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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 Whiskey Across Countries

Bourbon Whisky Across Countries

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This is a twelve year old Bourbon from the Heaven Hill Distillery bottled by Murray McDavid of Bruichladdich fame.  More info
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
From the 2011 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
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$165.17
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
$38.50
This bottle of Jim Beam's classic White Label that dates from the 2000s.  More info
$38.50
Rowan's Creek is a small batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co. This has a very smooth, rounded character with lovely spicy, fruity flavours.  More info
$61.54
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
$231.03
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
$115.51
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
$115.51
Barrel 115 of Blanton's Original Single Barrel was emptied in 2005! Somehow, this bottle has survived since then without being opened.  More info
$96.26
Colonel Albert B. Blanton was the first to bottle single barrel bourbon years and years ago for his own personal reserve. Luckily, now we can all pretend were are the Colonel. This bottle of Blanton's...  More info
$95.44
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
$192.52
Wild Turkey as it was enjoyed by good ole boys in the early 1980s. The bottle is in great shape which probably can't be said for the good ole boys themselves. The seal is intact.  More info
$154.02
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
$77.01
A new 75cl bottle and label (which features a rather intense looking fellow with an intimidating beard) for Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old, bottled at 107 proof. It's still an awesome bourbon, packed...  More info
$119.12
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
$125.14
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
$96.26
A seldom seen bottle of Jeffrey 3 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon, prdocued in the 1980s.  More info
$115.51
This is a rare 1980s bottling of Kentucky Colonel - a 4 year old bourbon from Kentucky. This is a collectible edition which was bottled especially for the Italian market.  More info
$154.02
Although these days Beam's Choice is a 5 year old Kentucky bourbon, for a long time, it was an 8 year old. This bottle, which was released in 1979, features the 8 year old Jim Beam bourbon.  More info
$231.03
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
$95.44
The Master's Rare Bourbon brand was founded in 1836, although this bottling dates from the 1970s.  More info
$192.52
If (like us) you've always loved the shape and style of Elijah Craig's bourbon bottles, you'll be very pleased to hear that even all the way back in the not-so-distant past of 1993, they were just as...  More info
$115.51
10 year old Ancient Age Bourbon, which is now the brand's 10 Star expression, from the 1980s. Ancient Age is now owned by Buffalo Trace. A very rare bottle, complete with the fancy presentation box.  More info
$154.02
With a horse atop the bottle, you know it's Blanton's bourbon. This bottling of their excellent Original Single Barrel was taken from barrel 87 on the 6th of September, 2012.  More info
$95.44
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ATOM Supplies Ltd trading as Master of Malt. Registered office: North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1BE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 3193057, VAT number GB 662241553.