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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 Whisky

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Bourbon Whisky Across Countries

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Vintage Cocktails
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)
$36.15
When the Smooth Ambler folks are out and about, they'll come across a great bourbon, as you do (remind me to visit America some time soon), and bottle it under the Old Scout name in homage to the...  More info
$77.24
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)
$56.26
Hudson Baby Bourbon
(35cl, 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)
$76.88
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
$88.36
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
$82.16
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)
$36.56
Single Barrel bourbon from Buffalo trace. Huge depth of flavour and a beautiful decanter to boot.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$129.44
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
$43.51
The Jim Beam Signature Craft is the Kentucky distillery's small batch range of bourbons, including this 12 year old expression. The 12 years in the barrel seems to have been just the right amount of...  More info
$65.38
Made with corn, rye, wheat and malted barley, this is a 4-grain bourbon from Tuthilltown Spirits, producers of the first legal pot-still whiskey in New York since prohibition! Each bottle is numbered...  More info
$76.73
Charter 101 Bourbon
(75cl, 50.50%)
A rye-rich Kentucky straight bourbon, bottled at 50.5% ABV. The Old Charter brand has been around since the late 1800s, so when you read on the bottle that it was distilled "using the old, time-proven...  More info
$50.90
A 1970s bottling of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from I.W. Harper, produced for the Italian market.  More info
$199.34
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
$299.01
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
$41.86
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)
$27.82
An old bottling of Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Or 'Old, Old Crow', if you will. If you won't, then let's just agree to call it 'Olden Days Old Crow' and be done with it. If you won't accept...  More info
$199.34
The famous bourbon brand Old Fitzgerald was named for John E. Fitzgerald, who according to a family biography of Pappy Van Winkle may have been a rather more colourful character than we...  More info
$77.23
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
$74.75
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
$50.15
Remarkably great value well-aged straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey. Previously a 15 year old, Johnny Drum Private Stock is made in small batches and is hugely satisfying.

This is a 75cl bottling.  More info
$60.28
American Prairie Reserve is named after the impressive 5,000 square mile wildlife reserve in northeastern Montana, the largest in the lower 48 states. High West are also donating 10% of post tax...  More info
$81.58
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

Made to commemorate the brave soul that was John J. Bowman, who explored the American frontier in 1775, presided over Kentucky's first county court and was the great, great...  More info
$104.14
This handmade 12 year old Johnny Drum has been made by a method that has remained unchanged for 5 generations of master distillers.  More info
$42.74
A 4 year old bourbon from Heaven Hill. This is quite a smooth and easy style of bourbon.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$30.32
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