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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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From the 2012 release of Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection, William Larue Weller's high proof bourbon is a true monster, exploding with cinnamon, vanilla and massive spice. Truly a delicious whiskey.  More info
$191.73
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)
$50.12
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 (2.0/5)
$35.80
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
$579.25
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
$129.30
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
$84.28
Blanton's, in all its iterations and guises, holds a special place in the hallowed halls of the very finest products the world has ever known. In a recent and quite possibly fictitious test, Blanton's...  More info
$135.08
Jim Hansell of Malt Advocate rated this 2009 release of William Larue Weller an amazing 96 points! A great bourbon from Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection.  More info
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
We had the immense pleasure of trying this at Whisky Live, really great stuff; Van Winkle 23 is a super bourbon of epic proportions. They release yearly batches of this, all of which sell out rather...  More info
$584.62
This is an antique bottling of Jim Beam's eight year old whiskey presented in a decanter commemorating Beethoven, the composer not the dog...  More info
$71.02
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
$71.60
We loved the first two Jefferson's bourbons - classic US whiskeys with great balance. This 17 year old is bottled at higher strength and it's aged for a substantial amount more than the others - we're...  More info
$167.26
Hot pot of coffee! This in an antique decanter of 8 year old Jim Beam bourbon which double as a '50s style carafe, complete with starburst decals and diner label. It comes with a piece of kit that...  More info
$386.16
This is a 1996 bottling of the Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon with an abv of 50%.  More info
$77.23
A collectible bottle of the well known Jim Beam Black 8 Year old, from the 2000s.  More info
$57.92
A 4 year old Jim Beam bourbon, this bottle of white label is a rare collector's piece, bottled during the 1970s.  More info
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
$386.16
A staggering bourbon from Four Roses, this is made by the Master Distiller who hand-selects four whiskeys from the company's ten different recipes and creates Small Batch. These bourbons are aged for...  More info
$185.97
This is the Jim Beam Bourbon presented in a decanter shaped like, well, like an armadillo... probably collectable but certainly amusing!  More info
$71.02
A 4/5 quart, very rare blue glass decanter bottle of Jim Beam 8 year old. A real collector's item...  More info
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
This is the Jim Beam Bourbon presented in a special decanter and is a collectable item.

*Please note that the level of whiskey has dropped considerably*  More info
$71.02
George T Stagg is an utterly superb high strength bourbon. Weighing in at a potent 71.3%. Every year this is a critically acclaimed whiskey from Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection. Roughly 15 years...  More info
A rare, old 1980s bottling of the astonishingly lovely Wild Turkey 101 proof, aged for eight years and bottled at 50.5% abv...  More info
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