Whiskey Review: Bardstown “The Prisoner” Bourbon #2

, | June 17, 2021

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

Looking at the previous review about the first release of this whiskey, I was definitely curious. Wine barrel finishes are always a gamble. What we have here is a ten-year-old bourbon finished in French oak Cabernet barrels from The Prisoner winery for 18 months. The previous version was a nine-year-old bourbon with the same finish. The juice itself is sourced Tennessee bourbon. I’ll admit that I haven’t tasted wines from the Prisoner, though the name piques one’s curiosity.

“At The Prisoner Wine Company, we strive to continue our irreverent approach to winemaking and to evolve our role in the industry in unexpected ways, including our partnership with Bardstown Bourbon, whose red wine barrel-aged embodies our brand’s sense of daring,” says Chrissy Wittmann, director of winemaking. “It’s been exciting to use barrels from our namesake wine in such a dynamic way, and to build upon the success of this first release with this new collaborative bourbon.”

“The collaborative expressions we have released to date have all been highly coveted, and very limited, so we’re excited to give consumers another taste of this one,” says Bardstown Bourbon Company Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Herb Heneman. “Only 3,000 cases of this exclusive release will be produced overall and thus on an allocated basis for distribution.”

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“The same attributes that made the initial release so special are back,” says Steve Nally, master distiller at Bardstown Bourbon Company. “This is a very complex spirit, with a welcoming bouquet of dark fruit aromatics, honey, vanilla, and baking spices.”

Bardstown Bourbon Company & The Prisoner Wine Company Collaboration

Bardstown Bourbon Company & The Prisoner Wine Company Collaboration (image via Bardstown Bourbon Company)

Tasting Notes: Bardstown “The Prisoner” Bourbon #2

Vital Stats: 100 proof, 50% ABV. Finished in The Prisoner French oak red wine barrels. Price $181 per 750ml.

Appearance: Burnt orange with a hint of red depending on how light hits the glass. Given a swirl, legs were few and slow to emerge.

Nose: First impression was boozy with a good hit of Amarena cherry. Upon further inspection there was a hint of caramel and oak in the background. All in all, it was what one may expect from a bourbon finished in red wine barrels.

Palate: Medium bodied and surprisingly dry with a short finish. This one was a mix of strawberry candy and oak topped with a touch of black pepper. With the addition of a splash of water opened up the whiskey a touch, accenting the fruit and rounding out the tasting experience.

The Takeaway


To be blunt, this one was good, not great. I am super curious, however, as to the flavors of the previous version. This one misses the mark, at the end of the day. It left one wanting more—either more fruit from the Cab barrel aging, or perhaps a different wine barrel in general. Alas, it is a tricky art.

User Review
3 (3 votes)

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Kenji Mizumori

Kenji is a bartender in Portland, Oregon at the Pope House Bourbon Lounge. A bourbon enthusiast for decades. He likes big whiskeys, pretty much anything over 100 proof.