Bardstown Bourbon Company dropped new additions to their Discovery and Collaborative Series this fall, and we’ve got thoughts to share on two of them. First up, the 11th installment in the Discovery Series, a line that, until this latest release, relied entirely on sourced whiskey for its often elaborate blends. Next is a new addition to the Collaborative Series produced in partnership with Goose Island. Let’s check them out.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #11 – This latest addition to the Discovery Series line isn’t as complicated as past releases, with just three Kentucky bourbons in the mix: 13-year-old high corn (73%), 10-year-old even higher corn (21%), and 6-year-old wheated bourbon (6%), the lattermost drawn from BBCo.’s house-distilled stocks. That last one is a bit curious because its inclusion in the blend is more in line with what the distillery was doing with their recently retired Fusion Series. There’s presumably more of this to come.
On the nose, this one is exceptionally well-balanced with warm notes of cherry pastry, dark toffee, and an undertone of creamy peanut butter. There’s a lot of depth for such a soft aroma. The palate is bigger and bolder but still well-balanced with an initial rush of chewy caramels and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s silky (the milk after the cereal is eaten, perhaps) with a sweetness that builds gradually across the sip. The midpalate offers up a flourish of dark sugar sweetness with notes of brown butter and Demerara syrup before a generous, elegant finish of strawberry pie, clove, and warm oak tones. Effortlessly approachable at cask strength with a balance of fruit and dark spice reminiscent of some coveted “dusty” bourbons. Another top-notch Discovery Series and early evidence that younger BBCo. bourbon will be an asset to this already impressive line. 118.1 proof. A / $140
Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaborative Series Goose Island Bourbon County – This isn’t BBCo.’s first barrel-aged stout finished bourbon. In early 2022, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout lent its not inconsequential charms to a BBCo. blend. That release was a fairly straightforward finished whiskey with one lot of 10-year-old Tennessee-sourced bourbon seeing a healthy 15 months of finishing time. This latest project with Goose Island is younger but a bit more elaborate. Six and seven-year-old high-rye bourbon, all sourced from Kentucky, has been aged for 12 months in Bourbon County Stout barrels and then married with another (unfinished) 9-year-old, high-corn Kentucky bourbon.
Like the KBF collab, the aroma isn’t easily pegged for a stout finish with early notes of Cracker Jacks, yeasty cinnamon rolls, and butterscotch pudding. As things open, a hint of roasted malt and dark chocolate emerges, but caramelized sugar and baking spice still tend to dominate. As such, bourbon lovers won’t find anything to complain about in the aroma, but the palate may be a different story. The bourbon reportedly went into wet stout barrels from Goose Island which has clearly added a ton of stout character to the mix. Some will surely argue too much. Early notes of dark caramels and toffee give way quickly to pronounced, earthy malts, pungent coffee grounds, raisin, and maple syrup. The midpalate is dominated by dark malts, becoming noticeably acidic and almost sour at times. Things start to balance out too late on a warming finish of Hershey’s syrup, butterscotch, and a lingering note of bitter baking chocolate. A rare miss from the BBCo. crew. 100 proof. B- / $160