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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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Master of Malt Whisky Liqueurs
Prepare yourself for hellz-a-poppin' good times, Blanton's Straight from the Barrel is the very finest thing there is in all of the world. Oh my. This stuff is a sour mash whiskey, distilled from a...  More info
$104.86
Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon is a favourite of many, and it's not hard to see why. Fantastic notes of vanilla, warm caramel, chocolate and orange, who wouldn't love to be served up a glass...  More info
$100.08
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
$181.68
Benchmark by name, benchmark by nature. This really is one for the more well Bourbon producers to beat, and despite its status as an outsider, really warrants some attention - especially if cocktails...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$36.30
Eagle Rare is a great single barrel bourbon from the Buffalo Trace distillery. This 10 year old expression was very well-rated by Spirit Journal's F Paul Pacult.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$61.99
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
$194.76
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
$131.22
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
$80.75
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
$100.94
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
$201.87
Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon, coming from barrel 19, which is the same shirt number that Tore André Flo had when he played for Chelsea F.C. in 1997. Why do we know this? We don't really...  More info
$100.08
Barrel 115 of Blanton's Original Single Barrel was emptied in 2005! Somehow, this bottle has survived since then without being opened.  More info
$100.94
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
$121.12
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
$121.12
This bottle of Jim Beam's classic White Label that dates from the 2000s.  More info
$40.37
Ultra-cool. Four roses Bourbon from the time of Gordon Gecko.  More info
$121.12
Evan Williams Extra
(70cl, 43.30%)
A darkly hued sour mash bourbon, aged for seven years. Rich feinty flavours like leather, vanilla and toffee. Very enjoyable.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$41.27
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
$161.50
A 1960s edition of 8 year old Jim Beam packaged in a sunburst red glass decanter bottle. Very rare stuff…  More info
Echo Spring
(75cl, 40%)
A 4 year old bourbon, Echo Spring is produced at Heaven Hill.  More info
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
$40.37
A collectible bottle of the well known Jim Beam Black 8 Year old, from the 2000s.  More info
$60.56
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
$143.88
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
$40.37
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
$242.25
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