Old Bardstown Bourbon Review

Old Bardstown Review

Old Bardstown Bourbon comes to us from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, better known as Willett, who only recently started distilling whiskey again and for years has operated as an NDP, buying other people’s bourbon and putting a label on it. For many years KBD / Willett has been getting a lot of their bourbon from Heaven Hill and based on the taste in this one that’s my prime suspect for who actually made what’s in the bottle.

As a brand though it’s been around for quite a while and it gets it’s name from a handicapped race horse from the 1950s. The horse had a lot of hip and ankle problems but the owners raced it anyway and it actually won quite a bit. According to the Willett site old Bardstown had “31 career starts, Bardstown had 18 first place finishes, 7 second and 1 third place finish. The bay gelding had total earnings of $628,752.” Which, to put it in to technical terms, is a crap load of 1950s dough!

Old Bardstown Bourbon Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Unknown
Bottler: KBD / Willett
Cask: New American Oak (charred)
Age: NAS
ABV: 45%

Natural Color | Non-Chill Filtered

Price: $16

Old Bardstown Bourbon Review

EYE
Mahogany

NOSE
Wood, dark fruit, corn and raw grain mixed with caramel, vanilla and spice. Some hints of candied citrus peels and dried currants waft through the background. It’s not an amazingly complex aroma, but it is a nice aroma.

PALATE
Corn, ripe dark fruit, caramel, vanilla and a very apparent rye spice. The wood is lighter than on the nose and the citrus has turned oily. Very basic bourbon flavor, but well composed.

FINISH
Long and woody with notes of corn, caramel and apple pie.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance with the limited aroma and flavor it has. Nice round body with a rich smooth texture.

OVERALL
Old Bardstown Bourbon is one of those whiskeys I’ve passed over repeatedly and it wasn’t until a friend insisted I try some of his I realized what a bad decision I had made by constantly passing it by. It’s not complex, quite basic, but it’s done very well. The aroma of classic bourbon characteristics transitions well to the palate and finish. Which would be a major issue if it was weak and watery, but it’s not. It’s warm and a has a nice richness to it. This is a great value bourbon.

SCORE: 86/100

Old Bardstown Bourbon Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 87
  • Palate - 85
  • Finish - 86
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 85

Value

Looking at what you get for what you pay, the Old Bardstown Bourbon is a steal. Fantastic value whiskey!

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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7 Responses to Old Bardstown Bourbon Review

  1. this crap is absolute puke! It’s the first bourbon I have ever tasted that mad me get the dry heaves. The best way I can describe it’s flavor is cheap 100 proof vodka with a old piece of leather that has been soaking in it. A dash of some sort of artificial flavoring. But the finish of extreme bitterness and unrecognizable childhood medicine is what made me gag.

  2. I wanted to try a new [to me] whiskey but still need to keep the cost around $30, so I tried, I guess the step up, Old Bardstown Estate Bottled, 101 proof. I’m going to assume it’s a bit different but I’ll agree, this IS worth a try.
    The nose is quite alcohol-ey, subtle dill, cinnamon, and sugar. It doesn’t thrill me. Then the first hit on my tongue is less than yummy. Where this bourbon scores for me is the finish. This Estate Bottled Old Bardstown is a great example of a bourbon that has a unbalanced taste but a nice, long, redemptive finish. Grassy, spicy with a bit of smoke and sweetness.
    This is a strange whiskey. The nose hints at what I might taste and then I have to wait til the finish to find those notes. For a bourbon in the $30 range, this is worth a try.
    …then again, I do love whiskey

  3. I bought four bottles of this on sale in Kentucky. They shared the same DNA but were wildly, wildly, different.
    1# was the scotchiest bourbon imaginable: think Speyside apples covered in caramel with a menthol finish. Favorite bourbon ever.
    2# Was so old and soft as to almost vanish on the palate, more caramel, and traditional bourbon notes.
    3# was like 1 but harsher and with amped up menthol. Very good.
    4# was traditional bourbon flavor, Beam-like, with a finishing note half-way between varnish and embalming fluid.
    This one is a lottery; some are great, some are undrinkable, others are simply ok.

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