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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 Whiskey Across Countries

Bourbon Whisky Across Countries

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Baker's 7 Year Old
(75cl, 53.50%)
An excellent small batch bourbon, named for the grand nephew of Jim Beam, Baker Beam. This is a well-aged expression which makes use of a special strain of jug yeast which the Beam family have made...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$95.33
Owned by the guitarist and singer of the rock band Jackyl (who also happens to be called Jesse James) this 3 year matured bourbon is a rare collectible from the 1990s, made in honour of the rough...  More info
$40.53
A collectible bottle of Kentucky Eagle Bourbon Whiskey, which we think was produced in the early 1980s. The eagle on the bottle has a shield with the American flag on it tattooed on its chest. Ouch.  More info
$162.12
If the clock on the label of this 1970s Old Charter Kentucky Bourbon only moved forwards 1 hour every year, it would accurately tell you how old this bourbon it, as it's pointing at 7 o'clock and this...  More info
$202.64
A well aged whiskey from Old Rip Van Winkle, this bottling of Family Reserve has been aged for 15 years in heavily charred barrels, there is a high wheat con10t in the mashbill.  More info
Incredibly old for a bourbon, this bottling of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve was aged for 20 years and retains a beautiful sweetness, a perfect digestif bourbon.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$282.65
Jim Beam Black Label
(70cl, 43%)
The Black edition from Jim Beam is a marriage of whiskeys aged for 8 years before bottling at 43%, slightly higher than the standard bourbon proof, proffering greater complexity.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$37.57
Evan Williams is a single cask bourbon from the Jim Beam company, this 1997 vintage is the most recent bottling from the range and won a Silver Medal at the 1997 San Francisco World Spirits...  More info
A single barrel edition from Four Roses, this bottling has received marked acclaim with Gold Medals in the 2005 Whisky Magazine and the International Spirits Challenge respectively.  More info
$75.15
Buffalo Trace was first introduced in 1999 and is a marriage of no more than 45 barrels of 9 year old whiskey, Buffalo Trace is also bottled by hand.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Dating back to the late 1960s, this bottling of Jim Beam's classic white label is presented in a 1.9 litre bottle complete with handle for ease of pouring!  More info
$607.93
Old Grand-Dad - 1963
(75cl, 43%)
Wondering what to get your old Grand Dad? Why not a 1963 bottling of Old Grand-Dad Kentucky Bourbon? It's got his name already on it! Maybe cover up the "Old" bit to avoid offending him.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (1.0/5)
$405.29
An incredibly rare bottling of Jim Beam's 4 year old bourbon that dates from 1959 - over half a century ago!  More info
$506.61
A rare 6 year old straight bourbon from the 1960s produced for the Austrian market by the Frankfort Distilling Company.  More info
$303.97
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
$172.20
A 1990s bottling of Jim Beam White Label, a classic bourbon that is aged for 4 years. As with all Jim Beam whiskey this collectible has a high rye content, lending it a spicy character.  More info
$81.06
Joshua Brook is a Kentucky bourbon whiskey bottled by Frank-lin Distillers Products Ltd. This bottle dates from the 1990s.  More info
$81.06
This is a rare 1980s bottling of Four Roses Yellow Label, first created in the late 19th century. This is a deliciously spicy, rich bourbon aged for a minimum of 6 years before bottling.  More info
$121.59
This is the superb 2012 release of Parker's Heritage bourbon - a mix of some of Heaven Hill's best styles including rye- and wheat-based whiskey. The result of this is rich, buttery and full of spice.  More info
$195.50
A staggering single cask bourbon from the Blanton's range, this was distilled at Buffalo Trace and it was aged in barrel number 3 before bottling at natural cask strength (a whopping 131.9 proof!)...  More info
$135.70
This is the 2012 release of the Four Roses Single Barrel. This means this Bourbon has been bottled from one barrel only rather than a blend of multiple barrels.  More info
$144.43
This is the premium 10 year old version of Ancient Age - a Kentucky bourbon produced at Buffalo Trace. This is a rare old bottling from the 1980s.  More info
$162.12
Jim Beam has been making its famous Bourbon for many years. We've managed to get our hands on this bottle from the 1970s for you to see how the brand has developed over the years!  More info
$202.64
Blanton's regularly gets rave reviews so fans of this American whiskey will be pleased with this barrel strength whisky. Try Blanton's as it tastes in the cask!  More info
$122.28
Produced at the Heaven Hill distillery, Old Fitzgerald 1849 is a classic 8 year old bourbon, made with more wheat than rye. The result is a creamy, smooth whiskey. This is a rare edition, bottled in...  More info
$405.29
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