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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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Bourbon Whisky Across Countries

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Happy 200th barrel, Blanton's! Yes, that's right, this bottling of Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon comes from barrel 200, which was matured in the famous Warehouse H. Nice!  More info
$99.91
Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon has been produced since the late 19th century. This bottle of their 6 year old bourbon is nowhere near that old, although it is a rather handsome antique from the 1970s.  More info
$201.53
This is a bottle of the fantastic Four Roses Single Barrel - bottled in 2012. Each bottle only contains whiskey from one barrel only, each barrel is inherently unique so this is a truly limited...  More info
$150.09
This is a bottle of the fantastic Four Roses Single Barrel - bottled in 2012. Each bottle only contains whiskey from one barrel only, each barrel is inherently unique so this is a truly limited...  More info
$143.64
Rowan's Creek is a small batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co. This has a very smooth, rounded character with lovely spicy, fruity flavours.  More info
$64.00
"It's always a pleasure..."

It certainly is always a pleasure to see a beautiful bottle of I.W. Harper Gold Medal bourbon, especially a collectible bottle from the 1980s.  More info
$161.22
A single barrel bourbon from the Buffalo Trace distillery. This was named for Master Distiller Elmer T Lee, who joined the distillery in 1949.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$74.82
This is a rare 1980s bottling of Kentucky Colonel - a 4 year old bourbon from Kentucky. This is a collectible edition which was bottled especially for the Italian market.  More info
$161.22
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)
$179.56
Released as part of Buffalo Trace's award-winning Antique Collection, William Larue Weller is a high-proof wheated bourbon which was launched in Autumn 2012.  More info
$171.25
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)
$124.69
A 4 year old Jim Beam bourbon, this bottle of white label is a rare collector's piece, bottled during the 1970s.  More info
A seldom seen bottle of Jeffrey 3 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon, prdocued in the 1980s.  More info
$120.92
Old Grand-Dad 43%
(70cl, 43%)
Old Grand-Dad is a very highly regarded traditional style bourbon and this older bottling is 43% abv.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$41.98
Kentucky Vintage
(70cl, 45%)
A small batch bourbon made from only a select few barrels. This is aged longer than most standard bourbons, which gives it an extra dimension. Each bottle is hand numbered.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$52.31
Jim Beam honoured the first 50 years of the naval Fleet Reserve Association with this tasteful bourbon whisky decanter in 1974.  More info
$302.29
10 year old Ancient Age Bourbon, which is now the brand's 10 Star expression, from the 1980s. Ancient Age is now owned by Buffalo Trace. A very rare bottle, complete with the fancy presentation box.  More info
$161.22
"Eau de I. W. Harper... '12 year old'."

Oh, hold on - this isn't a massive aftershave bottle! It's whiskey from the 1970s!  More info
$241.83
A 2000s bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Bourbon, still produced by the Van Winkle family today, although now they do so at the Buffalo Trace distillery. Their bourbon is made with corn, wheat...  More info
$241.83
The Master's Rare Bourbon brand was founded in 1836, although this bottling dates from the 1970s.  More info
$201.53
Stored in the famous Warehouse H, Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon was the first of its kind when it was commercially released in 1984, and it's still as brilliant as it was back then. This bottling...  More info
$100.76
Although these days Beam's Choice is a 5 year old Kentucky bourbon, for a long time, it was an 8 year old. This bottle, which was released in 1979, features the 8 year old Jim Beam bourbon.  More info
$241.83
Wild Turkey as it was enjoyed by good ole boys in the early 1980s. The bottle is in great shape which probably can't be said for the good ole boys themselves. The seal is intact.  More info
$161.22
Colonel Albert B. Blanton was the first to bottle single barrel bourbon years and years ago for his own personal reserve. Luckily, now we can all pretend were are the Colonel. This bottle of Blanton's...  More info
$99.91
The horse atop the Blanton's bottle is almost as recognisable as the wonderful single barrel bourbon. Almost is obviously the major word in that last sentence, as Blanton's make some bloomin'...  More info
$87.97
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ATOM Supplies Ltd trading as Master of Malt. Registered office: North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1BE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 3193057, VAT number GB 662241553.