Whiskey Review: Blue Run Kentucky Straight Bourbon

, | January 15, 2021

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Blue Run Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced 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.

We get by with a little help from our friends. This sentiment has never been truer for the group involved in creating Blue Run Spirits.

The group of bourbon lovers include a Nike designer, a philanthropist, Facebook’s first director-level employee, a political advisor, and a hospitality executive. The friends enlisted the help of former Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge to create Blue Run 13-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

As a 50-year whiskey veteran, Rutledge brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise for this first collaboration. Blue Run Kentucky Straight Bourbon “features all the hallmarks of a Rutledge whiskey. It’s bottled at a higher proof, providing more flavor because less water is added to reduce proof.” This culminates in a nice 113 proof bourbon. I found it smooth and full of wonderfully heady and warming characteristics.

If there’s one thing that Blue Run Spirits has a good grip on, it’s marketing. The branding is modern and sleek. The bottle is hand numbered and features a beautiful 22 karat gold ink butterfly medallion. Created by former Nike designer and co-founder Devon McKinney, he noted that “it was an interesting challenge: how to add contemporary design aesthetics to a centuries-old product.”

These days, marketing seems almost as important as flavor profiles. In order to reach younger and less-informed whiskey drinkers, the new guys have to do everything they can to stand out, even with a powerhouse as Rutledge behind the cask.

Blue Run Kentucky Straight Bourbon is the first release from this promising team. They plan on utilizing all of the benefits available from social media, celebrity endorsements, and the best hyper-targeted digital advertising.

This robust bourbon is rapidly selling out its limited 2,600 bottle run. So I suppose that marketing strategy is working already.

Blue Run Bourbon

Blue Run Bourbon (image via Blue Run Spirits)

Tasting Notes: Blue Run Bourbon

Vital Stats: 113 proof. Aged 13 Years. Limited 2,600 bottle release. $170/750ml

Appearance: In the glass this whiskey presents as a beautiful dark amber, the color of perfectly simmered caramel.

Nose: I enjoyed the wonderfully sweet aroma of vanilla spice, a blissfully buttery scent that I can’t help but open up and enjoy throughout the day.

Palate: The boldness of the bourbon really opens up once it hits the palate. The flavor profile is exceptional, with smooth caramel sweetness that fans out into a lovely spiced finish. I tasted notes of chopped dates on the second sip, and enjoyed the dense, buttery mouthfeel of this nicely matured bourbon.

The Takeaway


I have high hopes for the future of Blue Run Spirits. I loved the layers of this bourbon. The sweet, outstretching warmth is perfect for these rainy, dark days. It has all the maturity of its age and is set apart from its peers by Rutledge’s masterful distillation.

User Review
3.08 (73 votes)


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.