Beards Town Bourbon
Yes, you're reading that right and it is not a typo - Beards Town Bourbon (not Bardstown). This brightly labeled bottle caught my eye on the shelf at a large, regional liquor store in Kentucky. Chalking it up to "one for the blog", I dropped a Jackson - and got change back.
The Center of Bourbon
Bardstown is considered by many to be the center of bourbon. Today, numerous distilleries dot the roads into and out of Bardstown, including Heaven Hill, Willett, Bardstown Distilling, and Lux. A short drive outside of town will take you to Jim Beam, Four Roses, and more.
Beards Town Bourbon draws its name and pays homage to the bourbon capital of Bardstown, Kentucky which was also known as Beards Town in its earliest days. The area was settled in 1780, making it the second oldest community in the Commonwealth. David Bard secured the land grant and his brother, William Bard, surveyed and laid out the town that would rise up.
Beards Town Bourbon Whiskey is packaged in a tall, shouldered bottle with a steel blue label. It is bottled at 90 proof without an age statement. Further, it is labeled as straight bourbon, indicating it must be aged at least 2 years, and if aged less than 4 years, it must display the age. Since this bottle doesn't contain an age statement, it's safe to assume it is aged at least 4 years. This is also labeled as Kentucky straight whiskey, so we can be assured that the product was distilled in Kentucky.
The label shares that the bourbon has been bottled by Brookstone Distilling Company of Louisville, Kentucky. Hmmm ... the plot thickens. This isn't a name I've heard before.
A little Google-searching led me to the Brookstone Distilling Company as a tradename with a New Hampshire address. Continuing the search led me to the owner of Brookstone Distilling - Sazerac of New Hampshire LLC. Eurkea!
While not fully disclosed, this would appear to be an off-brand produced by Sazerac - the spirit producer that brings us the Barton and Buffalo Trace brands. There's very little other information about this product. I paid about $17 for the 750ml bottle.
Eye: Amber. There are a scattering of medium legs when swirled in my Glencairn glass.
Nose: Honey, toasted oak, cinnamon and a little vanilla. Nothing that is super inviting or forward. Nearly all the notes are light and uncomplicated, but there was also nothing offensive, either. So far, ok.
Palate: Vanilla and spice front and center. The mouthfeel is thin and other than those two notes, that's really all there is.
Finish: Medium and dry with oak and spice.
Overall: Priced as a sub-$20 bourbon, this was certainly fine, though nothing to really write home about. Overall, I'd say this met, but didn't exceed my expectations. If you're looking for something to serve up to your friends at your next party, this wouldn't be a bad one to offer up. The higher 90-proof will make this hold up better with ice or in a cocktail than many 80-proof bourbons in this category.