By Richard Thomas
Although Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo) has grown into one of the ten largest whiskey distillers in America (in terms of production output, and in my estimation) by being the contract distiller for dozens of sourced brands. However, they have also ventured into the creation of their own in-house brands. The Fusion series uses aged sourced whiskey, blended with their youngish in-house production; other collaborative releases finish whiskey in particularly fine barrel stock. Discovery is the most straight-forward, consisting of blends of sourced bourbons older than anything BBCo has produced to date. The inaugural release was rather good.
One of the fun parts of blends like this one, that reveal the mash bills of the constituents, is to play the guessing game of where they came from. The largest part, at 55%, is billed as a 13 year old, middle aged high rye, although at 74% corn, 18% rye and 8% malted barley, I would not call it that. At 37% is the oldest part, 15 years old and 78.5% corn, 13% rye and 8.5% malted barley. The last and smallest part at just 8% of the total is 10 years old and 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
Some might say the average of all that is a middle aged, pretty traditional bourbon… but blends are never a matter of averages and such thinking leaves out yeast, equipment, barrel stock and warehousing from the equation.
In the glass, Discovery #4 has a middle amber look, and very middling indeed. “Amber” and simply that would, in fact, be a good descriptor. The nose lead with fire-roasted sweet corn, laid on a current of caramel and accented with cake spices. After a sip, I found the bourbon had a light texture. The flavor was like graham crackers baked with vanilla, and dusted lightly with cinnamon. The finish was sweet, but also on the light side, leaving behind a sensation like the aftermath of nibbling on cookie dough seasoned with vanilla.
The recommended price for this item is $130, but I’ve seen it listed on line for as much as $190.