What a year it has been for Bardstown Bourbon Company. Back in March, the famed Kentucky distiller received the highest score (98 out of 100) at the International Wine & Spirits Competition for its six-year-old Origin Series release. And now, that very prestigious organization has awarded his BBC the following title: “Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year” At the annual awards ceremony in London.
Not a bad collection of hardware for a distillery that has only been in operation since 2014. In fact, this week the BBC beat out Barton Distillery, which borders Bardstown and has produced whiskey there since 1879, for taking top honors. For bourbon, newness was actually a feature, not a drawback.
In awarding this honor, IWSC was clearly amazed by the 21st century capabilities of the Bardstown Bourbon production line. In a press release after the event, the contest noted that its state-of-the-art facility can produce “more than 50 different mash bills across the entire spectrum of whisky.”
This is a unique power in the industry that allows distilleries to bottle a full range of diverse flavors, not just on their own array of labels, but across the nation’s entire list of non-distilled manufacturers. . In fact, Bardstown Bourbon coincidentally beat out 15 Stars, a well-known upstart company that actually produces the liquid under contract, for this award. As IWSC judges point out, it is “a destination where others can go to realize their own aspirations.”
“This is a great honor for our team,” said Dan Callaway, vice president of product development for Bardstown Bourbon Company. “Through innovation, we continue to push boundaries and create great bourbons. This recognition solidifies our position in the industry and fuels our growth.”
They’re not the only ones growing. The International Wine and Spirits Competition took the opportunity to officially announce that it will be held in the United States next year at its annual gala. In September 2024, IWSC will host an awards ceremony focused solely on American spirits. And you probably know it. The event will be held in Bardstown. It’s hard to argue with positioning. The town’s population is less than 14,000, but there are a total of 11 distillery experiences within a 26-mile radius. There must be something in the water.
On the other hand, if you want to explore the acclaimed flavors that captivated the IWSC judges, you might want to start with the judges’ top-scoring Origin Series Kentucky Straight Bourbon. At 96 proof, this product leverages a high rye mashbill (36%) to develop nutmeg and menthol aromas in the nose and mouth. It also has a very firm finish with plenty of cinnamon toast crunch. It punches well above its weight class and can easily be found on shelves for $49 per bottle.