We recently had the privilege of opening a bottle of Blade and Bow Bourbon to share with a few close friends and decided to do a review of our experience. For those not familiar, Blade And Bow is a fairly newer bourbon brand with a big name behind it, namely one of the world's largest spirits conglomerates, Diageo. Like any good business, it's no surprise that Diageo is hopping on the current market trends and making it's way further into the bourbon world with Blade and Bow after it's proven success with Bulleit Bourbon.
With being a newer brand in the bourbon industry, Blade and Bow has shrewdly leveraged it's connection to the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively, Kentucky. When this was the previous home of historical brands such as Rip van Winkle, Cabin Still, Rebel Yell, W.L. Weller, and Old Fitzgerald, why not market it's heritage?
The unique marketing point of this bourbon is found in the fact that it contains some liquid from the pre-1992 shut down of Stitzel-Weller. Even though Blade and Bow is a non aged stated bourbon, Diageo uses a solera system which incorporates a blending process that allows each bottle to contain some of the older barrels of whiskey. You can learn more about the Solera System on their website here. Essentially, the youngest barrel of bourbon is on the top and each of the five levels of barrels get older with each level, with the oldest barrels on the bottom, which are where the bourbon is finally bottled. No barrels are ever drained completely, allowing this method to ensure that each bottle of whiskey contains a portion of the oldest barrels.
With some of the background and history out of the way, let's talk about the whiskey itself. For one, the aesthetic and display of the bottle is one of my favorites in the game. Presentation is powerful, and there's no question they've done an excellent job of creating mystery and intriguement. Each bottle is ornately decorated with a key that hangs from the neck of the bottle. There are five different keys that can be collected and represent the five steps of making bourbon: grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation, and aging – all "key" steps in the bourbon making process. I'm a fan of brands that are mindful of the shape and artwork of the bottle to help create an entire experience that incorporates all the senses. However, at the end of the day, the taste of the bourbon is king.
Let's walk through some of the tasting notes. To start, the color is a burnt orange with a shade of amber. The nose has a very noticeable sweetness to it, with hints of floral and jasmine. The palate was full of caramel, butterscotch, and a slight fruitiness. The finish consisted of a oak and tannin, with a slight astringency.
So how did this bourbon fair as far as value for us? Well, for a bourbon in the $50 retail range, I would say it's fair to slightly over priced compared to other bourbons available at a similar or cheaper price point. That's not to say this is not a good bourbon. In my opinion, it is. I would absolutely recommend it to someone who has not tried it. However, if they ask me what's the best bourbon to spend $50 on, this would not be my first choice. (Here's one that would be.) In all fairness, it was an exciting bottle to open and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that came with this bourbon.