Blade and Bow is a whiskey I have wanted to try ever sine I first heard of it. Diageo owns this brand and while there are those out there who don’t like Diageo for being such a conglomerate, usually including myself, I am a fan of this offering from them. Blade and Bow is sourced from the remains of the Stitzel Weller Distillery which is blended with what they felt was the best possible sourced whiskeys to pair with the original.
To give some background the legendary Julian Van Winkle (Pappy) opened the Stitzel Weller distillery in 1935. Van Winkle had a controlling share in Weller & Sons and decided to merge it with Stitzel to form what was known as the Stitzel-Weller distillery, which produced some of the best whiskey in the world until it shut down in 1992. Luckily for us, after they shut down in 1992 the whiskey they produced continued aging, take for example the 2014 Pappy Van Winkle 23 year which was distilled in 1991, before the shutdown, thus making it one of the last known releases that was entirely from the Stitzel-Weller Whiskey.
Now back to the bourbon at hand: Blade and Bow. It attempts to carry on the Stitzel-Weller name in a currently “on the shelf” bottle. There are very little details available to us as to what exactly it is made with and where that whiskey is sourced. All we know is that it does in fact contain some of the last remaining bourbon ever produced at the Stitzel-Weller distillery. Besides that we don’t know where the rest came from but in my humble opinion, and I could be wrong, I think it came from Four Roses. The reason I suggest this is because we know that Diageo sources a lot of whiskey from them and in my opinion the flavor profile fits. If anyone else knows more details or has another educated guess please let us know.
Finally it’s time for my favorite part; the tasting. First thing I notice is the color, it’s a nice deep golden brown, not too dark which is to be expected for a NAS (No Age Statement) 91 proof bourbon. Next is the nose, which I allow 10 or so minutes to open up before diving in. Right away I get hints of vanilla and apple with lots of floral characteristics and a nuttiness I can’t seem to place. The palate is very smooth with many subtle flavors: vanilla, apple, cherry, oak and some leather but to be honest no single aspect really stands out to me. Finally the finish is abrupt, with more apple and oak throughout. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the nose of this whiskey but the palate and the finish left me wanting more. A very good whiskey but not the great bourbon I was hoping for.