Classification: Bottled in Bond Bourbon
Company: Bardstown Bourbon Company
Distillery: Bardstown Bourbon Company
Release Date: January 2023
Age: 6 Years
Mashbill: 68% Corn, 20% Wheat, 12% Malted Barley
Color: Light Copper
MSRP: $50 (2023)
The Bardstown Origin Series marks the company’s first release of 100% in-house distilled whiskey. For this inaugural release, the company created one rye and two bourbons. Each bourbon has a unique mashbill, with each carrying a 6-year age statement. The brand brought one to market as a bottled in bond bourbon, while the other was proofed down to 96 proof.
“The Origin Series is the first opportunity to taste an expression that is 100 percent our whiskey,” said Dan Callaway, VP of Product Development for Bardstown Bourbon Co. in the company’s press release. “We’ve put years of patience into this bottle, waiting six years until we felt it was truly ready to share with the world. The full technical capabilities of our distillery are on display with these three bespoke products.”
The sip opens with soft and gentle baking scents. Light fresh bread combines with gentle wheat and hints of soft cream to kick things off. Inhaling deeper pulls out swirls of light honey and coffee cake. While they mingle well together, the bourbon’s scents are definitely on the lighter side with a large amount of concentration necessary to pull them out. I do wish for a little more presence from the components of the nose, however, it’s an acceptable way to kick things off.
The palate brings about some of those same baking elements found in the nose, but also adds in complimentary flavors to give it more depth. Instantly noticeable are flavors of fresh peach bread, muted cinnamon powder, and light sweet syrup. Touches of vanilla cream and pops of white peppercorn spice along with a subtle light charred oak add further intrigue. The gentleness of the wheated mashbill creates a softer and creamier palate that is simpler yet also still very tasty at the same time.
Much like the rest of the sip, the finish isn’t overly complex, instead being more functional in nature. Fresh wheat bread, lightly charred oak, and a subtle green peppercorn spice pop instantly kicking off the finish. A flash of sweet cream is present and adds balance. As flavors fade, dry bread and subtle simmering spice notes present themselves and grip your taste buds, refusing to let go. They linger for a surprisingly long time, and while not overly potent, provide a nice way to cap off the sip.
The switch from using sourced whiskey to using a 100% in-house product is a monumental achievement for a distillery, but also can be a tricky path to navigate. Often when brands source, they stick with one or two mashbills. When they try to either blend in their own product or make the switch to 100% in-house distilled whiskey, consumers are greeted with a whiskey that doesn’t taste the same as what they’ve come to expect from the brand. Bardstown Bourbon Company was smart in that sense, as no two past releases followed the same mashbill, instead, each one stood alone as a unique offering. That means no consumer expectations have existed for what a Bardstown Bourbon Company whiskey should definitively taste like.
The fact that Bardstown Bourbon Company chose to release two distinct bourbons in their inaugural Origin Series release is intriguing. Their 96 proof bourbon has a high rye mashbill (60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley) while their bottled in bond bourbon offers a traditional wheated bourbon mashbill. Other well-known brands release ongoing wheated bottled in bond bourbons, such as Bluegrass Distillers and Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald, however, wheated bottled in bond bourbons are still the exception to the norm.
Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond Bourbon delivers a distinctive sip compared to its rye-focused brethren in the Origin Series. It does a nice job of leaning into its wheat component and pulls out sweeter and creamier notes along the way. Its overall sip doesn’t particularly wow in any one area, instead delivering an incredibly easy-to-drink whiskey that’s hard to dislike. That’s okay though, because in the end, Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond does just enough to stand out from the pack.
Bardstown Bourbon Company has never been known to be a value brand. The company has done a good job of creating a more luxury feel both in perception and price of their products. This is the result of the bottle choice they use to package their whiskey, with a simple yet elegant later and gold embossed cork top, to the actual in-person experience they offer when you visit onsite. When it comes to price, they certainly haven’t held back with their Fusion Series being the lowest cost of their offerings starting at $65, which mixes a blend of sourced and in-house distilled whiskey, to their entirely sourced Discovery Series, often costing around $140 dollars. Their finished bourbons cost even more, coming in north of $150. All this to say, buying their whiskeys has never been a low cost endeavor.
A lot of the brand's higher prices can be attributed to the fact that sourced whiskey has been involved in part or all of their whiskey products. Bardstown Bourbon Company could have easily tried to carry over their higher prices when they switched to 100% in-house distilled whiskey. The fact that the company did not go this route is incredibly refreshing in a modern whiskey world where it seems prices never stop going up and up.
While $50 isn’t exactly what many would consider inexpensive, it is a very reasonable price to pay for Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond Bourbon. The company still bottles it in the same bottles as their prior whiskeys, giving it that luxurious feel. Additionally, it’s an age-stated product that’s also bottled in bond. Most importantly though, it tastes good, and most consumers will be pleased with paying the asking price, especially since wheated bottled in bond bourbons are harder to come by. More brands should take a page out of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s playbook when it comes to making the switch from sourced whiskey to in-house distilled whiskey.
A well-balanced bottled in bond wheated bourbon at a reasonable price, Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond makes the transition from sourced whiskey to 100% in-house whiskey look easy.
I can’t emphasize enough how much credit Bardstown Bourbon Company should be given for making the switch over to 100% in-house distilled product look as seamless as they have. I always wondered why all of their past offerings contained a various mishmash of mashbills, however, it now makes sense to me. Never forming a definitive view of how a Bardstown Bourbon Company bourbon should taste, results in being able to appreciate Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond for what it is on its own.
Bardstown Origin Series Bottled in Bond aims to please a wide variety of people. Those who have always wanted to try the brand but never wanted to pay the higher asking price will be pleased to see its more reasonable MSRP of $50. Fans of the brand who have enjoyed their past products can appreciate the fact that this bottled in bond bottle provides for an easy sipping bourbon that lives up to the expectations set by bottles that laid the groundwork for the company to get to this point. And finally, wheated bourbon lovers now have a new bottled in bond product for them to seek out and enjoy. It may be lacking in some areas, yet it’s easy to drink, and I have a feeling consumers will work their way through their bottles faster than they anticipate.