“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together, each the happier for the other.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Sporting a spruced-up new label, Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Discovery Series is now in its tenth iteration. By now, surely, you know the aim… but if not: allow me to help. With each expression in the Discovery Series lineup, Bardstown Bourbon Company sources whiskey from disparate distilleries and seeks to synthesize them to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. That is to say: it’s their premier blended whiskey offering.
It’s no small feat, yet time and time again the Discovery Series – along with their uneven but well-regarded Collaborative Series – stands as perhaps the best option out of the Bardstown distillery. While that will likely change in time – with the emergence of their Origin Series representing the prospective heir to the throne – for now, let it be said that the Discovery Series is king. For the Series’ tenth entry, the crown is comprised of five jewels, which the company conveniently breaks down on the side of every bottle.
62% of the blend is a nine-year-old Kentucky bourbon which is 78% corn, 13% rye, and 9% malted barley. 18% is a 13-year Kentucky bourbon 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. 8% is a six-year Kentucky bourbon which is 53% corn, 26% rye, and 21% malted barley. 10% is 10-year Georgia bourbon – which I was told is sourced from a shuttered distillery that produced one barrel a day – 80% corn, 10% rye, 5% malted barley. Finally, 2% is a 10-year Tennessee bourbon with 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley.
Though we’ve yet to cover the Discovery Series here at Malt, I have had the pleasure of trying several of them in the past. Assembling those various distillates into a blend that not only coalesces, but also raises the bar set by Bardstown Bourbon Company’s previous delightful Discovery Series offerings, is a tall task. Thus, I’m anxious to see the end result. Let’s dispense with the rest of the specs.
Landing at 114.24 proof (57.12% ABV) and offered at an SRP of $139.99 this is a premium bourbon from a brand which produces whiskey for a number of other so-called premium brands. For the uninitiated, Bardstown Bourbon Company has become a major contract distiller and provides whiskey for brands like Blue Run, Calumet, Hirsch, Jefferson’s and many others. That, then, makes their Discovery Series a unique inversion of one of their core business strategies.
More than a mere oddity, Bardstown says “blending sourced whiskies…remains core to the brand’s identity. We know there is a lot of delicious bourbon to be discovered out there, and we love to explore the art of blending to create singular expressions that can’t be replicated.” It will be interesting to see how the future of the Discovery Series evolves. With the rumor that they’ll be sunsetting the Fusion Series, plus the introduction of the Origin Series, and the general difficulty in sourcing bourbon in today’s market, one wonders if there will ever be a time when the experiment becomes more trouble than it’s worth. That said, and without further ado, let’s appreciate the here and now by diving into Discovery Series #10.
Editor’s note: this was a sample provided free of charge by Bardstown Bourbon Company, which will not impact our notes or scores, but it being disclosed here in the spirit of full transparency.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #10 – Review
Color: Deep amber.
On the nose: The nose presents clove, and the enchanting aroma of a cinnamon roll punctuated with mint sprigs. Nutmeg and muted brown sugar soon emerge out of the glass as well before being met by plum skin and fresh pecans. There’s also a slight hint of char expressed with orange oil and, later, notes of dark chocolate join the fray as well. I’m certainly anticipating the first sip based on this pleasant nosing experience.
In the mouth: I’m first struck by the oily texture plus the incredible flavors of red berries, juicy oranges, and the aforementioned plum, which bursts across the palate. Clove and black pepper arrive on the heels of that fruit explosion along with mint leaf and vanilla. The midpalate also plays home to a healthy dose of almond and barrel char notes. On the finish one finds more baking spices and vanilla to go with some chocolate and cherry juice as it dries the palate.
While the nose on Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Series 10 took a while to come together for me, on the palate the party begins on first sip. The medley of fruit flavors shine at first and while there are notes of baking spice that soon join as well, it’s the fruit-forward nature of each sip that keeps me coming back for more.
When I do go back for more, I find myself increasingly impressed with the interplay of flavors and the vacillation between a viscous texture and the drying midpalate experience which admittedly is more intriguing than enjoyable, but in holding my interest it adds depth to the tasting experience overall. Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Series 10 is yet another success in what has thus far been Bardstown Bourbon Company’s most successful product lineup. If this is your first foray into the series, you’ll no doubt find yourself going back for more as well.
Image (and sample) courtesy of Bardstown Bourbon Company.