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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

Batshit Mental Ideas
Master of Malt Single Cask Whisky
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Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
That Boutique-y Whisky Company
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A bottle of Jim Beam White Label, produced in 1979, the same year as the classic 'Life of Brian'. The label is a tiny bit torn in places, but look on the bright side of life and you'll see that this...  More info
$147.38
A large 1970s bottle of Jim Beam White Label Bourbon, which is aged for four years before it's bottled. Unfortunately, while this bottle is bigger than your average one, they didn't actually put its...  More info
$221.07
A 1970s bottling of Old Crow Traveler Kentucky Straight Bourbon, produced for the Italian market. A rare, old example of "The Original Sour Mash".  More info
$221.07
This is an ancient bottle of Kentucky Boat Bourbon Whiskey, produced over 30 years ago in the 1970s. Is the name (and the wonderful label) a reference to how bourbon used to be transported from...  More info
$184.22
A 1990s bottle of Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon, labelled 8 years old.  More info
$110.53
Dating from 1995, this bottle of "Austin Nichols" Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon is labelled 8 years old.  More info
$110.53
An interestingly shaped Traveler bottle of Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which we believe was produced in the 1960s. Highly sought after by collectors.  More info
$276.34
Maker's Mark - 1990s
(70cl, 45%)
Good old Maker's Mark from the 1990s, made with red winter wheat rather than rye.  More info
$110.53
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
$45.98
A half bottle of Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon from the 1970s, labelled 6 years old.  More info
$110.53
This collectible 1960s bottling of Beam's Choice 8 Year Old bourbon, is presented in a decanter featuring Frans Hals' "Boy Holding A Flute". The boy seems to be holding his hand up for a high-five -...  More info
$276.34
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
$104.12
The sublime Colonel E.H. Taylor straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey, presented at barrel proof - uncut and unfiltered, as the bottle proudly proclaims. Sitting at a staggering 67.3% ABV, this will...  More info
$223.83
This classy character is a bottle of Walker's De Luxe 8 Year Old, produced in the 1960s and presented in a very stylish decanter. For those of you at home that think the name sounds familiar, you...  More info
$368.45
This is a beautiful bottle of Old Taylor bourbon, which we believe to have been produced in the 1960s. The Old Taylor brand was named after Colonel E. H. Taylor, a legendary figure in American whiskey...  More info
$368.45
A simply gorgeous decanter of I. W. Harper Gold Medal Straight Bourbon, which we think was produced in 1960. Though it may look just a little bit like a bottle of aftershave, it truly is a magnificent...  More info
$368.45
Old Grand-Dad - 1987
(75cl, 40%)
If Willie Stokes is the same age as Billy Bob Thornton who plays him, then he'd have been 32 in 1987 when this Kentucky bourbon was bottled. You know, he was that department store Santa. An eating...  More info
$184.22
A 2013 release single barrel release of Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, produced using their OBSK recipe with a mashbill of 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley. These have proved very...  More info
$131.06
Booker's True Barrel is a thoroughly superb straight-from-the-barrel bourbon, which is bottled uncut and unfiltered at enjoyably generous ABVs. Aged between 6 and 8 years, these are always a treat...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$102.72
Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey in its older style of bottle, and aged for at least 8 years. Excellent value bourbon, this is - well aged and packed with brown sugar and vanilla...  More info
$41.80
A single barrel bottling of Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey, bottled at a generous 56.5% ABV. This edition came from cask 228, which had a small outturn of 65 bottles. Other bottlings from the Rock...  More info
$95.11
Kentucky Gentleman
(70cl, 40%)
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
$25.32
A very interesting release from Jim Beam, their Distiller's Masterpiece has been treated to a longer ageing duration than their standard bourbon, and has then been finished in Pedro Ximénez casks to...  More info
$413.54
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is an utter classic small batch bourbon from Jim Beam, first created by Booker Noe and introduced in 1992. It was named after the creek which flows near...  More info
$44.20
Another fantastic Blanton's Original Single Barrel bottling, a top quality bourbon from the Buffalo Trace's collection of brands. This particular release was drawn from barrel 284 - if that happens to...  More info
$91.33
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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.