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Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

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“We are a new blend of bourbon makers pushing the boundaries through innovation, while honoring the traditional art of making whiskey. Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #1 is a celebration of our distillery, beverage and culinary teams working together to create spectacular bourbon.”
– David Mandell Bardstown, Bourbon Company President and CEO
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Discovery Series #1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


  • DISTILLER: Bardstown Bourbon Company 
  • MASH BILL: Blend of the following whiskeys:
    •  5% Kentucky Bourbon 13 years (78% Corn  |  12% Rye  |  10% Barley)
    • 75% Kentucky Bourbon 11 years 7 months (74% Corn  |  18% Rye  |  8% Barley)
    • 10% Kentucky Bourbon 10 years   (75% Corn  |  13% Rye  |  12% Barley)
    • 10% Kentucky Bourbon 5 years (75% Corn  |  13% Rye  |  12% Barley)
  • AGE: No Age Statement
  • YEAR: 2019
  • PROOF: 121.21 Proof (60.605% ABV)
  • MSRP: $129.99
  • BUY ONLINE: Not available online at the time of posting. Highly allocated quantities available in: Kentucky, Indiana. Coming soon to: Illinois, Tennessee, Northern California, Florida

NOSE: Raspberries | Booze | Candied Orange Peel

TASTE: Bing Cherries | Mulling Spices

FINISH: The finish doesn’t seem present until you feel it right in your chest. I didn’t get a lot of flavor on the finish because I immediately felt it burn in my mid-esophagus. This gave me immediate heart burn.

SHARE WITH: Folks who are eager to try anything new.

WORTH THE PRICE: This hits just under 122 proof – just a point shy of this year’s Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – and for half the price, you get a much better experience with the ECBP.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This one is a total bust for me. This has the uncomfortable burn of a bottom shelf shot, and doesn’t offer the flavor it should for a $130 bottle. It’s far too raw for my taste, and I adore barrel proof bourbons.

OVERALL:  The older bourbon succumbs to the unbridled alcohol of the younger whiskies in the blend. Upon first sniff, this completely singed my nose hairs, which is a highly unpleasant feeling and one that doesn’t make you eager to subject your delicate tastebuds to. This causticity renders the whole experience – from first sniff to final swallow – wholly unpleasant. I felt like I was drinking something rawer, less aged, and much cheaper.

I feel like Bardstown Bourbon Company has not yet mastered blending older sourced product with younger sourced whiskey.*  This can be a great combination – blending the young and old to make something new and wonderful – but BBC needs a bit more experience in this arena. With their exceptional handle on branding, they need to shift their sights to the product and perfecting the blending process to create more balanced products.

Learn more about Erin’s whiskey preferences and check out more of her reviews…

*Editors Note: Previously the author made a comment that inaccurately indicated Bardstown Bourbon Company was blending older sourced whiskey with their own young whiskey to create this product. We apologize for the mistake and have updated it to properly reflect the whiskeys used in the product.

NOSE: Cherry Wood | Vanilla | Red Fruit | Pepper | Alcohol

TASTE: Oak | Vanilla | Pepper | Dark Fruit

FINISH: Starts with a very thin mouth feel on the front of the tongue and then hits with a burst of pepper. The spiciness lingers and there is a fair but not uncomfortable burn in the chest. Drinks a little hot but it is 121 proof.

SHARE WITH: I would share this with anyone who likes high proof bourbon.

WORTH THE PRICE: No there are more established high proof bourbons on the market at half the price.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I suggest you try this at a bar or the tasting room prior to spending the money on the bottle. The bottle will be on the market in June in Kentucky, Florida and Northern California.

OVERALL:  The Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #1 is the third release this year from this distillery. It is a blend of sourced bourbons from Kentucky, the oldest being 13 years old and the youngest 5 years old. The highest percentage of the blend comes from an 11 year 7-month-old bourbon. Bottled at 121 proof. The bourbon has a nice nose of cherry wood and runs somewhat hot on the palate. I tasted this several times and found no variations when drinking neat. I added an ice cube to my last pour, and it brought more cherry and some chocolate on the palate. It did not lessen the spiciness very much. At this price, I would not purchase a bottle of this particular bourbon. There are far better options on the market at half the price.

