Best Bourbons | Blade and Bow | Premium Aged | Review | Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Every Blade and Bow Bourbon Reviewed [2021 Guide]

Dec 27, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Blade and Bow bourbon’s history is rooted in the famous Stitzel-Weller Distillery (Shively, KY)  of Pappy fame. Stitzel-Weller and its brands were first sold to Norton-Simon in 1972 who changed the name to Old Fitzgerald Distillery. In 1984, Distillers Co. purchased the Old Fitz Distillery. From 1987 and 1992, they made and sold Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, Weller, and Cabin Still.

United Distillers was formed in 1987 which later became Diageo (Guiness and Grand Metropolitan merged to form Diageo in 1997) who nows owns the renamed (again) Stitzel-Weller Distillery (1992). In 1992, distillation stopped at Stitzel-Weller and brands were sold off to Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, and others.

In 1994, there was a glut of wheated bourbon aging at the Shively location. You could buy a barrel of Stitzel-Weller bourbon for $200. Now premium bottles from this time are selling for upwards of $10K. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story. Diageo invested $10 to $18 million to restore the distillery in 2014 and with that Blade and Bow was bourbon. According to Blade and Bow:

Named after the two parts of a skeleton key, the blade shaft and the ornate bow, the Blade and Bow brand is a tribute to the five keys that once hung on the door of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. These keys represented the five steps of crafting bourbon—grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Blade and Bow Bourbon Reviewed

Blade and Bow Bourbon

Blade and Bow Bourbon
Blade and Bow BourbonDetails
In the Bottle91 Proof
ABV45.5%
Mashbill75% corn, 18% wheat, and 18% malted barley from S-W bourbon
Unknown for New Distillate
Distilled and AgedShivley and Frankfurt
BottledStitzel-Weller Distillery
AgeNAS (at least 6-years-old)
StyleSolera System
Wheated Blend
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$50
ProsLeathery and Sweet
ConsMore Complexity and Punch
AvailabilityNationwide
RatingSilver 88 out of 100 Points
InventoryWorth Purchasing for Novelty

Blade and Bow uses a five-barrel solera system incorporating bourbon whiskey from the original Stitzel-Weller distillery. The theory is that Stitzel-Weller bourbon will continue to be at least in some part in each bottle. The fifth barrel contains original Stitzel-Weller bourbon from the early 90s. No more than half of that barrel is ever dumped at one time.

When barrel #5 is low then barrel #4 refills barrel #5. Barrel #3 follows suit when #4 is empty — all the way down to barrel #1. Once barrel #1 is ready to fill barrel #2, a new barrel of bourbon is brought into the solera system. I will let someone with more of a science background share whether that’s more gimmicky than anything. To the bourbon, it does not offer much in viscosity or glass coverage.

See how the Solera system works starting at the 1:50 minute mark:

Nose – 86 out of 100 Points

Light oak, vanilla, brûléed banana, and coconut covered Ferrero Rocher. Pleasant sweetness gives way to ethanol.

Taste – 90 out of 100 Points

Caramel covered sweet apple and floral honey make quick appearances but give way to cinnamon and other spices. It’s buttery and light.

Finish – 88 out of 100 Points

Fast and furious. Bit of heat and spice but it doesn’t last long before the musty leather shows up.

Verdict – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

Blade and Bow isn’t the most interesting bourbon. It’s light, sweet, and leathery back lacks complexity and backbone. I’d be happier with drinking this bourbon around the $30 range.

Blade and Bow 22-Year Bourbon (2019) Reviewed

Blade and Bow 22

Blade and Bow 22 Year Bourbon
Blade and Bow 22 YearDetails
In the Bottle92 Proof
ABV46%
Mashbill75% corn, 18% wheat, and 18% malted barley from S-W bourbon
Unknown for New Distillate
Distilled and AgedShivley and Frankfurt
BottledStitzel-Weller Distillery
Age22 Year
StyleWheated Blend
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$450
ProsWho's got the funk? We got the funk.
ConsMore Punchy Finish
AvailabilityNationwide
RatingPlatinum 98 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy at Retail

Blade and Bow 22-Year is thick and oily.

Nose – 99 out of 100 Points

The nose is a dusty and savory treat with deep leather, mild charred oak, cinnamon, clove, and other baking spices.

Taste – 98 out of 100 Points

More of that delicious leather is present on the palate accompanied by vanilla soaked charred oak, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The back of the palate shows more baking spice and pepper.

Finish – Platinum 97 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium with more leather, charred oak, and just a hint of tobacco and cocoa.

Verdict – Platinum 98 out of 100 Points

This was the last year before the recent price hike. In 2015, the price jumped from $150 to $250. In 2020, it jumped from $250 to $450 (although I’m seeing a lot of stores selling it for closer to $600). Regardless of price, I’ve had this pour twice and was blown away both times by the delicious dusty, leather, and charred oak flavor profile.

Blade and Bow Bourbon: Frequently Asked Questions

Blade and Bow Bourbon

Is Blade and Bow Bourbon good?

The standard expression is average I would say, whereas the 22-year-old Blade and Blow is phenomenal.

What happens when you collect all 5 Blade and Bow keys?

If you collect all 5 keys you can join the Five Keys Club by sending them a photo or bringing them with you on a tour of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery where you will receive a special commemoration.

Is Blade and Bow hard to find?

The standard Blade and Bow bourbon expression is not hard to find, but the Blade and Bow 22 (even at the higher price point) is hard to find.

Who makes Blade and Bow?

Blade and Blow bourbon is distilled at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shivley, KY, and is owned by Diageo.

Is Blade and Bow a Wheated bourbon?

Yes, Blade and Bow is a wheated bourbon. As I explained above, they use a solera barrel system that incorporates Stitzel-Weller distillate from the early 90s which was all wheated bourbon. Now the new bourbon incorporated into the solera system is where the mystery lies. Diageo won’t say what the mashbill is — if it’s a normal rye bourbon mashbill Blade and Bow would be a four grain bourbon whiskey.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.
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