Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons
Company: Pursuit Spirits, LLC
Distillery: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Finger Lakes Distilling, and an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee not in Tullahoma (i.e. not George Dickel)
Release Date: January 2021
Color: Dark Copper
Honeycomb | Melted caramel | Sweet corn | Apricot | Nut | Touch of cinnamon
Orange marmalade | Peach | Kettle corn | Toffee | Mild oak | Light herbal
Sweet dark fruits | Chocolate malt balls | Light oak | Lingering orange marmalade aftertaste
Pursuit Spirits has released 39 single barrel releases up to this point, and Pursuit United marks their first foray into blended bourbon. Perhaps they learned a lot during their previous releases, as United is an excellent first showing. Pardon the pun as Pursuit Spirits founders Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil are also the co-creators of Bourbon Pursuit Podcast. Any doubt that two guys that talk about bourbon wouldn’t know the first thing about blending is proven dead wrong with this first United release.
As many will attest to, blending bourbon is more art versus a science. And those who create art rarely say it's easy. What jumps out immediately is how its flavor profile clicks and is able to find a very drinkable middle ground between not too sweet and not too robust. As the brand’s tagline states, “An adventure in bold flavors,” a better tagline for this particular release might be, “We dare you to hate this.” Perhaps a bit too bold for marketing purposes, but that taunt is founded on the whiskey’s incredible savory flavor profile that is unique yet immediately likeable.
A bit offbeat but still familiar, United’s flavor profile is less bold than it is devilishly lighthearted. Drinkable and distinctly bright, its blend of three unlikely sources (Bardstown Bourbon Company, Finger Lakes Distilling, and a distillery in Tennessee that is undisclosed but officially not George Dickel), have proved to be daring and advantageous. The three distilleries’ whiskeys come together to form a whiskey Voltron and might even prove to be better than the sum of its parts. When I wrote about Fistful of Bourbon, I assumed it was a blending of five different distilleries that came together to create something new and exciting. I was wrong. In Pursuit United’s case, that’s exactly what it is. The three featured distilleries’ best attributes are presumably on display, and work off one another in the best possible way. Chalk it up to beginners luck if necessary, but I don’t doubt that this first batch of Pursuit United will remain a whiskey highlight of 2021.