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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.

Blanton's Special Reserve

70cl, 40%
Buffalo Trace

Special Reserve is a lower strength single barrel bourbon from Blanton's. Each bottle is hand-filled, hand-labeled, hand-sealed and individually numbered.  More info

Blanton's Special Reserve
8
$46.59

Willett's Pot Still Reserve

75cl, 47%
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co

A small batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, packaged in an unusual, and rather smart Pot Still shaped bottle.  More info

Willett's Pot Still Reserve
23
$56.73

Stagg Jr. 66.05%

75cl, 66.10%
Buffalo Trace

'Like father, like son.' Stagg Jr. bourbon features many of the characteristics of one of Buffalo Trace's most sought after expressions, the George T. Stagg. It's big and bold with a high ABV, though…  More info

Stagg Jr. 66.05%
3
$91.19

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon

70cl, 49.50%
Smooth Ambler

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

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon
4
$60.78

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 9 Year Old Bourbon (cask 1868) Single Barrel Release

75cl, 55.60%
Smooth Ambler

Smooth Ambler's Old Scout Single Barrel releases have proved very popular indeed - John Little and the Smooth Ambler team certainly know how to pick excellent whiskeys. This is another stunning…  More info

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 9 Year Old Bourbon (cask 1868) Single Barrel Release
3
$89.98

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old

70cl, 45%
Buffalo Trace

Single barrel bourbon from the Buffalo Trace distillery in a new 70cl bottle. This stuff is great and good value for money too.  More info

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
19
$46.63

Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon

75cl, 50%
Smooth Ambler

A bourbon of two sides from Smooth Ambler. Their Contradiction Bourbon is made with a blends of two whiskeys - one is a rather young wheated bourbon distilled by Smooth Ambler themselves, the other…  More info

Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon
2
$80.24

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon (56.4%)

70cl, 56.40%
Wild Turkey

The Wild Turkey Rare Breed bottle has received a little bit of a redesign, it has! The shape is the same as before, but the label is new and shiny, as is the presentation tube (with focus on the…  More info

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon (56.4%)
2
$58.34

Heaven Hill Bourbon

70cl, 40%
Heaven Hill

A classic Kentucky straight bourbon from Heaven Hill, aged for around four years. This is quite a smooth and easy style of bourbon.  More info

Heaven Hill Bourbon
18
$24.13

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection - Four Wood

70cl, 47.20%
Woodford Reserve

This is the 2012 edition of Woodford Reserve's Master's Collection - the Four Wood (nothing to do with golf). This was initially matured in American oak, then finished in a selection of Maple Wood,…  More info

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection - Four Wood
$175.02

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

70cl, 43.20%
Woodford Reserve

It's finally here - the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. This expression begins life being aged in the same way as the classic Woodford Reserve, but following this, it…  More info

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
8
$56.08

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 12 Year Old

70cl, 47%
Heaven Hill

Elijah Craig was named for a reverend who lived in Virginia. He kept a warehouse where he stored barrels and one day experienced a devastating fire. He used the charred casks regardless and found…  More info

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 12 Year Old
80
$42.32

Booker's 7 Year Old True Barrel Bourbon 63.7%

70cl, 63.70%
Jim Beam

Stunning cask strength Kentucky straight bourbon from the Booker's True Barrel series - a fantastic line from the Jim Beam range named after the one and only Booker Noe. This one has been bottled at…  More info

Booker's 7 Year Old True Barrel Bourbon 63.7%
1
$75.71

Michter's US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon Limited Release

70cl, 45.70%
Michter's Distillery

Ever wondered what would happen if you took Michter's US*1 Bourbon (matured in charred American oak) and then went and gave it an additional maturation in toasted, but not charred, barrels (made with…  More info

Michter's US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon Limited Release
1
$75.42

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

70cl, 45%
Four Roses

The Small Batch bottling is one of the select few releases from Four Roses. This edition was given a Five Stars in 2007 by Spirit Journal as well as a Silver Medal at the 2007 International Spirits…  More info

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
12
$32.47

Heaven Hill - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 50%
Heaven Hill

That Boutique-y Whisky Company continues to explore the wonderful world of American whiskey with their first batch of independently bottled bourbon from Heaven Hill! Top stuff from a legendary…  More info

Heaven Hill - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
7
$99.70

Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof

70cl, 50%
Four Roses

A great single barrel bourbon from Four Roses. Plummy and fruity with lots of character and at higher strength. This won Whisky Magazine's 2008 Best Bourbon Whiskey No Age award, as well as a host of…  More info

Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof
22
$48.30

Bulleit Bourbon

70cl, 45%
Bulleit

Enjoy Bulleit Bourbon like the Americans do! Previously it has been bottled at 40% abv for the UK market, but now you can get the Frontier Whiskey at 45% abv, just like they have in Kentucky. A…  More info

Bulleit Bourbon
26
$30.88

Buffalo Trace

70cl, 40%
Buffalo Trace

The new edition of the classic Kentucky straight bourbon, Buffalo Trace. A great whiskey, with oodles of vanilla, barrel char and spicy complexity.  More info

Buffalo Trace
70
$29.36

Benchmark Bourbon Old Number 8

70cl, 40%
Buffalo Trace

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

Benchmark Bourbon Old Number 8
12
$25.45

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 540

70cl, 46.50%
Buffalo Trace

Blanton's original Single Barrel is a must-try for American whiskey enthusiasts - each one is made with bourbon drawn from a single cask, not blended with any other whiskies. Well worth having a…  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 540
$73.30

Wild Turkey 101

70cl, 50.50%
Wild Turkey

This bottling of Wild Turkey has been aged for at least 6 years before coming out of the barrel at 109 proof, it is only diluted slightly before bottling at 101 proof with plenty of pep.  More info

Wild Turkey 101
49
$37.43

Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch

75cl, 50%
Buffalo Trace

This small batch bourbon is named after Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, an incredibly important figure in bourbon's history from the 1800s who owned a whole host of distilleries and innovated…  More info

Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch
12
$127.54

Jim Beam Green Label

70cl, 40%
Jim Beam

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

Jim Beam Green Label
3
$31.62

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon

70cl, 43.20%
Woodford Reserve

The mashbill for Woodford Reserve features a high percentage of rye: 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malt. Unusual also for being triple distilled and having the lowest proof upon entering the barrel where…  More info

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon
86
$36.83

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