When I first read about the Bardstown Bourbon Company, I had high hopes for their first three bourbon releases. They bill themselves as the first Napa Valley style destination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. A sleek concept, new distillery, collaborative distilling program, and on-site full-service restaurant; Bardstown Bourbon calls themselves “the new blend of bourbon makers.” According to their website, not only are they producing their own bourbon but they also source for a number of others including Jefferson’s, High West, Belle Meade, Hirsch, Calumet, James E. Pepper, Cyrus Noble, and many others. They have a large distillery and claim to produce nearly 40 different mash bills. I find the whole concept of what Bardstown Bourbon Company is doing to be very interesting and will put their location on my list of places to visit in Kentucky.

Unfortunately, I was not overwhelmed with their first three bourbon releases. The one I liked the best was the Phifer Pavitt Reserve, which is the finished bourbon. All of the bourbons are very spicy to me. They have high suggested retail prices. I know taste and price point vary from person to person. These are a little too high for what is in the bottle. I look forward to following the Bardstown Bourbon Company to see what they produce in the future. If you have the chance to taste their product, I urge you to do so.

Learn more about Lee’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Bardstown Bourbon Company unveils limited release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Discovery Series #1

Dynamic distillery launches new bourbon in celebration of National Bourbon Day

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (June 12, 2019) - - - The Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo), 1500 Parkway Drive, is announcing the release of Discovery Series #1, a unique blend of four Kentucky straight bourbons aged between five and 13 years. Discovery Series #1 is the result of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s expert distilling, beverage and culinary teams working together to create an exceptional, yet complex pour.

“Discovery Series #1 is a very limited release that continues to showcase our blending expertise,” says Bardstown Bourbon Company President and CEO, David Mandell. “The internal process we used to create the blend is as unique as the product itself.”

Bardstown Bourbon Company’s expert team blind tasted more than 30 blends of some of the finest Kentucky bourbons to arrive at a final expression with a complex nose, rich palate and balanced, lasting finish. Discovery Series #1 is an artful combination of deep tobacco and leather notes from the 11 and 13-year-old bourbons, baking spices from the 10-year-old bourbon, and bright fruit from the 5-year-old bourbon.

Bardstown Bourbon Company’s expert team is led by Master Distiller Steve Nally, a 40-year veteran of the spirits industry, Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member and former Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark; John Hargrove, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations and former Master Distiller at Sazerac and Barton 1792; Dan Callaway, Director of bourbon education, visitors experience and product development, and Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers; and Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar executive chef Felix Mosso, formerly chef de cuisine at the renowned Greenbrier Resort.

“With Discovery Series #1, we’ve produced a blend that can rival any product on the market,” says Master Distiller Steve Nally. “The final result is truly greater than the sum of its parts. We’ve taken four great Kentucky bourbons and crafted them into one spectacular bottle.”

“We’ve taken the art of blending to the next level by employing a diverse group of experts to develop our products,” says Vice President of Manufacturing Operations, John Hargrove. “It’s a new approach from one of the most innovative whiskey distilleries in the country.”

Bardstown Bourbon Company currently produces nearly 40 different mash bills for some of the finest whiskey and bourbon brands in the world in one of the most technically sophisticated distilleries in the country. In addition to distilling, this dynamic company quickly developed one of the best beverage and culinary teams in Kentucky with the opening of its in-house restaurant, Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar.

Discovery Series #1 is bottled at 121.21 proof with a suggested retail price of $129.99/750ml bottle. It is available in highly allocated quantities in Kentucky and Indiana through Republic National Distributing Company, in California and Florida through Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits, and in Nashville and Central Tennessee through Ajax Turner Distributing Company.


Disclaimer: The Bardstown Bourbon Company provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.


About the Author
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Erin Petrey

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Born and raised in the Bluegrass, Erin Petrey has always held an affinity for her home state’s signature spirit: Bourbon. Throughout her world travels (34 countries and counting!), Erin delights in spreading the gospel of Bourbon across the globe, from Spain to Korea and even here at home in the Nation’s Capital, where she also serves on the board of the Kentucky Society of Washington. Frequently, she can be seen giving advice to unsuspecting customers in Bourbon aisles, usually recommending one of her favorite varieties, such as Russell’s Reserve and Elmer T. Lee. Always up for an adventure, Erin also enjoys kayaking, Science Fiction, Craft Beer, and traveling everywhere possible. Read Erin's full profile.

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