Review: Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Review: Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon

blade and bow

Diageo’s latest Bourbon project arrives with, as usual, plenty of confusion surrounding its provenance. The basic story is that Blade and Bow is launching in two versions, but both are a “tribute” to the famed Stitzel-Weller distillery.

I won’t try to digest how these two expressions are made myself, so here’s the relevant PR on the matter, first the NAS expression, then the 22 year old:

Born from some of the oldest remaining whiskey stocks distilled at Stitzel-Weller before it ceased production in 1992, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey … is made using a unique solera aging system to preserve the original stocks. This solera liquid is then mingled with other fine whiskeys, aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller. The 91-proof bourbon is priced at $49.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of whiskeys distilled at both the distillery historically located at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville, Ky. and the distillery historically located in at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. in Frankfort, Ky. The limited release offering was most recently aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller. At 92-proof, you can purchase a 750ml bottle for $149.99.

Only the “base,” NAS version was made available for review at press time, but it sounds like a markedly different product than the 22 year old — and thanks to its solera process, is a departure for bourbon in general. How’s this new whiskey come across? Bend an ear and draw near.

The nose is restrained for bourbon, with hints of citrus, some mint, and mild wood notes. Initially quite alcoholic, these harsher aromas blow off with time — so let it air out before diving in in force. On the palate, it’s racy with heat, then punchy with fruity notes — orange, apricot, cut apples, and a touch of lemon. There’s more mint here too, plus a nice lacing of wood-driven vanilla and chocolate notes as expected. The finish keeps the fruit rolling right along, fading out with a touch of caramel apple that makes for a pleasant way to wrap things up. It starts off as a bit of an odd duck, with its strangely heavy fruitiness setting it apart from the typical bourbon profile — but I found this ultimately grew on me as an evening of tasting wore on.

Give it a whirl.

91 proof.


Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Alan on July 23, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Best bourbon I ever had, surpasses Pappy

  2. Jimmy on January 10, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Love this stuff. Good flavor and smooth.
    Watch out pappy !

  3. Demitrius on May 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

    So wait…where is this stuff distilled?! Cant be at SW, since it closed down, right?

  4. Christopher Null on May 11, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Demitrius – some of it may be old stock from SW, but a very small amount. They don’t say where the rest is from. It was all aged and bottled at SW, so they say.

  5. Kenny B. on May 3, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Pretty package and decent bourbon, but a far cry from a $50. bottle. This is a $30. bottle, tops. Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage is far superior. Obviously, that’s just my opinion. An A-? Hardly.

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