Review: KO Distilling Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon Bottled-in-Bond

Review: KO Distilling Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon Bottled-in-Bond

Even smaller craft producers are getting in on the special release action this bourbon season. Virginia’s KO Distilling, whose core line and single barrel whiskey expressions we reviewed last year, recently announced the launch of their Bottled-in-Bond Distiller’s Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Per the folks at KO:

Hand-crafted from local Virginia corn, wheat and malted barley in one distilling season, the bourbon is aged for four years in charred new American Oak barrels. The result is KO Distilling’s first Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon, which also pays homage to the 400th anniversary of distilled spirits in the United States. 

“Four centuries ago, the first American whiskey was distilled in Virginia, giving birth to a new industry which has endured against unfathomable odds,” said Bill Karlson, Co-Founder & CEO, KO Distilling. “That spirit of perseverance, distilled through 400 years of craft, is proudly presented today as our Bottled-in-Bond Distiller’s Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey.” 

On the nose, Distiller’s Reserve is toasty with barrel char, a bit of warm cornbread, and an airy, vanilla sweetness, like cream soda. It’s still showing some grain-forward youth, but things are far more balanced than we experienced with the standard offering and our single barrel sample last summer. The barrel shows prominently on the front of the palate, however, with more char and overcooked chocolate chip cookies, but it’s not overly drying. Eventually, a bit of butterscotch, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick offer welcome contrasts and the whole experience turns richer and sweeter, building into a silky finish of toffee and maple.

With Distiller’s Reserve, KO is showcasing a bourbon that is clearly hitting its stride compared to the earlier, standard offerings. The barrel notes aren’t nearly as aggressive as we encountered in the single barrel last year, but this one could still benefit from a little air time or a splash of water.

100 proof.

A- / $70 /

KO Distilling Distiller's Reserve Bourbon Bottled-in-Bond




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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