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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.

Jefferson's Bourbon

75cl, 41.20%
McLain & Kyne

A limited release, small batch artisan bourbon. This is very unusual, and offers a thoroughly distinctive flavour profile, thanks to its 6 to 10 year ageing in very lightly charred (Number 1 char)…  More info

Jefferson's Bourbon
20
$37.64

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
$67.84

Dry Fly Washington Bourbon 101

70cl, 50.50%
Dry Fly Distilling

A flavoursome bourbon from Dry Fly Distillers in Spokane, Washington, which was "100% hand crafted in the Pacific Northwest with real hands", as the label proudly proclaims. It's presented at 101…  More info

Dry Fly Washington Bourbon 101
$74.22

Old Grand-Dad

70cl, 40%
Jim Beam

Traditional bourbon from one of the oldest whiskey brands around, now bottled at the lower abv of 40%.  More info

Old Grand-Dad
4
$28.18

Basil Hayden's Bourbon 70cl

70cl, 40%
Kentucky Springs Distilling Co

Basil Hayden's Bourbon dates back to 1796, when master distiller Basil Hayden used a traditional corn base, but mixed in small grains with the mash. A Kentucky straight bourbon with plenty of rye at…  More info

Basil Hayden's Bourbon 70cl
5
$54.16

Kentucky Gentleman

70cl, 40%
Barton Distilling Company

A long-running brand, Kentucky Gentleman is a simple value-for-money bourbon with handsomely retro packaging. Evidently, the name dates back to 1879 - over 100 years ago!  More info

Kentucky Gentleman
2
$23.43

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
13
$20.13

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Jim Beam

The Jim Beam Signature Craft is the Kentucky distillery's small batch range of bourbons, including this 12 year old expression. The 12 years in the barrel seems to have been just the right amount of…  More info

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old
5
$37.96

Rock Town Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon

75cl, 57.40%
Rock Town

Another of Rock Town's well-regarded single barrel bourbon releases, which have received scores as high as 96.5 points in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible! Milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, aged,…  More info

Rock Town Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon
$73.33

Johnny Drum Private Stock (70cl)

70cl, 50.50%
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co

A cask strength bourbon, this is the flagship bourbon from the Johnny Drum range of handmade bourbons, produced in small batches. (Previously a 15 year old.)  More info

Johnny Drum Private Stock (70cl)
6
$46.33

John E. Fitzgerald Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon

100cl, 46%
Heaven Hill

The famous bourbon brand Old Fitzgerald was named for John E. Fitzgerald, who according to a family biography of Pappy Van Winkle may have been a rather more colourful character than we…  More info

John E. Fitzgerald Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon
5
$50.87

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 143

70cl, 46.50%
Buffalo Trace

Brilliant Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon, drawn from but one barrel matured in the legendary Warehouse H, just like what the Colonel Blanton used to treat his friends and family with.…  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 143
$65.48

Maker's Mark

70cl, 45%
Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark maintain that they distil their bourbon to the lowest proof of any US whiskey distillery. This proffers a bourbon that retains a rich flavour. Developed by Bill Samuels Sr, he replaced…  More info

Maker's Mark
63
$28.12

Hudson Baby Bourbon

35cl, 46%
Tuthilltown Spirits

Hudson Baby Bourbon is the first legal pot-still whiskey to be produced in New York since prohibition! In the days before prohibition farm distillers could be found throughout the state of New…  More info

Hudson Baby Bourbon
1
$44.69

PennyPacker Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

70cl, 40%
PennyPacker

PennyPacker is a good value Bourbon with all sorts of very American items on the label, like the American flag, American pennies and a particularly honest American President.  More info

PennyPacker Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
$25.80

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof (64%)

70cl, 64%
Heaven Hill

This batch of 12 year old Elijah Craig Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey was bottled at a barrel proof (or cask strength) of 64% abv. A truly stunning expression, with everything you want from barrel…  More info

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof (64%)
$103.90

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (bottled 2014)

70cl, 43.30%
Heaven Hill

The Single Barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey releases from Evan Williams are always a treat. They're well made, aged for around 9 years and offer great value for money. Ace. This is the 2004…  More info

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (bottled 2014)
5
$36.98

Four Roses Bourbon

70cl, 40%
Four Roses

A brand that dates back to the late 19 century. This Yellow Label bottling of Four Roses was released for the European and Japanese markets and is made up of whiskeys aged between 5 and 6 years of…  More info

Four Roses Bourbon
13
$23.24

Old Forester Bourbon

70cl, 43%
Old Forester

Old Forester Bourbon was the first to be sold in America in sealed glass bottles, to avoid any unsavoury folks tampering with their carefully-considered recipe. It was first seen on shelves back in…  More info

Old Forester Bourbon
3
$37.15

Jefferson's Ocean: Aged At Sea

75cl, 45%
McLain & Kyne

An exciting release from the Jefferson's range, this bourbon is initially matured on land for the lion's share of its maturation, before embarking on a sea-faring voyage, crossing the equator 4…  More info

Jefferson's Ocean: Aged At Sea
4
$98.44

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
21
$22.80

Evan Williams White Label

70cl, 50%
Heaven Hill

A classic in every sense of the word, Evan Williams White Label Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is a favourite of the back-bar around the world. Bottled at a higher ABV than the regular Evan…  More info

Evan Williams White Label
$32.78

Ezra Brooks Black Label Bourbon

70cl, 40%
Ezra Brooks

This is the entry level bourbon from the Ezra Brooks range, which was first produced back in the 1950s. These days it's produced by Heaven Hill in Kentucky. Good value for money, this one, and well…  More info

Ezra Brooks Black Label Bourbon
$26.54

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
$28.44

Evan Williams 1783

70cl, 43%
Heaven Hill

A superb Kentucky straight bourbon from Evan Williams, produced in small batches. The 1783 expression is named after the year that Evan Williams set up his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River.  More info

Evan Williams 1783
3
$30.58

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