Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Blue Run Spirits. 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.
Blue Run. Another group of rich pals who think they have the marketing mojo to bring a sourced whiskey to national prominence. True enough, they collectively have experience working for corporate juggernauts and in fields that demand a keen sense of human psychology. Maybe they’re the quintet to do it.
The brand relies heavily on packaging (which is pretty), storycraft, and their alliance with former Four Roses distiller Jim Rutledge. Rutledge has final say on which barrels go into a batch, and he lead the production of their yet-to-be-released new make.
Rutledge began his whiskey work in 1966 with Seagram and was part of the introductory class of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. He retired from Four Roses in 2015, stayed so for about a week, and then began work on his own distillery. He’s been consulting and setting plans in motion to get J.W. Rutledge Distillery running ever since.
Blue Run is also a place. Well, Royal Spring, Kentucky, is a place and Blue Run is another name for it. One of the whiskey company’s founders grew up spending time there.
Royal Spring is just outside Lexington and near Louisville and Bardstown. The limestone-lined aquifer was the first developed water source for early settlements. It also holds a special place in whiskey lore: that’s where minister Elijah Craig first set up his grain mill and began making that sweet, sweet sour mash bourbon.
The location hosted the first paper mill west of Appalachia, to boot, and is now a county park with a picnic shelter and two historical cabins.
This particular Blue Run bourbon is 14 years old and won Best in Class and double gold at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Tasting Notes: Blue Run Kentucky Bourbon, Summer Batch
Vital Stats: 113 proof, made from an undisclosed mash bill and aged 14 years. Find a 750mL bottle in select markets for $199.99.
Appearance: This liquid is a very clear, medium amber that coats the glass and forms thick tears.
Nose: Unripe banana out of the gate, the nose is astringent with hints of Elmer’s Glue and white flowers with a musky vanilla sweetness.
Palate: The palate is all tingly bite at first, with allspice blooming on the mid-palate. The experience ends with a perfunctory black tea finish.
This whiskey is kind of boring. With its age and all the talent it lays claim to, I expected complexity and interest. It’s just fine, not great. The rest of mine will find its way into a cocktail.
User Review5 (2 votes)
In 2014 I founded Portland Bitters Project with the vision to create the best bitters on the market. Now our bitters are enjoyed around the country and internationally to make expressive, delicious cocktails. I teach at two Portland colleges and visit private groups, distilleries and maker's spaces to spread the...