Blue Run Kentucky Straight High Rye Bourbon Whiskey

Blue Run Spirits is a new player in the Bourbon Industry based in Bardstown, Kentucky. The real headliner for the company is that Jim Rutledge is collaborating with the company on their bourbons, and is said to have distilled and barrelled this particular High Rye bourbon batch. For those that don’t know, Rutledge is a former master distiller with Four Roses, and is also behind Cream of Kentucky and some other high end releases. While other Blue Run batches have been distilled at Castle & Key, the back label indicates that this bourbon was distilled in Georgetown, Kentucky, which means it was distilled at Mattingly’s Bourbon 30 Spirits. Not that the location of the distillery itself really matters. In my opinion, when it comes to bourbon, mashbill, barrelling, and where the bourbon is aged are the drivers of the flavor of the bourbon, not the particular equipment used to distill. When Heaven Hill’s distillery caught on fire, they leased time on other distiller’s equipment and no one really noticed the difference. That, and while their is a great deal of romanticism surrounding the old Castle & Key Distillery that Col. E.H. Taylor founded, it is not as if they are using Taylor’s stills at this point, nor would it make sense to do so if even if they existed. So, to me, it doesn’t really matter whether it was distilled at Castle & Key or Bourbon 30.

In any event, Blue Run is trying to make a name for itself in the premium bourbon category, and this batch is the least expensive at an MSRP of $90. The mashbill is 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. This particular release is 4 years old, aged in #4 alligator charred barrels, and bottled at 111 proof. And, I have to admit, that the bottle is very interesting.

On the swirl is a thin film with decent legs; color is a decent amber reflecting its four years of aging. Caramel and grassy rye dominate the traditional bourbon nose. On the palate however is heavy cinnamon, some candied cherry notes, with burnt oak with a little bit of dill at the beginning of the sip. The mouthfeel is rich and buttery. On the palate the cinnamon mingles with rye spice for a long, spicy, lingering finish with the cherry notes coming back for a second on the fade.

All in all, I have to say this is a very delicious high proof bourbon, particularly for being so young. Thanks to Jim Rutledge, this bourbon has no negatives – no craft bitterness or youthful bite. Based on this bottle, I will surely give future bottlings of Blue Run a try even though they are pricey.

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