Bardstown Bourbon Co. Fusion Series #3, 49.45% ABV
Quoth George Costanza, “A new contender emerges.” The $50-$75 price tier is littered with production stalwarts (RR Single Barrel, Ol Fo 1920) and ultra-great big game (Stagg Jr., ECBP, Makers Private Selection, FRSB Barrel Strength), so it’s a bold statement of confidence in my opinion for Bardstown to gear their everyday/entry bourbon here.
Spoiler: it absolutely earns its place with its illustrious peer-competitors.
A caveat as well: I initially sipped it after 10 minutes of resting in a tumbler, and was letdown with how grainy and grassy it tasted. I rested it another 10 minutes, and at the 20 minute mark, she sings. I highly recommend the longer rest time.
Nose: A hammock nap of slow-moving caramel, baked pastry crust, and light touches of leather. It’s incredibly pleasing to the point of relaxation.
Palate: It lives up its Fusion name — it’s almost like tasting a barrel as it ages through the years in every sip. Initially young notes of green apple and brown sugar announce themselves in force, before they give way to a surge of toasted pecans, before it’s all capped off with a wave of caramel that’s buttressed by oak and just a touch of heat.
Finish: To be primarily comprised of 3 year old juice, the 13 year old barrels flash their stuff. Medium-long, and hotter than you’d guess for 98-99 proof bourbon. The toasted pecans are in the driver’s seat, but the apple and oak flavors are riding shotgun and make themselves known. There’s a certain juiciness in the finish that reminds me of something like Pinot Noir — it’s not so much a flavor as it is mouthfeel.
Summary: This bottle has flavor and balance that belies its youth. I’m not sure if BB Co. are just that skilled in their distilling or their source (Heaven Hill?) gave them primo barrels, but this rocks. The flavors are vastly different, but Ol Fo 1920 is what this makes me think of both in terms of value/price and balance. It’s priced right in the middle of the über-daily drinkers, and that’s exactly what it is. I’ve read that some/all of Bardstown Bourbon, Chattanooga Whiskey, and Wilderness Trail will be the next operators to be household names, and it’s bottles like this that make me believe it.
Image courtesy of Jon who also writes on Low Class & High Proof.
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