Whiskey Review: Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Bardstown Bourbon Company. 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.

A picturesque setting of rolling Kentucky hills, a state-of-the-art distilling system under glass, and restaurant highlight Bardstown Bourbon Company’s headquarters. One might think they have stepped onto the property of a Napa Valley destination vineyard, but you would be wrong and delighted all at once. Bardstown is striving to redefine the tasting experience along with the idea of what bourbon can be and from my experience with their latest release of The Prisoner, I am excited to see what comes next.

The history of bourbon, the invention of which is associated with Elijah Craig in the 1800s, is regulated by the government based on specific distilling and aging criteria. Bourbon must be produced in the United States and made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. It must be aged in new charred oak barrels. Bourbon cannot exceed 160 proof, poured off for aging at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at 80 proof or more. Other than straight bourbon (which has to be aged at least two years), there are no other aging requirements. To be considered Straight Bourbon, there can be no additional flavors, or colors added.

The bourbon reviewed here is a collaboration between Bardstown Bourbon Company and California wine specialist The Prisoner Wine Company. It is a 100 proof, 9 year old Tennessee bourbon that was aged for an additional 18 months in ex-French oak red wine barrels used to age The Prisoner wine.

A well-balanced bourbon, for me, ticks a number of boxes. It has a smooth texture with a warmth that verges on prickly but doesn’t linger. I look for character in the flavors balanced so they complement the other notes. I enjoy a bit of citrus, oak, and a light sweetness that is not cloying. I am glad to say that my experience with Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner was a box ticking experience.

Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner

Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner (image via Bardstown Bourbon Company)

Tasting Notes: Bardstown Bourbon: The Prisoner

Vital Statistics: 100 proof; 9 year old Tennessee bourbon finished 18 months in ex-French oak red wine barrels; around $125 per 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: The rich color of this whiskey is another aspect of the change that takes place in the final aging process. Those final 18 months of aging pull out a garnet tinge in the Bardstown bourbon, setting it apart from many of the lighter tan and soft caramel colors I am accustomed to with many whiskey’s.

Nose: With my first whiff, my senses were engaged by the raw sugar and oak. With the final aging process of this bourbon taking place in Prisoner wine barrels, I also noticed a port-like note that worked very nicely with the gentle hint of citrus that chased the other smells down.

Palate: From the get-go this bourbon exhibited a buttery soft texture, gentle heat and an oaky finish. Brown sugar and stone fruit blended to add a hint of a white port that I noticed on the nose. My final observations brought about a bit of a spicy nature I associate with coffee cake and a hint of orange peel that rounded out the overall flavor profile.

The Takeaway


I am picky when it comes to bourbon, and lucky for me, this one delivered what I was looking for. This selection from Bardstown is a delight and would go nicely sitting by a fire, sharing a drink with friends or a quiet moment enjoying the sunset.

User Rating 4.33 (3 votes)


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