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Vintage Bourbon 17 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 7 ratings 90

Vintage Bourbon 17 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Vintage
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 47.0%
  • Age: 17 year old

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Vintage Bourbon 17 Year Old

The reviewed bottle has been open 2 1/2 years, is 90% full, and preserved with inert gas for the last year. This Kentucky Bourbon Distillers product contains no batch information. The review is of the bottle as it is currently

Colour: very dark

Nose: strong pointed high-pitched vanilla, balanced by strong bass range wood flavours. Significant pointed high-pitched rye-spiciness, viz. cloves, nutmeg, and cassia, are present as well. Very nice

Taste: nice rich and sweet translation of the nose flavours

Finish: long and full, rich and sweet

Balance: this bottle has changed a lot over time. For the first year or so this was not nearly as tasty as it then became, and would have rated only 83 from me. The bottle was at its best maybe 1 year ago, and would have then been rated 92 from me. 2 1/2 years open, this Vintage 17 YO Bourbon is still quite delicious

This bottle still rates 90 pts from me, 3 1/2 years open.

I have been tasting this and trying to figure out from which distillery the distillate was sourced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. My guess is the Charles Medley Distillery. I see similarities with some of the Medley bourbons I have had, including both Wathen Single Barrel and an old Daviess County bourbon.

This Vintage brand (not to be confused with Kentucky Vintage, which is still among their products), both the 17 yo and the 23 yo, appears to have been discontinued by KBD. The KBD website no longer features pictures of bottles of this among their products.

17 yo bourbons have been getting rare and pricey in the last several years.

Just finished this bottle today. It was still excellent up until the end.

My best guess as to the distillery of this sourced whiskey is that it was distilled at the Charles Medley distillery.


Vintage Bourbon 17 year-old is a product of the Vintage Bourbon Company, itself a brand of the Kulsveen family’s Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. Other products in their portfolio include Noah’s Mill, Rowan’s Creek, Willett, and Corner Creek Reserve. Despite the name, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers—and its subsidiary brands, such as The Willett Distillery, Old Bardstown Distilling Co., and Pure Kentucky Distilling Company—is an independent bottler or, in somewhat outmoded terms, a “rectifier.” Though the source of their whiskey has only been guessed at (often with an immoderate degree of confidence), it can be very, very good.

For an American whiskey, Vintage Bourbon 17 year-old has spent a long time in the barrel. Its age shows in the color, which is a deep honey yellow, and it shows on the nose, which is heady, rich, and oaky. There are also marvelous notes of dark rum, walnuts, Mexican vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, and a slight touch of varnish.

On the palate, which is thick and rich, there is molasses, vanilla, rum, and brown sugar again. There is also bright rye spice, walnut spread, and stewed bananas. The finish is oak, spice and lightly bitter varnish. On the whole, this bourbon is really quite good.


I had been passively looking for Vintage 17 Bourbon, and its cousins from the same distillery, for quite some time. Then while recently traveling, I decided to stop in for a browse at a spirit store whose only means to lure in customers was an indelicate billboard next to the expressway. Surprisingly, this seasoned old store turned out to have a very well-stocked collection of liquor, which not unlike a candy store (a few years back), caused tingles of excitement, and a drop in my vigilance of controlled spending. It was also a treat to also have discovered some of the cousins, such as Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill.

Vintage Bourbon 17 is produced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd, Bardstown, KY, where they also distill Johnny Drum Old-fashioned Sour Mash Whiskey, the Old Bardstown series, and the Small batch collection: Noah’s Mill, Rowan’s Creek, Pure Kentucky XO, and Kentucky Vintage

Vintage Bourbon 17 is a Limited Edition vintage bourbon, aged 17 years. According to the distiller, it is selected from the very rarest lot of barrels, each hand-picked for taste, aroma and bouquet. The bottlings are very limited, and in my opinion, could very well differ between themselves. The color is deep amber, and there is also a 21 and 23 year expression. You would not think to find such a fine whiskey in such a plain bottle, with glued-on labels. If you can find it, the cost appears to vary widely, becoming higher the farther away you are from Kentucky.

Adding water seemed to mess with the soul, and flatten the depth, and so these notes are based on tasting without water. Prime the palate first with some other bourbon, then if you take small sips and let the nectar slowly percolate down, you should experience no burn in this one.

Bottle Nose: It is often rewarding to smell the open bottle before the pour, perhaps to capture a whiff of the dried residue (applies to the empty glass as well). Here we have a luscious assertive nose of dried fruit (prunes, dates, figs, apricot), toasted butterscotch, brown sugar and caramel. A very fine sniffing bourbon … which may very well be all you need for an occasional healthy and cost-free morsel of enjoyment.

Glass Nose: Rich piney, sugary caramel with bananas and perhaps a note of Oolong tea. The alcohol fumes are nicely controlled, thus yielding a pleasant nose without sharpness.

Palate: Deep and flavorful blast of sweet, toasted brown sugar, dried fruit, and some leathery notes, then drier toward the finish, with spiced almonds … reminds me a little of Bulliet bourbon, but with lots more going on. There is no bitterness or distracting harshness, and the structure is always smooth and syrupy.

Finish: Take your time and you will be rewarded by a long, creamy smooth and flavorful finish. You will develop a soft, warm and lasting glow … followed by ecstatic and satisfying feelings of amazement, well-being and suspended animation.

Conclusions: I have now tasted Vintage 17 many times, and each time I have concluded that this is a unique ultimate bourbon (higher than top-shelf), and probably the strongest contender for “if-you-can-only-choose-one-on-the-island”. This is a highly-engaging, satisfying and easy to drink bourbon which has a character of accomplished maturity and class. It is like meeting a dear old friend who you cherish, and who offers many old meaningful stories. Save this for special occasions … such as when you need cheering up after being stranded on a desert island.

About: Great review...I work in downtown Boston and have a guy in this tiny little liquor store, inthe middle of the city. He is a big bourbon guy, so I come in once a week and ask "what do you have for me". He pulled this one out from behind the others and told me he only had 2 left. He was "only' selling it for 54 dollars...so I snapped it up. Interestingly enough...I do my nose test via two seperate ways, but my "bottle nose" I actually like to get a good whiff of the cork. My bottle nose is very consistant with yours....A strong butterscoth aroma for me, coupled with dried apricots...quite lovely actually. My first taste was somewhat of a drag, actually. I taste it neat, as I do all bourbons at first. I found the first glass to be overwhelmingly leathery, and quite bitter. I was honestly concerned I may have received a "bad bottle". So of course, because I am me, I poured another substantial amount and let it sit in the glass for about 5 minutes. I stepped away, came back and WOW....what a difference. For me it was strong maple syrup notes with, I also agree, candied almonds. The finish was, in a simple note, delightful. It was warm, with no harshness. I found the finish to be similar to vanilla ice cream with butterscotch topping. it just stayed there nicely for a good minute or two. At first I was scared I had a bad bottle.....but since that first "bad" taste to start, the following 3 pours have been very, very good. I would put this bourbon well up there with my favorites, and have it on the waiting list with my "guy" for another bottle to stash away....def a keeper here.

Hi @stevesmyth30, really glad you enjoyed Vintage 17, and that you even found it ! Thanks for sharing your technique of leaving the pour sit for a while ... I'll keep that in mind for any dram in the future. Let us know what else your "guy" finds for you ! :)

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