Released at the end of Summer 2021, Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Fusion Series #5 is made by marrying a sourced 11-year-old bourbon with their own three-year and four-year bourbons. As ever, Bardstown Bourbon Company is remarkably (and laudably) transparent in breaking it all down: the 11-year constitutes 30% of the blend and is composed of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley; the three-year makes up 14% of the blend and counts 60% corn, 26% rye, 10% wheat, and 4% malted barley; and the four-year claims the lion’s share of the blend at 56% and is made from 70% corn, 18% rye, and 12% malted barley.
The spirit pours amber in color and has a hot nose typified by creamed corn, saddle leather, sawdust, canned peaches, and cherries. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and viscous and leads with sweet, malty flavors that bring to mind a trinity of puddings: corn pudding, boxed vanilla pudding, and bread pudding. At the middle the malty sweetness eases up enough to allow oak, spice, and leather in, before a finish that sees a sweet hit of canned fruit flavors starting with peach syrup and continuing to maraschino cherry. By the time we’ve hit the last innings, those canned fruit flavors have darkened to apricots and date syrup, deliciously.
It’s a strange descriptor, but I found myself thinking of Fusion #5 as being a wet bourbon. From the start, its high corn content with a dash of malt brings those puddings to mind, before a delicious finish that feels like you’re consuming the very best part of any canned fruit. Weird, but decidedly great: a good thing for any bourbon to be.
— 47.45% ABV