Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Bluebird Distilling. 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.
The award winning Bluebird Distilling is a grain-to-glass distillery located in historic Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, which is also the home of their main tasting room, better known as the Barrel Room. Some other spirits the distillery makes onsite from scratch include gin, vodka, rum, brandy, and white and aged rye whiskeys.
Bluebird Distilling’s Founder and Master Distiller Jared Adkins worked for a Fortune 500 company in corporate manufacturing/engineering right after college for about four years. Then a visit to an Easton, Pennsylvania, brewery suddenly ignited a passion for brewing beer, which then led to his foray into distilling spirits. The additional spark to ignite this new venture came from an article Atkins read about the first easing of local spirit laws since Prohibition.
In a prepared statement, Adkins said, “I spent the next few years learning everything I could about spirits, taking classes, visiting every distillery possible and working with some of the best people in the industry. Along with the help of my Father and close friend Pierre, we transformed an abandoned building into a truly world class distillery.”
Bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV), Bluebird Distilling Four Grain Bourbon is a blend of 4 to 6-year-old whiskey that’s aged in a mix of 10 gallon, 30 gallon, and standard 52 gallon new, charred American oak barrels. While most bourbons are made from at least corn, rye, and barley, Bluebird Distilling Four Grain Bourbon also includes red winter wheat in its mash bill. It is distilled only once in a state-of-the-art hybrid copper still and aged anywhere from five months to five years. This bourbon is the first of its kind to launch from Bluebird Distillery.
Accolades for Bluebird Distilling Four Grain Bourbon include winning Bronze at both the 2016 Berlin International Spirits Competition and the 2016 American Craft Spirits Competition, as well as Gold at the Micro-Liquor Spirits Competition.
In addition to distilling spirits, Bluebird Distillery has recently started crafting coffee using the same roasting process as their whiskey aging methods. The Original Char & Stave Coffee Four Grain Bourbon Barrel Aged from Bluebird Distilling is a medium roast coffee with notes of milk chocolate, molasses, vanilla, aged oak, and toffee. As it says on the package, it’s a “quality coffee made by whiskey people.” With the help of Bluebird Distilling’s Head Distiller and coffee connoisseur Scott Gilbert, Jared Atkins ages the coffee beans for one to six months in the very same barrels used to craft Bluebird Distilling Four Grain Bourbon. “We are able to dial in our roasting to our exact diameters, meaning we have the ability to draw different, specific flavors out of beans,” Atkins said in a prepared statement.
The Original Char & Stave Coffee Four Grain Bourbon Barrel Aged coffee is an absolute delight to drink. Despite being a medium roast, it has a robust, full bodied flavor. It’s toasted, rich nutty flavor profile is well-balanced with a delectable underlying sweetness that needs no additional sweetening. It’s rounded out nicely with hints of toffee and vanilla, which added sugar or artificial sweeteners would only conceal.
Tasting Notes: Bluebird Distilling Four Grain Bourbon
Vital Stats: Aged 4 to 6 years, 92 proof (46% ABV), mash bill: corn, red winter wheat, rye, and malted barley, 750ML bottle MSRP $64.99.
Appearance: Burnished copper.
Nose: Fresh, clean grass notes with a moderate nose burn hit the nose first, followed closely by herbaceous sweet vanilla.
Palate: On the palate are notes of sweet corn, butterscotch, and sweet vanilla, with a fresh, grainy character. It has a delicate smokiness with hints of cinnamon and sweet and spicy toffee notes.