Made From: Distilled From At Least 51% Corn
Origin: Louisville, Ky.
Proof: 92
Age: 22
Importer: Made in the U. S. A.
Location: Louisville, Ky.

The Blade and Bow project started three years ago with intentions of honoring the heritage of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery site. There is currently no major distilling there today (a micro-still is in the works) but it does still have several warehouses, which is where Diageo ages most, if not all, of its North American whiskey. The name, Blade and Bow, comes from the anatomy of a key (the blade is the long section and the bow is the end or ornamental part) and the Five Key symbol that has always had a strong presence at Stitzel-Weller. The Five Key symbol stands for the five steps of making Bourbon (grains, yeast, fermentaion, distillation and aging) and was later used as a symbol of southern hospitality.

The design of the bottle also honors the Five Key way of doing things. Five of its six sides are dedicated to the five steps of crafting Bourbon, leaving one side for the labeling.

There is also actual distilling history of Stitzel-Weller is each bottle of Blade and Bow. Before a merger of Guiness and Grand Metropolitan formed Diageo in 1997, the company that owned and operated Guiness (United Distillers) also owned the Stitzel-Weller Distillery and shut it down in January of 1992. The last juice to ever be made on that site was in late 1991, possibly early 1992.

Diageo still has some of the last Bourbon distilled at the Stizel-Weller Distillery in their possession, but not enough to bottle on a wide release. So, they have implemented a solera style aging system that is common practice with port and sherry makers in Spain and Portugal. Also called fractional blending, solera aging involves a pyramid or tier system of barrels that always feed to the ‘bottom’ barrel in hopes of ensuring consistent quality or taste.

Diageo has implemented a five barrel solera system at Stitzel-Weller, where the bottom or #5 barrel contains some of the original Bourbon that was distilled in the early 90’s. The trick is to never dumb more than half of the barrel. So when barrel #5 is dumped for bottling, barrel #4 is used to refill barrel #5. Then barrel #3 fills up #4 and so on until barrel #1 is used to fill barrel #2. That’s when a new whiskey is intruded that is not currently in the system to fill barrel #1. Diageo would not go on record as to who is making the Bourbon that is used to fill barrel #1, (or the rest of the Bourbon outside of the original Stitzel-Weller juice) but claims it is no younger than six years old.

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