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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.

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
$22.96

Wild Turkey 81 Proof

70cl, 40.50%
Wild Turkey

A lower strength bourbon from Wild Turkey, bottled at 81 proof (40.5% abv) and created by the associate distiller Eddie Russell, the son of master distiller Jimmy Russell. This has a high rye content…  More info

Wild Turkey 81 Proof
16
$24.13

Marshall's Bourbon Whiskey

70cl, 40%
De Luxe Distilling Company

Marshall's is a good value for money Kentucky bourbon, evidently produced in Bardstown since 1935 (a few years after Prohibition was repealed).  More info

Marshall's Bourbon Whiskey
$25.48

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 69

70cl, 46.50%
Buffalo Trace

A Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon here, which was allowed to age in barrel #69 in the legendary Warehouse H.  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 69
$60.20

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
$23.28

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
$38.40

David Nicholson 1843

75cl, 50%
David Nicholson

A somewhat seldom-seen (at least on these shores) brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, David Nicholson 1843 shows off a big, bold flavour profile and is bottled at 50% ABV.  More info

David Nicholson 1843
$43.05

Evan Williams Extra Aged 43%

70cl, 43%
Heaven Hill

The "Extra" in "Evan Williams Extra" stands for extra aged, as it has been aged for seven years. Still made using techniques that Evan Williams used himself when he first made the fantastic bourbon…  More info

Evan Williams Extra Aged 43%
6
$26.82

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon 2015

70cl, 47%
Garrison Brothers

Straight bourbon from Garrison Brothers, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas! Highly rated by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible, this Lone Star state whisky is produced in Hye. (That's Hye, not…  More info

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon 2015
$81.52

Garrison Brothers Texas Single Barrel

70cl, 47%
Garrison Brothers

An exclusive UK single barrel bourbon (selected by Master Distiller Dennis Todd) from Garrison Brothers, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas. Their previous releases, at the time of writing,…  More info

Garrison Brothers Texas Single Barrel
1
$101.90

Rock Town Fifth Anniversary Bourbon 37.5cl

37cl, 50%
Rock Town

A limited edition bourbon distilled in 2011, a year after this fantastic distillery was founded, and aged for four years in 53 gallon barrels before being bottled in bond to celebrate Rock Town's…  More info

Rock Town Fifth Anniversary Bourbon 37.5cl
$74.69

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
$37.25

Stetson Bourbon

70cl, 42%
Stetson

Named for John B Stetson and originally launched for the German market, this bourbon honours the chap who invented a stalwart in my "top 7 hats" list, recently knocked off the number 3 spot by the…  More info

Stetson Bourbon
$34.60

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
$74.76

Kentucky Vintage 75cl

75cl, 45%
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co

Kentucky Vintage is a delicious small-batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. It's a classically styled whiskey with a lovely flavour. We can see it working very well in an Old-Fashioned.  More info

Kentucky Vintage 75cl
3
$35.91

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
$26.73

Old Pepper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

70cl, 43%
Royal Spring

The Pepper surname goes back in the history of bourbon, reaching into the 1700s! Could it be this legacy that this bottle of Old Pepper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is referencing with its…  More info

Old Pepper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
$27.63

Johnny Drum Black Label

70cl, 43%
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co

Johnny Drum Black Label has been made by a method that has remained unchanged for 5 generations of master distillers.  More info

Johnny Drum Black Label
$30.13

Jim Beam Black Label 6 Year Old - Triple Aged

70cl, 43%
Jim Beam

This is an updated version of the classic Jim Beam Black Label. This Bourbon has been aged for six years and is one of the most recognisable whisky brands in the world.  More info

Jim Beam Black Label 6 Year Old - Triple Aged
8
$24.66

Jim Beam White Label

70cl, 40%
Jim Beam

Jim Beam bourbon undergoes distillation at lower temperatures and is distilled to no more than 62.5%, the White label is aged for four years and has quite a high percentage of rye in the mashbill.  More info

Jim Beam White Label
62
$20.13

1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey

70cl, 50%
James E. Pepper & Co.

The Pepper name goes way back in terms of bourbon production, back to 1776. Even James E. Pepper nick-named the whiskey 'Old 1776'. However, in the latter half of the 1900s, the James E. Pepper name,…  More info

1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey
$50.04

Jefferson's Groth Reserve Cask Finish

75cl, 45.10%
McLain & Kyne

Jefferson's Reserve finished for nine months in casks that previously held Cabernet Sauvignon wine from Groth Vineyards in Napa Valley!  More info

Jefferson's Groth Reserve Cask Finish
$110.17

Ezra Brooks 12 Year Old (cask 599)

75cl, 49.50%
Ezra Brooks

Ezra Brooks single barrel bourbon, produced at Heaven Hill, matured for 12 years in heavily charred cask (#599) and bottled at 49.5% abv.  More info

Ezra Brooks 12 Year Old (cask 599)
$57.55

Michter's US*1 Bourbon

70cl, 45.70%
Michter's Distillery

The US*1 Bourbon from Michter's Distiller in Louisville, Kentucky, is made in small batches, typically comprised of no more than two dozen barrels. Top quality stuff, brimming with caramel, vanilla…  More info

Michter's US*1 Bourbon
$56.72

Hudson Four Grain Bourbon

35cl, 46%
Tuthilltown Spirits

Made with corn, rye, wheat and malted barley, this is a 4-grain bourbon from Tuthilltown Spirits, producers of the first legal pot-still whiskey in New York since prohibition! Each bottle is numbered…  More info

Hudson Four Grain Bourbon
$41.98

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