Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples 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 links in this article our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Located on 100 acres of farmland deep within the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown Bourbon Company is on the forefront of innovation. Ensuring transparency with their consumers, the blending masters have made a name for themselves with their Napa Valley Bourbon experience.
There is a lot of competition on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. With 37 distilleries within 70 miles, the bourbon aficionado has to make the hard choices. Bardstown Bourbon Company is housed at a $40 million distillery and offers a “destination experience” that includes an integrated visitor center, event space, and fine dining. They call themselves the “Modern Distiller of the American Spirit,” a title that seems appropriate for their impressive output.
Bardstown Bourbon Company produces more than forty mashbills for some of the biggest brands in the world, solidifying the company’s value beyond their original output. At the helm of the growing company is Master Distiller Steve Nally, a Bourbon Hall of Famer with more than forty years of experience in the distilling industry. As Nally states, Bardstown has “totally changed the traditional model, and we give our partners the ability to control every aspect of the process – from the grains, yeast, barrels, all the way to the pressures throughout the system.”
The goal for Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Fusion Series was to create a blend that introduces younger bourbon with an older Kentucky Straight. My tasting of Fusion #4 showcases a fusion between a 13-year-old sourced bourbon and the Bardstown Bourbon Company’s own hand-selected mashbill within three and four-year-old products. The blend comes from Vince Metcalfe, a visitor experience representative, and was voted on in a blind taste test by members of the distilling, culinary, and beverage programs.
My second tasting, Discovery Series #4, is a blend of a high-rye 13-year-old bourbon and a 15 and 10-year-old bourbon. This series was created by Bardstown Bourbon Company Kitchen & Bar exec chef James-Stuart Plush. “I am really pleased with the final product and think that the age comes through,” said Plush. “While it is bottled at 115 proof, it is definitely something that I personally would be able to sip neat.”
Tasting Notes: Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series #4
Vital Stats: 40% 13-year Kentucky with a mashbill of 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% barley. The other three are Bardstown Bourbon Company blends aged 3 & 4 years made with corn, rye, and malted barley. 94.9 Proof (47.45% ABV). $59.99/750mL.
Appearance: Goldenrod, clear honey, low viscosity.
Nose: Mildly floral and sweet, fresh sugar cane are the first scents to come forward. Then the hint of smokiness of the Kentucky bourbon.
Palate: This whiskey is smooth and sweet. I got a bit of a eucalyptus taste at the start, some of the sweet floral elements from the nose carried over as well as a tinge of almost bitter toffee. I relished in the nutty finish.
Final Thoughts: This is a nice, smooth bourbon. The blend creates an enjoyable mixture of flavors that is fun to parse through, and while no one element stands above the other, there is something special to this fusion that has really captured my palate.
Tasting Notes: Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #4
Vital Stats: 55% 13-year Kentucky (same as above) blended with 37% 15-year and 8% 10-year Kentucky made with corn, rye, and malted barley. 115 Proof (57.5% ABV). $129.99/750mL.
Appearance: Apricot and IPA, high viscosity but light on the palate for the proof.
Nose: There was a lot going on. Honey, jasmine, sweet stone fruit, slightly floral elements, and the smell of the barrel that was stronger in the bottle than out.
Palate: There was a complexity of flavors that took a dash of water to finesse. The wood carries over, spices and brown sugar. There’s a strange effervescence at the top that mellows into subtle fruit flavors.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t enjoy the Discovery Series as much as I did the Fusion, but it was still a nice, mellow bourbon that didn’t kick too hard for the proof. It definitely needed the water to gain access to the full spectrum of flavors, and overall this is a fine bourbon that just takes a bit to get used to.
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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.