Review: Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #8 and #9

Review: Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #8 and #9

It is the end of an era for Bardstown Bourbon Co. With the release of Fusion Series #8 in September and #9 this fall, the state-of-the-art Kentucky distillery is sunsetting this long-running line. While BBCo. has numerous expressions in its stable, the Fusion Series alone has showcased its young, house-distilled bourbons (along with a healthy top dressing of much older, sourced whiskey). Those BBCo. bourbons are now old enough to stand on their own merits in what will be the Origin Series, reportedly slated for launch next year. Like the duo of Discovery Series releases we reviewed earlier this fall, we received a pair of these final Fusion expressions to chew over. Thoughts and details follow.

Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #8 – The penultimate Fusion release is a mix of 30% 12-year-old sourced Kentucky bourbon with the remainder comprised of two different BBCo. house-distilled rye bourbon mashbills, both of which are, at four years old, the oldest yet featured in the series. The aroma continues the Fusion tradition of bright and sweet high tones that manage to showcase both the oak and a more youthful, fruit-forward quality. The barrel is a bit bolder and better integrated than past offerings, showing a mature mix of toffee, char, and milk chocolate with thick layers of gentle baking spice and dark vanilla bean. A top dressing of peach marmalade and dried orange adds welcome complexity. The palate is light and lively with fresh notes of caramel, wintergreen, and Granny Smith apple. An easy, hugging warmth sets in on the midpalate before a flourish of chai spice, tea leaves, and black pepper erodes on a sweet, creamy finish. 95.5 proof. A- / $65 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #9 – The Fusion Series swan song, billed as their “favorite creation to date,” features a similar mix of sourced 12-year-old Kentucky (30%) and house-distilled bourbon with the BBCo. portion comprising a four grain mashbill paired with a rye bourbon, again both four years old. Fittingly, the nose on this one is the most mature I’ve yet encountered; less bright and fruity, more sultry and wood-driven. That’s not to say it’s oaky in the least. In fact, it’s surprisingly gentle with airy layers of torched sugar, Andes Mints, and pecan pie. The palate is approachable and well-balanced with an early, warming baking spice that carries across the sip, enhanced by notes of rich caramel sauce, milk chocolate fudge, RedHots, and buttery snickerdoodles. The finish is lush with a black pepper spice and slowly fading notes of dark cherry, tobacco, and cola. A fitting sendoff for an impressive series. 96.8 proof. A- / $65

Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #8




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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