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Bourbon Whiskey

The quintessential American libation, Bourbon conjures images of corn fields and little streams cutting their way through Kentucky. Kentucky is Bourbon country in spirit and, indeed, in name. For when the American pioneers first colonized the country, they divided up the land and one plot, which covered much of what is now Kentucky, was named Bourbon, for the French Royal Family.

The county was formed in 1786. Originally part of Virginia, it was not until 1792 that Bourbon County was transferred to the new State of Kentucky. There was a great quantity of corn-based whiskey produced in the area, and it was shipped from a port on the Ohio River, which lay in Bourbon County. The barrels were stamped with their origin, ‘Old Bourbon’, and thus the name stuck. The principal distinction in Bourbon whiskey is the make up of the mash bill. The mash bill is the list of cereal grains used for distillation. Bourbon is distilled from 51% corn, differing it from other American spirits. Other grains are used including wheat, rye and barley.

Distillation is achieved in a pot still before ageing in new, charred oak barrels. The use of charred barrels is credited, by and large, to Reverend Elijah Craig. Such claims are not necessarily reliable, but the story is worth mentioning, for it is so oft told. The significance of this is decidedly great, for the Scotch whisky industry uses a proliferation of ex bourbon barrels, as do the rum and tequila fraternities. Elijah kept an outhouse, in which he stored his barrels and one day, a fire tore through the building, blackening his casks. The reverend filled his scorched barrels regardless, and found the charred inners imparted a vanilla sweetness and a rich hue.

Once a bourbon barrel has been emptied, it cannot be reused, thus they are shipped for use overseas. The spirit is aged for two years and bottled at a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume. There has been that more recent phenomenon of small batch and high end bourbons. The market for these is substantial and ever-growing, as consumers lean toward quality over quantity. Single barrel offerings and artisan products are of increasing popularity.

Bourbon Whiskey

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One of the most astonishing bourbons you'll ever try. This was made in memory of Parker Beam - a member of the Beam family who had been in the industry for over 50 years. John Hansell even went so far...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 is a well-aged sour mash Kentucky bourbon, well rated by the Beverage Tasting Institute who awarded it 90 points.  More info
$78.62
Maker's Mark 46
(75cl, 47%)
This is for "educational" purposes only - not for sale, sorry!The first line extension to the Maker's Mark range since the '50s, Maker's 46 is essentially the standard expression with added spice...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$61.07
The stunning third release of William Laure Weller from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. This was released in 2008, and it's exquisite. William Larue is a wheated bourbon and, despite its...  More info
From Buffalo Trace's wonderful Antique Collection, William Larue well is a wheated bourbon, bottled unfiltered and at natural cask strength.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
From Woodford Reserve's experimental Master's Collection, this is a Sweet Mash, made with fresh grains, as opposed to previously used grains (sour mash - a technique used to maintain consistency).  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$201.82
The 2010 release of George T Stagg from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It is aged for around 15 years, and released every Autumn, and they are always highly rated, also at super high strength...  More info
$249.35
Created to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Parker Beam's tenure at Heaven Hill Distillery, this superb Bourbon is a limited release of only 4,500 bottles. Get it while you can.  More info
We loved the first two Jefferson's bourbons - classic US whiskeys with great balance. This 17 year old is bottled at higher strength and it's aged for a substantial amount more than the others - we're...  More info
$176.59
Aged for 12 years and 3 months. This was distilled during the summer of 1998, and it was aged on the 4th and 9th floors of Buffalo Trace's warehouses I and P, respectively. This offers notes of...  More info
$166.40
A cask strength bourbon from Old Rip Van Winkle, this is rich, sweet and incredibly smooth and toasty. One of the best American whiskeys we've ever tried…  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$126.14
A superb bourbon, distilled from wheat in the fall of 1991, and aged in Stitzel-Weller Barrels. This is aged for 18 years and bottled in numbered batches, and has that same soft wheaty sweetness that...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$181.64
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