15 STARS Whiskey Pays Tribute To Kentucky’s Distilling History

| April 18, 2022

A new whiskey brand honoring Kentucky’s distilling heritage since 1795, called 15 STARS, made its debut on the whiskey market this month.

The brand’s first release is its Timeless Reserve, a blend of Kentucky bourbons aged 14 years and older.

Founders of 15 STARS, father and son duo Rick Johnson and Ricky Johnson, plan to use special strains of corn, a black corn and a patriotic mix of red, white and blue corn, for future releases being distilled and warehoused in Bardstown, Kentucky.

15 Stars Kentucky Bourbon

15 Stars Kentucky Bourbon, Timeless Reserve (image via 15 Stars)

“At a time when bourbon production is increasingly taking place across the country, we’re doubling down on Kentucky,” said Head Blender Ricky Johnson in a prepared statement. “We see this brand as a way to pay tribute to more than 225 years of Kentucky bourbon craftsmanship.”

Their first release, distributed by Heritage Wine and Spirits, will be a Kentucky exclusive as a tribute to the 15th state. In addition to the whiskeys, the Johnsons have collected Kentucky historical items known as the 15 STARS collection.

The collection, which includes a variety of rare Kentucky-related artifacts, is currently housed online, but will be displayed at physical locations and tasting events in the future.

“Kentucky was once considered America’s ‘First West,’  but it was so much more than just early pioneers. The Kentucky of 1795 was prosperous and growing with highly skilled craftspeople working their trades as silversmiths, furniture makers, artists, and distillers,” said Rick Johnson, an entrepreneur who has worked in whiskey-related industries including limestone and corn.

“We want to honor these artisans with our brand and really give people a sense that like in those days, this whiskey comes from our hands to theirs.”

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The first release will contain Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey from two different mash bills and ages to capture a more rounded, complex drinking experience. The 15 STARS Timeless Reserve (MSRP $279) is a 103 proof Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that contains a blend of 14-year-old and older whiskey.

The distiller’s notes show that on the nose, there’s a bouquet of butterscotch and maple, highlighted by roasted nuts and tobacco. On the palate is dark chocolate and molasses along with cream and vanilla, which create a rich mouthfeel. It finishes with tastes of dark chocolate, notes of oak and coffee, followed by a hazelnut finish

For more information, check out www.15STARS.com.


Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...