Tastes Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, DIAGEO's newest brand

Published on July 21st, 2015 | by Greg


Blade And Bow: A New Bourbon With History

New spirit brands launch regularly, but whiskey is a little bit different. While wines may take a year or so, and some spirits like gin even less time to come to maturation, whiskey needs to age for quite a while to be drinkable, much less exceptional. Take the original stuff that forms your favorite brand and you won’t likely be able to tell what it will become- the combination of barrels and lengthy aging is what makes the stuff so expensive and so prized. Craft bourbon is one of America’s greatest contributions to the craft spirits category, one that is fast-growing, which has led major distilleries to take notice.

Spirits company Diageo makes some very well-known brands like Bulleit and Johnnie Walker, and inevitably had to launch something in this premium bracket. What you might not expect is that they’d go to great lengths to distill, create, produce- and market- a surprising bourbon with an interesting history, the new Blade and Bow Kentucky Bourbon. It begins with the legendary Louisville Stitzel-Weller distillery which was founded in 1935 and open until 1992, and a host of barrels that they inherited when they took over and renovated the property, a process that is ongoing (and will end up with what sounds like it could be Disneyland for bourbon lovers, a whiskey experience melding history, tasting and production).

These barrels are fed into an unusual solera system, a five-tiered aging and blending mixer that ensures a little bit of their original product (including some of the last bourbon produced there before it closed) makes it into every new bottle of Blade and Bow (91 proof). On the flipside, it also means that unlike most competitors, there isn’t any clear “age” to their basic bottle- some of it will be older or newer, and so it’s not distinctly a ’10-year’ or a ’12-year’. That’s not the case, though, for their higher-end version- they’ve split the name into two basic whiskey releases, one of them the limited-edition 22-Year Old (92 proof), winner of a Double Gold Medal at the SF Spirits Competition.

And there is definitely a difference- the limited edition was darker, with a better body and a much richer flavor, notes of wood and a little smoke versus a slightly candy, fruitier taste on the younger edition. We liked the nose on both- zestier with age but inviting on either- and both were balanced and smooth. For sipping, the 22-Year-Old can compare nicely against anything else on your top shelf, and the regular Blade and Bow still makes a great gift and mixes well. The packaging is certainly luxurious with a nifty twist- each bottle has a key attached, with five different ones out there for you to collect (and potentially redeem as a set for something special we hear). The name of the brand itself actually refers to the two parts of a key, a fact you can bring up at the bar next time you offer someone special a drink. Bottles run $50 or $150, which seems just a bit too expensive, available now and well worth trying.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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