.
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Jerry Jenae Sampson
Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.