Review of Blue Bolt Bottled-in-Bond, Wheated Single Barrel, Single Barrel, and Double-Oaked Bourbons


In 2019, USMC Master Sergeant Will Maley partnered with his boyhood friend Jackson Parker with a desire to produce rum. They co-founded Blue Bolt Spirits as a nod to Blue Ribbon sugarcane grown in Texas and a logo with a blue lightning bolt representing high-proof rum.


In 2022, while preparing for the November 11th USMC 247th Birthday Ball, the duo realized a lack of quality spirits on their base’s PX. They shifted gears and went with Bourbon, and their first bottle was sold on November 3rd. The rest sold out quickly.   


“Our mission is to honor the culture and achievements of the Marine Corps by providing premium spirits that celebrate their legacy. Through our meticulously sourced offerings, we aim to raise a toast to the bravery, sacrifice, and commitment of the men and women who have served - preserving their stories for generations to come.” – Blue Bolt Spirits


And it isn’t just buying up bulk spirits. I chatted with Will; the brand is about buying “interesting and non-gimmicky” expressions from craft distilleries. Blue Bolt began working with Crittenden Distillery out of Kiln, Mississippi. Its owner, Matt Crittenden, gave Blue Bolt a promise of quality, and Bourbons aged at least four years and pulled from stock he had on hand.


Today, I’ll explore four Blue Bolt Bourbons: a Bottled-in-Bond, a single barrel traditional barrel proof, a single barrel wheated barrel proof, and a Double Oaked barrel proof. They’re all packaged under the label 248, commemorating the current USMCs' age.


On a side note, that number will climb each year, so for the 2024 birthday, it will be called 249.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Blue Bolt Spirits for providing me samples of each of its Bourbon in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. For the record, I sipped each of these from a Glencairn glass, approaching each from lowest to highest proof.


248 Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon


  • Mashbill: 72% corn, 17% rye, 11% malted barley
  • Aged at least four years in six new, #3 charred oak barrels
  • 50% ABV (100°)
  • SRP: $43.99


Appearance: The liquid inside my glass looked like copper, producing a thin rim with wide, fast tears.


Nose: I smelled cinnamon, nutmeg, charred oak, dried cherries, and leather. Drawing the air through my lips exposed vanilla bean and leather.


Palate: The thin, oily texture led me to flavors of cherries, corn, and caramel on the front of my palate. At the midpoint, I found vanilla, nutmeg, and shredded tobacco. The back featured barrel char, rye spice, and leather.


Finish: Medium-to-long in duration, the finish consisted of cinnamon, rye spice, tobacco, leather, and charred oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon was easy to sip, giving just enough spice to keep things interesting at a proof that leaves you convinced this is a well-balanced, flavorful whiskey. It is also the first whiskey I’ve ever tasted from Crittenden. Color me impressed, and I’m happy to give this Bourbon my Bottle rating.



248 Double-Oaked Barrel Proof Bourbon


  • Mashbill: 72% corn, 17% rye, 11% malted barley
  • Aged four years in #3 charred oak barrels, then finished five months in #1 charred oak barrels
  • 59.3% ABV (118.6°)
  • SRP: $79.99


Appearance: The Double-Oaked is a much darker whiskey than the Bottled-in-Bond. I’d describe it as burnt umber. It formed a broken-up, medium rim and slow, thick tears.


Nose: The aroma consisted of oak, plums, cherries, cinnamon Red Hots, and vanilla. Drawing the air into my mouth revealed more vanilla.


Palate: The almost weightless mouthfeel flowed across my tongue and down my throat. I tasted rye spice, tobacco, and corn on the front, while the middle provided cedar, oak, and cherry flavors. The back included vanilla, caramel, and black pepper.


Finish: Long and rumbling, the finish was warm, spicy, and pleasing. What remained offered rye spice, cedar, black pepper, tobacco, and cherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I am again impressed with what Crittenden can do. This delicious Bourbon is slightly off-profile, with an almost reversed flow from what’s expected from Bourbon. I found the notes of two woods competing with one another fascinating. My only hangup is the price. On one hand, I would be happy to have a bottle of Double-Oaked in my whiskey library.


On the other hand, there is a mental barrier there that has me stymied. If it were $60.00, I’d be all over it. At $80.00, I think this requires my Bar rating. 



248 Single Barrel Barrel Proof (Wheated Bourbon)


  • Mashbill: 72% corn, 17% wheat, 11% malted barley
  • Aged five years in #3 charred oak barrels
  • 59.5% ABV (119°)
  • SRP: $59.99


Appearance: The reddish-brown whiskey created a bold rim on the wall. Thick, wavy tears meandered across the glass.  


Nose: My olfactory sense identified cherries, corn, cocoa, leather, and toasted oak. As the air entered my mouth, there were more cherries.   


Palate: This Bourbon was soft and airy and coated the entirety of my mouth. There was an explosion of caramel, which muted most of the other flavors. However, I could discern nutmeg and swear it was Coco Puffs cereal at mid-palate, clove, barrel char, and black pepper on the back.


Finish: Long and steady, the finish included plenty of caramel, charred oak, clove, cocoa, and black pepper. There wasn’t a lot of heat per se, but it numbed my hard palate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: While there weren’t many flavors, this wheater was a pleaser. Some wheated Bourbons can leave a lot of wood tannins. That wasn’t the case here. It was well-rounded, and the flavors that I could pluck fought back against the caramel bomb. I really liked this single barrel Bourbon. I believe you will, too. It earns my Bottle rating.



248 Single Barrel Barrel Proof (Traditional Bourbon)


  • Mashbill: 72% corn, 17% rye, 11% malted barley
  • Aged five years in #3 charred oak barrels
  • 61% ABV (122°)
  • SRP: $59.99


Appearance: This traditional Bourbon was the color of a new penny. Thin, crooked tears fell from a microthin rim.


Nose: There was a floral perfume that escaped my glass. I also sniffed vanilla, toasted oak, coconuts, and lemon zest. Breathing in through my lips, I tasted candied orange slices.


Palate: The thin, oily texture introduced me to flavors of corn, roasted almonds, and caramel on the front of my palate. Midway through, I found cherries, tobacco, and rye spice. The back featured old leather, toasted oak, and chocolate.


Finish: The finish started strong and then slowly fell off. Just when I thought it was done, it roared back. It was spicy with leather, tobacco, oak, and clove. Just as that second wave fell off, there was a kiss of toffee.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This incarnation of 248 drank way beneath its stated proof by about 20 points, and I confirmed that by returning to the Bottled-in-Bond version. There was no heat. There was no numbing of my hard palate. It went down easy.


Although this single-barrel Bourbon was good, it was also my least favorite of the four. I know that comes across as a negative, but it shouldn’t. The Single Barrel Traditional Bourbon holds its own. For me, it earns my Bottle rating.



Final Thoughts: I’m pleasantly impressed with the whiskeys Blue Bolt selected from Crittenden. These four Bourbons were different despite coming from the same distillery, and three of the four possessed the same mashbill. It speaks well of both entities. I’m curious about what 249 will bring later this year. 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.