Bardstown Bourbon Co. impressed us back in 2019 with the inaugural releases of its Fusion and Discovery Series whiskeys. As a reminder, the Fusion Series showcases blends of BBCo’s house-made whiskey and an older sourced spirit, while the Discovery Series is merely a blend of entirely sourced whiskeys. We somehow missed the sequel to both lines, but we recently received samples of the latest releases by way of a cool tasting kit that BBCo is pairing with an impressive virtual tour of the distillery. Thoughts follow.
Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #3 – For the third Fusion Series release, the blend and mashbills have remained the same, but the bourbon is, unsurprisingly, creeping up in age. The breakdown is 40% Kentucky Straight Bourbon aged 12 years with a mash bill of 74% corn, 18% wheat, and 8% malted barley; 18% BBCo’s own wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon aged 3 years with a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley, and 42% BBCo high-rye recipe Kentucky Straight Bourbon also aged 3 years with a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. The nose is enjoyable but not as inspiring as its younger sibling with the barrel dominating some of the fruit and baking spice we enjoyed in Series #1. The bit of barrel ash has become more toasted oak now, with an almost cocoa quality to it. On the palate, the wood is starting to show itself a little more, as well, with warm chocolate and barrel char notes finding equal measure to the brown sugar and toffee. The caramel apple note we originally detected has dried out a bit, more baked apples well-spiced with cinnamon. The cherry note still rides well into the generous finish but things are still less fruit-forward, and thus a little less complex, than they began in the first release. 98.9 proof. A- / $60 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Series #3 – The third edition in the Discovery Series line is somewhat less ambitious than the inaugural release with just three bourbons in the blend (42% 10 year old Kentucky, 32% 13 year old Kentucky, and 45% 13 year old Indiana). All use rye in the mashbill, although the exact proportion ranges from 12% to 21%. The nose on this bourbon is sultry with bold wood notes: incense and old carpets, hazelnuts and dark chocolate. A bit of orange zest adds some welcome brightness to contrast the intensity of the other aromas. On the palate, there’s a nice balance of brighter, sweet citrus, vanilla bean, and savory baking spice. The citrus, juicy and clove-studded character keeps things oily and rich and carries through into the long finish which sees classic toffee and caramel notes kissed with a baked orange note. Even better than the inaugural release. 110 proof. A / $130 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]