Blade and Bow is manufactured under the Diageo umbrealla. Diageo dedicated this bourbon to the craftsmanship of the historic Stitzel-weller Distillery, where Blade and Bow is aged and non-traditionally blended and partially distilled from. The Stitzel-Weller Distillery encompasses a lot of bourbon history. In fact, this is the site where legendary Julian (Pappy) Van Winkle made his mark.
Stitzel-Weller was originally owned by the company that owned and operated Guinness, United Distillers. They shut the distillery down in 1992. Eventually Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo and Diageo reopened the facility in 2014 to keep it’s legend alive. Each bottle of Blade and Bow contains actual distilling history of Stitzel-Weller.
Solera Style Aging System
At the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, Blade and Bow uses a unique solera style aging system. Another name for this process is fractional blending. This aging involves a pyramid or tier system of barrels that always feed to the bottom barrels.
Blade and Bow is made using a five barrel solera system. The bottom or #5 barrel contains some original bourbon distilled in the early 90s. They say the trick is to never dump more than half of the barrel. So when barrel #5 is dumped for bottling, barrel # 4 is used to refill barrel #5. Then barrel #3 fills up #4 and so on until barrel #1 is used to fill barrel #2. That’s when a whiskey that is not currently in the system is used to fill barrel #1.
Diageo says all of the bourbon used to produce Blade and Bow is at least 6 years old.
The Five Key Symbol
The true symbol of Blade and Bow, from its name to is bottle, is a key. This bourbon was named after the anatomy of a key. Blade refers to the long section and Bow is the end or ornamental part. Originating from Stitzel-Weller is their five key symbol, which always had a strong presence at the distillery.
The five key symbol stands for the five steps of making bourbon: grain, yeast, fermentation, distillation, and aging.
The design of the Blade and Bow bottle encompasses the five key ways of doing things. with six sides, five are dedicated to the bourbon making process and one is left for labeling.
Nose: You can easily identify the grain, oak, and dominating vanilla aromas. There are small hints of toasted coconut and “alcohol punch”.
Taste: The first thing one notices is a sweetness described as vanilla fudge and coconut macaroon. Then you’ll taste secondary notes of cinnamon and baking spices. But wait, thats not all. As the dominating flavors subside, you’re left with flavors of oak, toasted almonds, apricot preserves. Peppermint and milk chocolate also appear.
Finish: Despite the intense taste, the finish is short and abrupt.
An expert review on Distillers.com said, “This bourbon packs a surprising amount of flavor into an approachable and easy drinking whiskey.”
You can taste Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey at our Holiday Tasting Saturday, November 4th between 1:00 and 4:00pm! 14580 River Road, Carmel, IN 46033.