15 STARS Triple Cask Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


American blenders are non-distilling producers (NDPs) who select whiskeys based on their potential to become something completely different than what the distillers thought up. Some folks suggest that blended whiskey is made from lesser-quality barrels in hopes of saving it. They’ll say the same of barrel finishing, which is the art of taking a barrel of matured whiskey and then allowing it to rest in a secondary barrel that may have held something prior. While this can be true, more often than not, it isn’t.


I state that with authority because legacy distillers blend barrels all the time. Some will call it a small batch. Some won’t. In reality, any whiskey not derived from a single cask is a blend.


Today, I will explore 15 STARS Triple Cask Bourbon. 15 STARS was pioneered by the father-and-son entrepreneurial team of Rick and Ricky Johnson in 2022. Its name is derived from Kentucky being the 15th state on the newly adopted official United States flag, which bore 15 stars and 15 stripes.


Rick has a long resume working across various fields of industry, and Ricky is a recent college graduate learning from his father. Its operations, including distillation and bottling, are located at Bardstown Bourbon Company.


“At 15 STARS, we take pride in producing outstanding aged whiskey. We meticulously craft all our products using only the finest quality materials. This includes selectively sourcing fine aged whiskeys, marrying different mash bills and aged stocks to add complexity, distilling rare and unique proprietary grains, barrel entry proofs as low as 103, and “flavor proofing” at bottling for a superior neat drinking experience. Sparing no expense or effort in our pursuit for great whiskey, we only bottle whiskeys that meet our highest standards.” – 15 STARS


15 STARS Triple Cask is made from two Kentucky Straight Bourbons aged 8 and 16 years, respectively, and finished in former Cognac, Port, and Rum casks before blending. The mashbills are undisclosed, as is the actual distiller – Bardstown Bourbon was founded in 2014, so while it may be responsible for the 8-year portion, it can’t possibly be for the 16-year.  


Triple Cask is non-chill filtered. It is a limited-release packaged at 52.5% ABV (105°) and has a suggested price of $179.00 for a 750ml bottle. Speaking of packaging (which I rarely talk about), the cork 15 STARS used weighs a ton and looks like an old coin. It is stamped “1795,” representing the year Kentucky was admitted to the Union.




Before I go further, I must thank 15 STARS for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and taste if the excitement is justified.


Appearance: I sipped this Bourbon neat from my Glencairn glass. The color was a deep, dark brown. The liquid formed a thin-to-medium rim and released thick, wavy tears.


Nose: The smells of brown sugar, plums, and cherries exploded from the glass. As I delved deeper, the aroma included roasted almonds, nutmeg, and fresh leather. I drew the air into my mouth and found tobacco and old leather.  


Palate: Triple Cask’s mouthfeel offered a thick, creamy texture. It was so weighty it became distracting – in a good way. I tasted dark chocolate-covered cherries and ripe plums on the front. The middle exposed nutmeg, rich caramel, and dry leather. On the back, flavors of French oak, tobacco leaf, and white grapes.


Finish: This Bourbon had a finish that wouldn’t quit. Even several minutes after swallowing, it glued itself to my tongue and throat. The caramel, plums, dry leather, French oak, and chocolate refused to give up the ghost.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Rum cask was evident on the nose but lost on the palate. It returned on the finish. The Port and Cognac influences were easily identified throughout the sipping experience. While some warmth was on the palate and finish, this Bourbon went down almost too easily. The flavors were bold and, overall, well-balanced.


If we pretend that lesser-quality whiskeys were used in the blending and finishing processes, let’s just say that I don’t care. I am not suggesting that’s the case. And I mean, “I don’t care” because what I smelled and tasted was absolutely enchanting. Is 15 STARS Triple Cask expensive? Yes. But it also tastes like it. It earns every bit of my Bottle rating. Grab this one if you see it. Cheers!      


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.