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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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Origin Gin
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
$159.36
The chap riding the horse atop this bottle of Blanton's Original Single Barrel looks pretty excited, and we can't blame him. Who wouldn't be happy to see this brilliant bourbon from barrel 102?  More info
$99.60
A seldom seen bottle of Jeffrey 3 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon, prdocued in the 1980s.  More info
$119.52
Jim Beam honoured the first 50 years of the naval Fleet Reserve Association with this tasteful bourbon whisky decanter in 1974.  More info
$298.80
50cl of 4 year old Stillbrook Bourbon, distilled and bottled in Illinois. Not exactly the first place you'd think of for bourbon production, but they obviously had a pretty good thing going back in...  More info
$129.48
A new 75cl bottle and label (which features a rather intense looking fellow with an intimidating beard) for Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old, bottled at 107 proof. It's still an awesome bourbon, packed...  More info
$123.25
"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
$239.04
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
$239.04
This bright, bonded bottle of Old Forester Bourbon was produced in the 2000s, before the brand had got its snazzy redesign. Saying that, these classic bottles are handsome in their own right. When it...  More info
$79.68
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
$86.95
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
$159.36
Complete with stars & stripes and the red, white & blue, this bottle of Medley's Kentucky Bourbon is a real American hero. This bottling comes from the 1970s.  More info
$199.20
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
$98.75
Wonderfully packaged, this 1970s bottle of Four Roses 6 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon comes with a glass. A very collectible and rather useful gift pack from over 30 years ago.  More info
$179.28
Barrel 115 of Blanton's Original Single Barrel was emptied in 2005! Somehow, this bottle has survived since then without being opened.  More info
$99.60
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)
$71.60
Old Grand-Dad - 1980s
(75cl, 40%)
The unmistakable Old Grand-Dad bourbon is as traditional as they come, which might be why it has been seen in many piece of literature, including the James Bond novel 'Live and Let Die', Raymond...  More info
$119.52
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)
$51.71
Henry McKenna Kentucky Bourbon comes from Fairfax, KY. Their 10 Year Old Single Barrel release was bottled in bond and is one of the small number of "extra aged" bourbons currently in production that...  More info
$119.52
Try Wild Turkey as it was enjoyed in the early 1980s, by hellraisers such as Hunter S. Thompson, who would no doubt have swigged it straight from the neck, then shot it with a magnum. Bottled at a...  More info
$239.04
Remember Rebel Yell back in the 1980s? Insert Billy Idol joke here. This rare bottling dates from when this delicious whiskey was only distributed below the Mason-Dixon Line!

Already sold out? Not...  More info
$159.36
This bottle of Jim Beam's classic White Label that dates from the 2000s.  More info
$39.84
Four Roses Yellow is aged for 6 years before bottling, making a smooth bourbon whiskey that is perfect in a cocktail. This bottling comes from 1990s, a pleasant collectible.  More info
$39.84
A collectible bottle of the well known Jim Beam Black 8 Year old, from the 2000s.  More info
$59.76
The sun shines bright above Kentucky, just not all year round, which is why it's great for making whiskey. This bottle of Golden Sun 6 Year Old dates from the 2000s.  More info
$39.84
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