Classification: Blend of Straight Whiskeys Finished in Rum Casks
Company: Bardstown Bourbon Company
Distillery: Sourced from undisclosed Indiana and Tennessee distilleries
Release Date: April 2023
Age: A blend of 7 and 17 year old whiskeys and finished for additional 23 months
Mashbill: Blend of 2 mashbills:
90% | Indiana Rye | 7 Years | 51% Rye, 45% Corn, 4% Malted Barley
10% | Tennessee Bourbon | 17 Years | 84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Color: Dark Gold
MSRP: $160 (2023)
Brown sugar | Dark maple syrup | Toasted cinnamon sticks | Nougat | Molasses | Vanilla
Brown sugar | Cola syrup | Molasses | Caramel | Barrel char
Molasses | Aged oak | Black pepper | Stewed fruit | Slightly dry | Long
A multi-layered and distinct tasting rum finished whiskey thanks to its Foursquare Rum barrel influence and combination of rye and Tennessee bourbon base.
Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Collaborative Series has been a source of many interesting and creative finished whiskeys over the past few years. In 2022 they released a 10 year old Tennessee bourbon finished for 23 months in Plantation Rum barrels to great results. As well known as Plantation Rum is, many have been waiting for the inevitable follow-up using Foursquare Rum barrels. Foursquare has been a critical darling over the past decade and has developed a cult following, especially among bourbon drinkers. Using no additives or sugars in their rum making, Foursquare is beloved for their back-to-basics nature and their signature taste.
I noted in my Bardstown Bourbon Company Finished in Plantation Rum Barrels review that it expertly balanced its rum and bourbon notes. Tasting it against the Foursquare finished whiskey it is decidedly sweeter, and features a more acute rum note, though it's a bit flat on the tail-end. As expected, Bardstown’s Foursquare finished whiskey features the rum distillery’s distinct taste. But it's also less in your face than I expected. On the other end of the spectrum, Fortuitous Union released batch 2 of their product line in 2023 which includes a large amount of Foursquare Rum blended with Jamaican and Dominican Republic Rum, and MGP rye. In Fortuitous Union’s case, the Foursquare influence is unmistakable and even overpowering.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaborative Series: Foursquare interestingly uses a 7 year old rye as its base whiskey component. In the early days of rum finished whiskey, bourbon was the most common base whiskey being used. But here along with Fortuitous Union, both have utilized rye. Perhaps both companies are looking for a more interesting interplay between their base spirit and their rum influence. The rye spice is apparent throughout, contrasting with the rum notes, throwing balance to the wayside, and ultimately making for a more dynamic sip. By keeping its Foursquare notes in check, this might be an example of taming the beast in order to reap the rewards. The palate manages to nicely delegate its Foursquare flavor notes throughout its sip and with good intensity. As with the Plantation Rum finished bourbon, the Foursquare finished whiskey also struggles a bit on the tail-end of its finish. It’s not as molasses-filled or rich as you’d expect, and more dry and oaky.
Bardstown’s Foursquare finished whiskey is on par with their Plantation Rum finished bourbon. Both offer similar flavor profiles, but each offers its own nuances. The Foursquare finished whiskey’s rye component is definitely noticeable as is its 17 year old Tennessee bourbon component. These components don’t necessarily make for a better whiskey, but one with more going on beyond its rum finish.