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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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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
$70.39
In the year 1792, Kentucky became a state. 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is named after that wonderful year. It's a spicy, rye-rich bourbon which is just asking to be...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
$90.03
Baker's 7 Year Old
(70cl, 53.50%)
An excellent small batch bourbon, named for the grand nephew of Jim Beam, Baker Beam. This is a well-aged expression which makes use of a special strain of jug yeast which the Beam family have made...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$70.24
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
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$76.65
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
$278.78
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
User Rating:  (10 Reviews)
$27.07
Blanton's Gold Edition
(70cl, 51.50%)
A superb single barrel bourbon. Blanton's Gold is distilled from a mashbill of corn, rye and malted barley. Each bottle is hand filled, sealed, labeled and individually numbered.  More info
User Rating:  (9 Reviews)
$111.67
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
$92.14
Blanton's Original Single Barrel began as Colonel Blanton's private reserve, but these days people the world over can enjoy top quality single barrel bourbon from the Buffalo Trace distillery! This...  More info
$92.14
Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon, matured in Warehouse H and drawn from barrel 294. These are excellent bourbons from the Blanton's range - if you're a big American whiskey buff, you should...  More info
$92.14
This is another fabulous bottling of Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon - a properly awesome range. This one came from barrel 311, which should make anyone who was paying attention to American...  More info
$92.14
Another top quality Blanton's bourbon from their Original Single Barrel range. This one in particular was drawn from 315, which matured in Warehouse H, one of Colonel Blanton's favourite warehouses on...  More info
$92.14
From the Blanton's range comes yet another cracking Original Single Barrel bourbon - this one drawn from barrel 317. As ever, these are matured in the famous Warehouse H, which Colonel Blanton felt...  More info
$92.14
Blanton's Original Single Barrel first started as Colonel Blanton's private reserve, made for friends, family and dignitaries. Nowadays it's more readily available, so you too can pretend to be the...  More info
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Booker's True Barrel Bourbon is a full-bodied, intense whiskey from the Jim Beam range, named in honour of Booker Noe, their former Master Distiller. Presented uncut and unfiltered, after a 6-to-8...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$96.38
A rare bourbon from The Bourbon de Luxe Distillery Company, based in Frankfort. This spirit was bottled at some time during the 1970s…

Already sold out? Not to worry, we have plenty more Antique...  More info
$278.78
Breckenridge Bourbon
(75cl, 43%)
A wonderful small batch high-rye bourbon produced in Colorado. The mash bill for Breckenridge contains 56% yellow corn, 38% green rye and 6% unmalted barley, and it's aged for 2 to 3 years in American...  More info
User Rating:  (3 Reviews)
$108.34
Buffalo Trace
(70cl, 40%)
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
User Rating:  (46 Reviews)
$37.37
Bulleit Bourbon
(70cl, 45%)
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
User Rating:  (6 Reviews)
$37.47
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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...  More info
User Rating:  (8 Reviews)
$137.36
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
$105.04
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
User Rating:  (11 Reviews)
$59.37
12 year old Elijah Craig Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, bottled at a sturdy barrel proof of 66.2% ABV. A truly stunning expression, with everything you want from barrel strength, well-aged bourbon...  More info
$116.08
A barrel proof bottling of hugely flavoursome 12 year old Elijah Craig Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. Sitting at a sturdy 67.4% ABV, it's an intense bourbon, so perhaps a drop or two of water...  More info
$116.08
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 they...  More info
User Rating:  (52 Reviews)
$53.96
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