There is a key to your bourbon-loving heart and the owner of it is Blade & Bow.
This bourbon, produced in the solera method, has a rich history with Stitzel-Weller. The solera method of production is when the distiller uses older bourbons from previous batches and is mingled with younger whiskeys. True to bourbon laws, the blended whiskey ages in charred, new American oak barrels. Blade & Bow does not have an age statement on it but by law it has to age for a minimum of two years. But, if you think about it, if it’s blended with older bourbons, is it really only two years old? Something to ponder while sipping on this offering from Kentucky.
Here’s a little history for you. There are five keys on the label of Blade & Bow, which represent the five steps of making bourbon: grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation, and aging – all pretty important steps in the process. But how does all of this translate from the bottle to your taste buds?
True to The Bourbon Girl’s fashion, I chose one of my favorite bartenders, Jack Simpson at Hearth & Dram, to help me out with my tasting table. Hearth & Dram is a new whiskey-focused restaurant/bar in the Indigo Hotel. With over 300 whiskeys, 90 of them being bourbon, it’s a great place to drink bourbon. Oh, and they serve fried bologna sandwiches that are deceivingly delicious.
Although Jack looks like he’s still in high school, don’t be fooled by those baby looks. Jack is a solid bartender and loves creating cocktails. Jack has honed his skill at a few restaurants around town but most notably at The Kitchen for three years. On this cold, rainy day, though, we stuck to the basics.
First thing to note is when the bourbon is poured into a clear, rocks glass, it is poured neat. When you smell bourbon (or any spirit for that matter), slightly part your lips. This is different than when you smell wine where you can keep your lips closed. Why, you may ask? Because spirits have a much higher proof than wine and can “burn” your nose, making it difficult to smell the nuances of the whiskey.
The taste of Blade & Bow is quite approachable. I wouldn’t say it’s a beginner’s bourbon, but at 91 proof it definitely has a backbone to it. Here’s how it tasted:
|Neat||Nose: Apple pie with caramel on top.
Taste: Medium heat, smooth drinking with a little burn on the lips. Silky texture with a little pepper on the finish.
|Drop of Water||Nose: Definitely opens up the bourbon, more caramel, vanilla comes through
Taste: Hotter, more peppery
|Ice Cube||Nose: Subtle notes of caramel and apple
Taste: Very easy drinking, slight tastes of apple and caramel
|Manhattan*||Light on bourbon flavor profile, almost loses “itself”|
*Made with Carpano Antica vermouth
You can’t go wrong with this bourbon, particularly if you enjoy your bourbons neat or with a drop of water. I prefer mine with a drop of water. The water opens up the flavors of apple, caramel, and a little coconut sneaks in there and it keeps the heat we know and love in bourbon.