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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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Popular Bourbon Whiskey Vintages

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"Eau de I. W. Harper... '12 year old'."

Oh, hold on - this isn't a massive aftershave bottle! It's whiskey from the 1970s!  More info
$218.70
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

A special single barrel release from the craft distillery that brought us the first ever Texan whisky. This release marks 5 years since Chip Tate founded Balcones (which...  More info
$182.18
This collectible 1970s bottling of Old Kentucky Tavern 8 Year Old Bourbon has survived through the ages very well to reach us here in the future.  More info
$273.38
Buffalo Trace was first introduced in 1999 and is a marriage of no more than 45 barrels of 9 year old whiskey, Buffalo Trace is also bottled by hand.  More info
User Rating:  (8 Reviews)
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
$67.59
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
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:  (9 Reviews)
$33.79
This bottling of Van Winkle Special Reserve was aged for 12 years, it received a Gold medal at the 2008 International Wine and Spirit Competition, bottled at 90.4 proof, this is a smooth, mature...  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
$118.65
Incredibly old for a bourbon, this bottling of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve was aged for 20 years and retains a beautiful sweetness, a perfect digestif bourbon.  More info
User Rating:  (16 Reviews)
$254.21
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
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
$79.55
Stone Cold Steve Austin would certainly approve of barrel 3(:)16 of Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon. Still produced in the famous Warehouse H. That's single 'H', not triple 'H'.  More info
$79.55
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

Part of Buffalo Trace's 2013 edition of their Antique Collection, The William Laure Weller Bourbon doesn't fail to make an impression. Bottled at "barrel proof", a...  More info
$190.01
A 2000s bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Bourbon, still produced by the Van Winkle family today, although now they do so at the Buffalo Trace distillery. Their bourbon is made with corn, wheat...  More info
$218.70
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
$218.70
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
$164.03
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
$182.25
Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon has been produced since the late 19th century. This bottle of their 6 year old bourbon is nowhere near that old, although it is a rather handsome antique from the 1970s.  More info
$182.25
Although Evan Williams White Label is now their 'Bottled in Bond' bourbon, when this bottle was produced in the 1980s, their white label was reserved for bourbon aged for 8 years.  More info
$145.80
A 1980s bottling of Heaven Hill 5 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon, from the famous Heaven Hill Distillery who also produce Evan Williams Bourbon. Comes with a rather snazzy presentation box.  More info
$145.80
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
$109.35
A seldom seen bottle of Jeffrey 3 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon, prdocued in the 1980s.  More info
$109.35
If the clock on the label of this 1970s Old Charter Kentucky Bourbon only moved forwards 1 hour every year, it would accurately tell you how old this bourbon it, as it's pointing at 7 o'clock and this...  More info
$182.25
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
$36.45
Owned by the guitarist and singer of the rock band Jackyl (who also happens to be called Jesse James) this 3 year matured bourbon is a rare collectible from the 1990s, made in honour of the rough...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
$36.45
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