Review: Bardstown Bourbon Triple Blended Stave Finish and Steve’s Legacy
Bardstown Bourbon Co. continues to hum along with their Discovery and Fusion Series releases, as well as the occasional specialty finish limited editions that round out their standard portfolio (impressive considering how much whiskey they make for everyone else). Clearly adept at multi-tasking, the distillery has also released a handful of even rarer offerings over the last year, exclusively available at their sleek gift shop in Bardstown, Kentucky. While you are unlikely to find the two offerings below on any store shelves, the impressive quality of each should at least inspire a visit on your next Bourbon Trail outing.
Bardtsown Bourbon Distillery Collection Triple Blended Stave Finish – The 2021 launch of the Distillery Collection marked BBCo.’s first distillery exclusive that has since become their answer to the “bottle it yourself” trend spreading to distillery gift shops the world over. I picked up my bottle on a trip last year sans all the social media-worthy theatrics. As with most of BBCo.’s blends, there’s a lot inside this bottle. It begins with a base blend of sourced 6-7 year Indiana rye and 12 year Kentucky bourbon that is then finished for three weeks using different oak staves. The final product is a mix of that finished blend, plus a healthy measure (13%) of 17-year-old Tennessee whiskey. The result is a whiskey that deftly showcases the hallmarks of well-aged rye and bourbon with a sultry aroma of old oak, cigar wrapper, leather, peanut brittle, clove, and dark cherry. The nose is more well-aged bourbon than rye, but the palate flips the script with an impressively peppery entry accented with Andes mints. Rich and well-balanced, it transitions to more baking spice on the mid-palate before a healthy finish of well-seasoned oak, fruitcake, and grilled peaches. 109 proof. A / $199
Bardstown Bourbon Steve’s Legacy – BBCo.’s Master Distiller, Steve Nally, marked 50 years in the industry in 2022. A veteran of Maker’s Mark, where he spent nearly 20 years of that career, Steve has always had a soft spot for wheaters, so it’s no surprise the blend used to honor him includes the wheated recipe he developed for the distillery (25%). Add to that some BBCo. high rye mashbill (23%) and a majority of 15-year-old sourced Kentucky lower-rye bourbon, finish it for 25 days in French oak, and you’ve got quite the commemorative bottling. The nose is light and unusually dry with notes of apple chips, brown butter, and chalky, old-fashioned peppermint. The palate is nicely rounded and weighty with a measured cereal sweetness, not undercooked or youthful but earthy and well-baked. It’s altogether a more savory and unique experience for a Kentucky bourbon, highlighted by generous notes of buttery caramel apple, cinnamon toast, and lemon pound cake. The finish is honeyed, warming, and lengthy with notes of ripe melon and cinnamon stick. A fitting golden anniversary tribute. 100 proof. A- / $400
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