In the year 1935 a beautiful event happened to the American Whiskey industry; the Stitzel-Weller Distillery opened its doors in Louisville, Kentucky. The Stitzel-Weller Distillery was once home to some of the most renowned American Whiskies such as Old Fitzgerald, Cabin Still, W.L. Weller and Old Rip Van Winkle. For roughly fifty years the wheated wonders were born and bred within the walls of Stitzel-Weller, until 1992 when the distillery shut its doors and the stills ceased production. However, when Diageo decided to re-open the distillery a few years back they uncovered some stock that predated the distilleries closure. Through the use of the solera system, the Stitzel-Weller legacy lives on, and portions of the pre-1992 stock are used in a new bottle offering; Blade and Bow.
With not enough of the old stock to go around in a singular batch edition, Blade and Bow implements the Spanish tradition of the solera sytem. Stitzel-Weller Distillery Co. is not the first whiskey producer to utilize this system (Glenfiddich has been using this method to batch their 15 year scotch since 1998), but certainly is the most effective approach. To better understand how Blade and Bow utilizes a five barrel solera system, imagine a pyramid of barrels and the bottom five barrels are filled with the pre 1992 Stitzel-Weller Distillery stock. For each release of Blade and Bow the bottom barrels are emptied no more than 50% into bottling for that batch. Then the bottom barrels are filled from the newer aged whiskey barrels layered above (the second row from the bottom) and so on and so forth up the pyramid until all the barrels are filled again. Stitzel-Weller Distillery Co. is using newly made bourbon that is modeled after the historic recipes once used there to refill the barrels from the top down.
With the five key steps to crafting bourbon in mind (grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging), Stitzel-Weller Distillery Co. aims to not only resurrect some long lost whiskey but to also revive the craft and tradition the distillery once offered. The bourbon it self is well rounded giving off aromas of freshly harvested pears layered over a light spritz of oak and vanilla. On the palate fresh cut pear breaks through to greet you gently cresting over punches of spice and pepper. The finish is long and incredibly smooth leaving behind a trail of dark cocoa powder and a dash of smoked oak.
If you are a true admirer of all the Stitzel-Weller whiskies, then this is your chance to try yet another beautiful expression that once seemed lost. Distiller aside, Blade and Bow certainly speaks for itself and is a fine bourbon for every whiskey sipper out there. Of course Blade and Bow is more than just an ordinary bourbon; it is a piece of a time honored tradition…a piece of American whiskey history.