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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.

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
$28.36

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 577

70cl, 46.5%
Buffalo Trace

A bottling of Blanton's Original Single Barrel bourbon, drawn from barrel #577. Big fans of these handsome bottlings, we are. Please Note: Unfortunately, the gold wax atop these Straight From The…  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 577
$52.99

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
$31.77

Koval Bourbon

50cl, 47%
Koval

Koval bourbon is made with 51% corn (the minimum required for a bourbon) with the rest of the mashbill being made up by millet. This unusual choice, used to make distilled spirits in Nepal, is…  More info

Koval Bourbon
$44.50

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
$23.41

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
$31.81

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 159

70cl, 46.5%
Buffalo Trace

Delicious single barrel bourbon from the Blanton's Original Single Barrel range. This particular bottling was drawn from barrel #159 and bottled at 46.5% ABV. The guy on the horse seems pretty stoked.  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 159
$52.99

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
$26.59

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
$25.01

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
$71.88

Rock Town Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon

75cl, 57.4%
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
$71.08

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
11
$22.53

Early Times Old Reserve

70cl, 40%
Early Times Distillery

Early Times Old Reserve Kentucky bourbon - a tasty expression from a very long-running brand. Interestingly, Early Times have their own cooperage to create the barrels that their whiskey ages in! A…  More info

Early Times Old Reserve
$21.27

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
$24.52

Wild Turkey 81 Proof

70cl, 40.5%
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
15
$23.22

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (bottled 2014)

70cl, 43.3%
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)
2
$34.65

Jim Beam Double Oak

70cl, 43%
Jim Beam

A new permanent addition to the Jim Beam range, aged in freshly charred American oak barrels before being moved to a fresh set of freshly charred American oak barrels for the second part of its…  More info

Jim Beam Double Oak
2
$29.12

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
$38.98

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
5
$29.65

Jim Beam Devils Cut

70cl, 45%
Jim Beam

This is the result of taking 90 proof Jim Beam Bourbon and extracting spirit absorbed into the wood of the barrels itself and blending them together. The result is a punchy oak-fest of a Bourbon,…  More info

Jim Beam Devils Cut
22
$26.20

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof (69.4%)

70cl, 69.4%
Heaven Hill

A barrel proof bottling of Elijah Craig 12 Year Old bourbon. Absolutely incredible stuff - powerful but not clumsy, it's an intense and awesome bit of whiskey deliciousness. This has been bottled at…  More info

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof (69.4%)
1
$100.72

Ezra Brooks 12 Year Old (cask 599)

75cl, 49.5%
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)
$52.99

Old Ezra 7 Year Old

70cl, 50.5%
Ezra Brooks

A 7 year old sour mash bourbon from the Ezra Brooks range (though on this one you'll find the name 'Old Ezra' emblazoned on the label).  More info

Old Ezra 7 Year Old
$44.32

Rowan's Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon

75cl, 50.1%
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co

A 75cl bottling of Rowan's Creek small batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Co. who also produce Noah's Mill. Smooth, rounded spicy and fruity 12 year old whiskey. Yummy.  More info

Rowan's Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon
3
$43.45

Johnny Drum Private Stock (70cl)

70cl, 50.5%
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
$44.91

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