When Diageo began seriously embracing American whiskey a few years back, it was full steam ahead. There was a market for ultra-aged American whiskies, which was perfect for the company because it had a large stock of older whiskies aging at their Stitzel-Weller warehouses. For the most part, these whiskies began seeing the light of day under the Orphan Barrel umbrella. However, some was set aside for another new bourbon brand – Blade & Bow.
Blade & Bow was introduced in 2015 as a solera-aged bourbon, with its oldest component whiskies being distilled at Stitzel-Weller before it was shuttered in the early 90s. A limited edition 22-year-old bourbon also hit the market. That release was made from bourbons distilled at what’s now Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill. I have to admit that upon first tasting this limited edition I was a bit underwhelmed. It was good, but not great. After tasting it again months later, I enjoyed it more and even upgraded its score in my original review. On Derby Day 2017, a re-release of the 22-year-old bourbon has been announced to commemorate the second anniversary of the brand.
This second batch is just as enjoyable as the first. Layers of caramel, spice, dark chocolate and dark fruits fill the nose. Taste-wise, I pick up hints of burnt orange peel, caramelized fruit, cocoa, vanilla and spiced dark fruits. There is a bed of oak underlying most of the tasting experience, becoming more prominent towards the back palate. The finish is long and features hints of dark caramel and spice.
Sadly, this release is extremely limited. This sample is probably the only time I’ll be able to drink this nicely aged bourbon. If you see Blade and Bow 22 for sale near the suggested retail price of $200, pick it up! Chances are you won’t see it again. 8.5/10
Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.