Old Bardstown Bourbon Review

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Friends, we’re back with another review. This time it’s the Old Bardstown Bourbon review. We’ve got three bottles to discuss here: Old Bardstown 90 Proof, Old Bardstown Estate Bottled, and Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond.

An interesting note on these bottles is that the Bottled in Bond and the 90 Proof both say that they are distilled and bottled by Willett Distillery. The Estate Bottled, though, claims to be bottled by the Old Bardstown Distilling Company. This is a tactic used by Willett when they are bottling bourbon that they did not make.

A Trip Down To Old Bardstown Bourbon Reviews

The Old Bardstown line is a product of Willett Distillery just outside of Bardstown, Ky.

As mentioned earlier, we can infer from Willet’s labeling tactics that the bourbon inside the Bottled in Bond and the 90 Proof is different from the bourbon in the Estate Bottled.

But enough about the labels.  Let’s get going on this Old Bardstown Bourbon review!

The 90 Proof Review

Old Bardstown Bourbon 90 Proof
Old Bardstown Bourbon 90 Proof

Let’s start with the Old Bardstown 90 Proof. The bottle design does nothing to get you excited, frankly. It’s a fairly plain rectangular bottle with a classic rectangular logo. In fact, it doesn’t even have a cork, just a simple plastic screw top.

The label itself is simple, with a crest under the name above. Nothing to write home about, and certainly not as elegant as their Family Estate bottles.

Let’s get to the whiskey inside

We know from the bottle that the whiskey is 90 proof. The mash bill is suggested to be somewhere in the range of 72 percent corn, 13 percent rye, and 15 percent malted barley. What’s interesting here is the higher-than-average percentage of malted barley in the mash bill.

The nose of this bourbon is classic. You get the familiar smells of caramel, vanilla, and just a hint of floral notes. What isn’t so classic are the hints of hazelnuts and sandalwood that creep in after a few sniffs.

The palate is, again, a very traditional bourbon palate with soft notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla. At 90 proof this is not a very bold bourbon and the volume levels of the flavors reflect that. You aren’t overpowered or challenged by anything here.

The finish is medium and easy. You get notes of corn, vanilla and even some dark fruits like cherries.

Again, this is not a bourbon to challenge you, but more of a beginner’s bourbon or a warm-up to something else.

The Bottled in Bond Review

Bottled in Bond
Old Bardstown Bourbon Bottled in Bond | Image credit: u/Prepreludesh @Reddit

If you aren’t familiar “Bottled in Bond” or if you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick refresher. The Bottled in Bond Act was passed by congress in 1897 as the country’s first consumer protection act.

This bill was passed in response to rectifiers tampering with whiskey to make it look older or have more flavor than it had. This included despicable techniques like using tobacco spit or shoe polish to color the whiskey so they could sell it for higher prices.

To qualify as “Bottled in Bond” a whiskey must be at least four years old, be bottled at 100 proof, the contents of the bottle must be distilled in a single distilling season, and come from one distiller.

So, because this is labeled Bottled in Bond we know that the whiskey in the bottle is at least four years old, and is 100 proof. The mash bill for this bourbon is the same as the 90 Proof: 72 percent corn, 13 percent rye, and 15 percent malted barley.

Let’s look at the bottle

On the label, you have an idyllic Kentucky horse scene in front of a stately manor. The label includes a nice reminder that because it is a Bottled in Bond whiskey, it has been aged under “U.S. Government supervision.” Other than those charming features, this is an outdated looking bottle. It looks like a bottle you’d look right past on a liquor store shelf.

If you do decide to buy this bottle, it may be a good choice to use this as your table whiskey or put it in the decanter on your bar cart. Don’t have a decanter? We have many handcrafted and beautiful choices for you to look at here.

So, the bottle is underwhelming. 

What about the whiskey inside?

The nose on this whiskey has a sticky-sweet bubblegum smell. It’s reminiscent of chewy candies that are pink–like bubble gum, pink starburst, and a strawberry Laffy Taffy. Despite its obvious age of at least four years, it smells young with a lot of green corn coming through. It doesn’t get better, either, as the sweet smells are overtaken by strong alcohol vapors. This is not a good whiskey to the nose.

The palate does get a little better, though, with notes of Nutter Butter bars and vanilla hard candies. That is sadly short-lived as the ethanol crashes through with unpleasant harshness. Fortunately, this whiskey is thin and doesn’t coat your mouth heavily.

The finish is strong, like a 100-proof whiskey. Unfortunately, you won’t want it to stick around very long. There are dark fruit notes that are quickly gone and you are left with a stale, bitter nuttiness. It’s unpleasant.

This whiskey is not one we would recommend buying.  You could try it for yourself at a bar first if you want to make sure.

The Estate Bottled Review

Estate Bottled
Old Bardstown Bourbon Estate Bottled

This is a more interesting bottle than the other two. This bottle features a completely different shape. Instead of being tall and rectangular, it’s squatty and round. It also features a wax-dipped top, giving at least the appearance of increased production value.

The label is similar to the other bottles and features that idyllic horse scene again. No one knows what Estate Bottled means, but we like that the whiskey is 101 proof, or 50.5 percent alcohol.

Again, this whiskey was not made by Willett, but it’s long been the rumor that Willett sources their juice from their neighbors at Heaven Hill.

The nose on this bourbon is interesting. Not present are the traditional bourbon notes.  Instead, you smell sherry and mint. There is a little sweetness once you dig a bit deeper, but it’s not obvious.

The palate is a bit strange also

This is very earthy for bourbon, without much sweetness. The whole taste is subdued, and what spice is present never really materializes.

The finish is where this whiskey finally gets settled. Amazingly, the finish is more flavorful than the palate, with much more oak present. Also, the spice finally shines through. Despite the proof, it has little burn and the finish is relatively short.

Old Bardstown Bourbon Reviews From IG Whiskey Enthusiasts

Overall, we aren’t very big fans of this whiskey.

Well, that’s what we thought of these three whiskeys.  Now let’s see another set of Old Bardstown Bourbon review from one more group – the Instagram enthusiasts!

Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond

“Had it at Proof on Main and wow, really surprised me…wish I bought more!” @bourbonrado

“It’s heavy with cinnamon and black pepper notes.”@bourbonwithasideofwhiskey

Old Bardstown 90 Proof

“A great workhorse in the bourbon world.”@upstatebourbon

“It has a ton of those traditional #Willett flavors and is almost too easy to sip! I highly recommend this for the price.”@my.bourbon.journal

Old Bardstown Estate Bottled

“Underrated and underhyped…” @barrelandbrew

“First taste brings in quite a bit more oak and char along with spice, cinnamon, and caramel.”@chicagowhiskeyguy

The Finish

Well, there you have it, folks – the Old Bardstown Bourbon review. These are bourbons that get people talking. Next time you’re at the store or your local watering hole, try some Old Bardstown and let us know what you think. 

Have you already had one or more of these Old Bardstown offerings? If so, we want to know what you think. Do you agree with our reviews, or not? Sound off in the comments below. 


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