NDPs | Review

Every Bower Hill Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

Jun 6, 2021

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Disclaimer: The whiskey reviewed was furnished for free courtesy of the spirit distiller. The distillery did not pay us for this review. This review is our honest and unbiased opinion based soley on how the spirit tasted.

Bower Hill Bourbon is named after the Battle of Bower Hill. This battle was the first military action of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. The rebellion was a response to the Excise Whiskey Tax of 1791. Many Revolutionary War vets turned farmers and distillers fought in this rebellion.

The Battle of Bower Hill was short-lived. Six-hundred Mingo Creek militiamen surrounded Bower Hill, the home of federal tax inspector General John Neville. After two days, the rebels razed the fortified home. I appreciate that Bower Hill has connected their brand with whiskey history without creating a fictional grand pappy’s recipe found-type backstory.

Bower Hill Bourbon is a Non-Distilling Producers (NDP) meaning their whiskey is sourced from other distilleries. But what sets them apart is their bourbon expressions are Kentucky Bourbons. Plus they come in nicely designed, old-style decanters that are a great whiskey collection centerpiece. We have full reviews for their five bourbon expressions. Hold on to your butt.

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Bower Hill Special Edition No 1 Non-Chill Filtered Bourbon Review

Bower Hill #1 Special Edition NCF Bourbon

Bower Hill Bourbon’s Special Editions were my favorite expressions in their lineup for price and taste. #1 Special Edition is Non-Chill Filtered and 106 Proof (53% ABV). The mashbill is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley.

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

In my Glencairn whiskey glass, the aromas are subtle. The nose features traditional flavors like vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak. I would say the standout is a developed leather note. Maybe just a bit of dried fruit as well. It’s a nose that won’t disappoint if you spend time with it.

Taste – 89 out of 100 Points

The fruit notes take over on the palate. Cherries. Cherries. And more cherries. The mouthfeel is good. The back of the palate is wet oak, baking spice, and black pepper that blooms forward.

Finish – 89 out of 100 Points

The finish is long and mirrors the palate. The cherries are contrasted with baking spice which becomes pronounced. The oak is still present along with the black pepper but more subtle.

Complexity – 89 out of 100 Points

The non-chill filtering added depth and viscosity to the palate. The palate offered the most depth and complexity.

Value – 89 out of 100 Points

Bower Hill Special Edition No 1 Non-Chill Filtered Bourbon retails for $75 which is a standard price for special release bourbon and the taste stands up throughout the drinking experience.

Verdict – Silver 89.2 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Bower Hill Special Edition No 2 Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon Review

Bower Hill #2 Special Edition Sherry Cask finished Bourbon New

Bower Hill Bourbon’s Special Editions were my favorite expressions in their lineup for price and taste. #2 Special Edition is Non-Chill Filtered, Sherry Cask Finished, and 100 proof (50% ABV).

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

No surprises. This Sherry cask finish is a Sherry bomb. Tons of dried dark fruit, grapes, cherries, and cranberries. I also pick up caramelized sugar and barrel char. On the back, I get barely a whiff of orange marmalade.

Taste – 86 out of 100 Points

The mouthfeel is solid. The fruit flavors have a bit of savory baking spice on the palate. The oak is sharper and peppered with black pepper.

Finish – 87 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium with more oak and pepper and subtle fruit and baking spice.

Complexity – 88 out of 100 Points

The nose was amazing but the palate and finished just needed more of those dark fruit notes for depth and complexity. This sherry-finished bourbon could’ve reached gold status with more of that dark fruit depth.

Value – 89 out of 100 Points

Bower Hill Special Edition No 2 Sherry-Finished Bourbon is a solid value for the price especially considering the additional cost to finish bourbon in expensive sherry casks.

Verdict – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Bower Hill Barrel Strength Bourbon Review

Bower Hill Barrel Strength Bourbon

Bower Hill Barrel Strength Bourbon is a small batch bourbon offered at 118.8 proof (59.4% ABV) and was distilled in Louisville, KY. The mashbill is 70% corn, 28% rye, and 2% malted barley. The bourbon rests in barrels (char level 3) for 5 to 6 years.

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

The nose is sweet and savory. It’s full of toasted oak and the best pumpkin heavy allspice.

Taste – 91 out of 100 Points

The first taste I pick up is a streak of vanilla marshmallow fluff straight down the middle of the palate contrasted with creamy honey-roasted peanut butter. The mouthfeel is creamy. The side of the palate is caramelly and the more you chew on it some nice tingly spice shows up.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

The finish is long with a load of allspice, oak, and roast peanuts.

Complexity – 91 out of 100 Points

Bower Hill Barrel Strength offers good complexity. The flavor profile is more savory so if complex savory bourbons are your huckleberry you’ll want to try this out.

Value – 85 out of 100 Points

This barrel strength bourbon is selling for around $169. On the plus side, it comes in a beautiful decanter-style bottle that’s substantial in your hand. On the other hand, that price range is rarified. You would want to ensure this is your preferred flavor profile before purchasing.

I’d love some kind of age statement if it made sense to add some perceived value for drinkers.

Verdict – Silver 90 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Bower Hill Barrel Reserve Bourbon Review

Bower Hill Barrel Reserve Bourbon

Bower Hill Barrel Reserve Bourbon was first released in 2015 and is offered at 86 proof (43% ABV). The mashbill is 70% corn, 28% rye, and 2% malted barley. The bourbon rests in barrels (char level 3) for 5 to 6 years.

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

This nose is all Smucker’s Goober — smooth peanut butter and grape jam intertwined in perfect harmony. Uber oaky that’s been toasted and baking spice.

Taste – 87 out of 100 Points

Honey, toasted oak, and subtle roasted peanuts. Black pepper rounding out the back of the palate.

Finish – 85 out of 100 Points

The finish is all toasted oak. Short to medium. Maybe just a smidge of white pepper.

Complexity – 86 out of 100 Points

The nose hinted at a complexity that could be. It just didn’t fully translate to the palate and finish.

Value – 88 out of 100 Points

This release retails for around $45 to $50. The value is solid for the price point. If you prefer a more savory bourbon, this barrel reserve may be your huckleberry.

Verdict – Silver 87.2 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Bower Hill Single Barrel Bourbon Review

Bower Hill Single Barrel Bourbon_new

Bower Hill Single Barrel Bourbon is offered at 94 proof (47% ABV). The mashbill is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. The bourbon rests in barrels (char level 3) for 5 to 6 years. In 2018, it won several awards including Craft Competition Gold and Sip Awards Platinum.

Nose – 76 out of 100 Points

I struggled to pin down the flavors on the nose. Green wood and caramel. Even those flavors didn’t stand out.

Taste – 77 out of 100 Points

The palate is clean. More green wood. Some white pepper. Light baking spice.

Finish – 77 out of 100 Points

Pepper and maybe some light floral notes.

Complexity – 76 out of 100 Points

The flavors just weren’t developed so lacked complexity.

Value – 75 out of 100 Points

The Bower Hill Single Barrel retails for around $70. I returned to my sample to taste a second time and just didn’t get more flavor than what I mentioned above. Obviously, mileage varies because every single barrel is unique. Knowing the awards it won previously, I may be inclined to try again.

Verdict – 76.2 out of 100 Points

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About Matty Sims

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
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