Bardstown Fusion Series #8
One of the newest additions to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is the Bardstown Bourbon Company. While relatively new to the scene, they bring a wealth of talent to the operations, which included bringing Master Distiller Steve Nally out of retirement. If that name sounds familiar, Nally brings more than four decades of whiskey experience, including serving as the Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark.
The grounds at the Bardstown campus are beautiful, and warehouses are constantly being added - many with glass-enclosed ends allowing a glimpse of what’s carefully aging inside. In addition, the campus also includes a delicious restaurant - perfect for capping off a guided tour.
If BBC isn’t a name that rolls off your tongue, they have access to more than 40 unique mash bills and produce bourbons for brands including Jefferson, High West, Belle Meade, Hirsch, Calumet, James E. Pepper, and Cyrus Noble, to name a few.
In addition to consumers, investors have taken note of Bardstown Bourbon Company. In early 2022, private equity firm Pritzker Private Equity purchased operations. Following on the heels of this announcement, they acquired Green River Spirits (formerly known as O.Z. Tyler) and introduced plans to inject $30 million to increase distilling capacity by 50% (55,000 barrels annually).
Released in September 2022, the tall graceful bottle is the 8th in their Fusion Series and is bottled at 95.5 proof. The label shares that this is a blend of 3 bourbons:
58% 4-year 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley
12% 4-year 70% corn, 18% rye, 12% malted barley
30% 12-year 78% corn, 10% rye, 12% malted barley
The 4-year bourbons are produced by Bardstown Bourbon Company; the 12-year bourbon indicates it is a Kentucky bourbon (i.e. sourced). While on a tour of Bardstown Bourbon Company, I stumbled upon Master Distiller Steve Nally in the gift shop. One of the topics of our twenty-minute conversation was on where they sourced their older whiskeys. Steve instructed me to Google the mash bill and the internet would provide the answer. The mash bill is identical to the flagship brands at nearby neighbor Heaven Hill.
From the website, we’re expecting a smooth and complex pour that is a fusion between newer high-rye and a bold 12-year bourbon. Ripe apricot, mint, and green tea are balanced by layers of caramel and honey over baked apples.
Mrs. Joseph Bourbon has been gradually opening up to bourbon. Perhaps it’s from all of those distillery tours, tastings, and fine bourbon in the cabinet. I’ll share some of her thoughts, as well.
Eye: Dark copper
Nose: Vanilla, honey, fruity, herbal and floral notes are layered on top of brown sugar. The Mrs. described it as “vanilla goodness with no alcohol”.
Palate: Exceptionally smooth and balanced with vanilla and fruit flavors that are thick and creamy. The Mrs. enjoyed the brown sugar notes that provided a warm Kentucky hug.
Finish: Long and smooth with gentle toasted oak and light spice.
Overall: This is exceptional bourbon. Steve Nally has once again put together a well-crafted finished product. While I often enjoy my bourbon on ice, this was best served neat.
From the Mrs. - this is one of her favorite bourbons. As we blended remote work life with snowbirding, we enjoyed many sunsets on our balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. And if I shared that this bourbon was in the glass, it was quickly removed from my hand with the phrase, “I’ll just have a little taste of that” (and I would often respond, “That’s a heavy taste!”).
Bardstown Bourbon Company recently released their own 6-year bourbons and I am definitely looking forward to trying those. In the meantime, though, this is one bourbon to splurge a little on and enjoy the Master’s work.