Bardstown Bourbon Co. launches first products

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10-year bourbons finished in brandy, Mistelle barrels offer unique taste profiles

By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

Bardstown Bourbon Company has already made a name for itself with its collaborative distilling program, and on Friday collaboration was the theme when it unveiled its first project.


In fact, it is named Collabor&tion and was developed with Copper & Kings American Brandy Company.

Leaders of the two companies introduced the two products, both made with 10-year-old bourbon, with one finished in Copper & Kings’ American Brandy barrels and the other in Muscat Mistelle barrels, for more than 18 months in the Copper & Kings’ basement maturation cellar.

“It is a brand that really embraces the spirit of working together,” said Dave Mandell, president and CEO of BBCo. “It’s the embodiment of what we stand for here at the Bardstown Bourbon Company.”

The two products are a limited release and the company said in a statement they are only available in select Kentucky retail stores, at BBCo and C&K gift shops, and in a small selection of fine retailers across the U.S.

The idea was born at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival two years earlier, during the Bourbon, Cigars and Jazz event at My Old Kentucky Home, said Joe Heron, president and CEO of Copper & Kings American Brandy.

“We were just really, really enjoying each other’s company and chatting this tremendous personal affinity, and we started talking about doing stuff together, because that’s really what this is all about,” Heron said. “It’s about doing stuff together, and doing it with friends, and having a good time while we do it. I would say this has been a particularly enjoyable process.”

Heron said there is a “tremendous affinity between brandy and bourbon.”

Brandon O’Daniel, head distiller for C&K, said both iterations were made with the same bourbon.

“It really becomes the last 18 months where you see a dividing line,” he said.

The first tasting was of the brandy-finished.

“It’s really soft, you still get a lot of those bourbon notes, but the finish is very, very brandy full,” O’Daniel said.

The second was finished in the Mistelle, or fortified grape juice, barrel. O’Daniel said they went to California to get the Muscat grapes, pressed them like a wine, got the fermentation started, then took un-aged Muscat brandy and fortified it up to 32-proof, then aged them for two years.

The bourbon was distilled in 2006 by the company now called MGP, and is made of 75 percent corn, 21 rye and 4 malted barley. The brandy-finished is 113 proof and the Mistelle is 94. They are bottled at cask strength.

Steve Nalley, master distiller of BBCo and the former master distiller of Maker’s Mark, selected the barrels himself.

“I went in, tried to pick the ones with the most flavor, most spiciness, fruity aroma to it,” he said.

The introduction of the two brands comes one year after the company started production at a capacity of 1.5 million proof gallons a year. Over the intervening year, the company doubled its capacity and is now capable of producing 3 million, and earlier this month, announced it would expand again to 6 million by next September. By next year, the facility will rank among the largest bourbon distillers in the industry, with the vast majority of its production taken up by contracts through its collaborative distilling program.

“One year ago today, we started this facility,” Mandell noted at the beginning of the presentation. “This team has done a tremendous amount.”

“It’s all about working together.”