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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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Jim Beam White Label
(70cl, 40%)
Jim Beam bourbon undergoes distillation at lower temperatures and is distilled to no more than 62.5%, the White label is aged for four years and has quite a high percentage of rye in the mashbill.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$29.73
Stetson Bourbon
(70cl, 42%)
Named for John B Stetson and originally launched for the German market, this bourbon honours the chap who invented a stalwart in my "top 7 hats" list, recently knocked off the number 3 spot by the...  More info
$50.79
Old Fitzgerald is made with wheat as the secondary grain instead of rye, not unlike Maker's Mark in this respect. The result is a smoother, suppler bourbon.  More info
$38.73
In the midnight hour, she cried “more, more, more”, more delicious bourbon please. Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is now made at Heaven Hill, using William Larue Weller's original wheat...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$40.93
Cabin Still Bourbon
(75cl, 40%)
An old-fashioned style of bourbon, Cabin Still is a sour mash whiskey from the Heaven Hill distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$33.39
Jim Beam Green Label
(70cl, 40%)
Jim Beam Green Label is aged for five years then filtered through charcoal, which gives it a remarkably smooth flavour. It's great for bourbon cocktails, and is one of our favourite Beams.  More info
$44.06
A 75cl bottling of Rowan's Creek small batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co. who also produce Noah's Mill. Smooth, rounded spicy and fruity 12 year old whiskey. Yummy.  More info
$75.70
A young distillery, Rock Town was founded in 2010, but their Arkansas Young Bourbon is even younger, as it's matured for only 8 months.

Impressively, it still received Double Gold at the 2013 San...  More info
$65.61
A 1970s bottling of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from I.W. Harper, produced for the Italian market.  More info
$242.25
Single Barrel bourbon from Buffalo trace. Huge depth of flavour and a beautiful decanter to boot.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$109.20
Wild Turkey 81 Proof
(70cl, 40.50%)
A lower strength bourbon from Wild Turkey, bottled at 81 proof (40.5% abv) and created by the associate distiller Eddie Russell, the son of master distiller Jimmy Russell. This has a high rye content...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$37.03
This is an updated version of the classic Jim Beam Black Label. This Bourbon has been aged for six years and is one of the most recognisable whisky brands in the world.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$36.61
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon, from the American distillery, A. Smith Bowman. Named after four Virginian Bowman brothers, John, Abraham, Joseph and Isaac. While that...  More info
$83.20
Jefferson's Bourbon
(70cl, 41.20%)
A limited release, small batch artisan bourbon. This is very unusual, and offers a thoroughly distinctive flavour profile, thanks to its 6 to 10 year ageing in very lightly charred (Number 1 char)...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$56.98
Four Roses Bourbon
(70cl, 40%)
A brand that dates back to the late 19 century. This Yellow Label bottling of Four Roses was released for the European and Japanese markets and is made up of whiskeys aged between 5 and 6 years of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$35.46
Kentucky Vintage 75cl
(75cl, 45%)
Kentucky Vintage is a delicious small-batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. It's a classically styled whiskey with a lovely flavour. We can see it working very well in an Old-Fashioned.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$50.79
Old Fitzgerald 1849
(75cl, 45%)
A very good bourbon, the extra wheat content in this brings a lovely smoothness, not unlike Maker's Mark in this respect. Old Fitzgerald 1849 is very popular with Dave Broom and Jim Murray!  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$50.55
Hudson Baby Bourbon
(50cl, 46%)
Hudson Baby Bourbon is the first legal pot-still whiskey to be produced in New York since prohibition!

In the days before prohibition farm distillers could be found throughout the state of New York...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$77.85
Old Grand-Dad
(70cl, 40%)
Traditional bourbon from one of the oldest whiskey brands around, now bottled at the lower abv of 40%.  More info
$53.09
Johnny Drum Private Stock
(70cl, 50.50%)
A cask strength bourbon, this 15 year old is the flagship bourbon from the Johnny Drum range of handmade bourbons, produced in small batches.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$61.05
This is a rare, collectible bottle of bourbon which was bottled around 50 years ago! It's an 8 year old which was distilled by Hiram Walker - a pioneer in the whiskey world...  More info
$302.81
Smooth Ambler is a fantastic craft distillery in West Virginia established in 2009 by TAG Galyean and John Little. Whilst they produce their own vodka, gins and whiskeys from grain to glass, this is...  More info
$89.48
A well aged bourbon, Old Fitzgerald 12 is a very complex, rich whiskey from Heaven Hill. Jim Murray awarded this a staggering 93.5 points!  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$63.51
An absolutely superb single barrel bourbon. Wine Enthusiast rate this 96 points, commenting: "Wow". Rock Hill Farms was also Recommended by Whisky Magazine.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$106.59
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

An excellent brand owned by Buffalo Trace that uses similar methods and recipes to the ones Colonel E. H. Taylor introduced and improved during his time as a bourbon...  More info
$150.98
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