Not that I am rebelling for the sake of rebelling, but I have never fully participated in the Niagra of reverent praise bourbon enthusiasts offer up to the famed Stitzel-Weller Distillery and the whiskies produced there. The unicorn distillery closed in 1992, and as such the remaining stock was either kept in barrel form (so Diageo could “find” them years later in the various janitor closets of the recently re-opened site) but also stainless steel holding tanks. Over the years this produce of the gods was released through new brands, most famously the Pappy Van Winkle releases, though over time the percentage of original SW stuff dwindled. And boy oh boy you would think SW bottled Unicorn Sweat after seeing how people fawn over this stuff. I have on two occasions been able to sample whiskey made from the old establishment and it was quite forgettable. I quietly ponder if the various online voices who claim this stuff is worth diamonds actually can explain how and why this particular distillery produces anything pound for pound better than a distillery like Buffalo Trace. You may not get a clear answer. But such as it is, Diageo, who released the Blade and Bow Bourbon whiskey in honor of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which they now own, can charge a pretty penny while they squeeze out every single remaining drop to us dunderheads in their nostalgic marketing campaigns.
Our selection today is the non-age stated Blade and Bow, the other being a 22 year old bottling. A small, unknown portion of today’s bourbon contains whiskey distilled from SW using the unique Solera Vatting method, not normally utilized in the bourbon world, but makes perfect sense considering the need to keep SW stuff in the mix. Other straight bourbons are blended in to fill in the remaining batch needs and is bottled at 45.5%. Should run you about $50. On to it…
Nose- Nothing mind blowing. Not a whole lot of veering from the typical bourbon nose of vanilla and oak. Black pepper and cereal grain. Light bubble gum. Sweet dark fruit and red apple. Cocoa. Grandpa’s bourbon.
Taste- Smooth, peppery with sweet apple and pear. Coconut. Vanilla/butterscotch and leather. Almonds.
Finish- Medium with spice cabinet cinnamon. Toasted oaky punch with nice Werther’s sweetness.
Comment- I’m not falling over myself to get another, but certainly not a bad pour. Bourbon orthodoxy and overall a decent bourbon. Take that for what it’s worth.
SWC Rating- 82/100
Agree? Disagree? Let me know below what you think and I will be happy to consider reply. Someday.