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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.

Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof

70cl, 50%
Four Roses

A great single barrel bourbon from Four Roses. Plummy and fruity with lots of character and at higher strength. This won Whisky Magazine's 2008 Best Bourbon Whiskey No Age award, as well as a host of…  More info

Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof
23
$43.75

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
$20.54

1792 Small Batch Bourbon

75cl, 46.90%
Barton Distilling Company

In the year 1792, Kentucky became a state. 1792 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is named after that wonderful year. It's a spicy, rye-rich bourbon which is just asking to be enjoyed on a sunny evening with…  More info

1792 Small Batch Bourbon
8
$54.15

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
$23.21

Fighting Cock 6 Year Old

75cl, 51.50%
Heaven Hill

Bottled at 103 proof (or 51.5% if you are a fellow Limey), this higher strength proffers a far more punchy character. Fighting Cock is a Kentucky bourbon aged for 6 years.  More info

Fighting Cock 6 Year Old
9
$32.29

Baker's 7 Year Old

70cl, 53.50%
Jim Beam

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

Baker's 7 Year Old
1
$50.30

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

70cl, 43.20%
Woodford Reserve

It's finally here - the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. This expression begins life being aged in the same way as the classic Woodford Reserve, but following this, it…  More info

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
8
$50.80

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
$65.95

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon (56.4%)

70cl, 56.40%
Wild Turkey

The Wild Turkey Rare Breed bottle has received a little bit of a redesign, it has! The shape is the same as before, but the label is new and shiny, as is the presentation tube (with focus on the…  More info

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon (56.4%)
3
$52.86

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

70cl, 45%
Four Roses

The Small Batch bottling is one of the select few releases from Four Roses. This edition was given a Five Stars in 2007 by Spirit Journal as well as a Silver Medal at the 2007 International Spirits…  More info

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
12
$29.42

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection - Four Wood

70cl, 47.20%
Woodford Reserve

This is the 2012 edition of Woodford Reserve's Master's Collection - the Four Wood (nothing to do with golf). This was initially matured in American oak, then finished in a selection of Maple Wood,…  More info

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection - Four Wood
$158.57

Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch

75cl, 50%
Buffalo Trace

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 distilleries and innovated…  More info

Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch
13
$104.65

Booker's 7 Year Old True Barrel Bourbon 63.7%

70cl, 63.70%
Jim Beam

Stunning cask strength Kentucky straight bourbon from the Booker's True Barrel series - a fantastic line from the Jim Beam range named after the one and only Booker Noe. This one has been bottled at…  More info

Booker's 7 Year Old True Barrel Bourbon 63.7%
2
$68.60

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 12 Year Old

70cl, 47%
Heaven Hill

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…  More info

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 12 Year Old
86
$35.63

Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon

75cl, 50%
Smooth Ambler

A bourbon of two sides from Smooth Ambler. Their Contradiction Bourbon is made with a blends of two whiskeys - one is a rather young wheated bourbon distilled by Smooth Ambler themselves, the other…  More info

Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon
3
$72.70

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 158

70cl, 46.50%
Buffalo Trace

For admirers of top-notch bourbon, you can't go wrong with a bottle of Blanton's Original Single Barrel. It's matured in the legendary Warehouse H and each one is drawn from a single barrel - this…  More info

Blanton's Original Single Barrel - Barrel 158
$65.95

Heaven Hill - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 50%
Heaven Hill

That Boutique-y Whisky Company continues to explore the wonderful world of American whiskey with their first batch of independently bottled bourbon from Heaven Hill! Top stuff from a legendary…  More info

Heaven Hill - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
7
$90.33

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old

70cl, 45%
Buffalo Trace

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

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
20
$40.73

Pappy Van Winkle's 23 Year Old Family Reserve

75cl, 47.80%
Old Rip Van Winkle

We had the immense pleasure of trying this at Whisky Live, really great stuff; Van Winkle 23 is a super bourbon of epic proportions. They release yearly batches of this, all of which sell out rather…  More info

Pappy Van Winkle's 23 Year Old Family Reserve
$2176.94

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel - Barrel 366

70cl, 64.80%
Buffalo Trace

Glorious cask strength bourbon from the Blanton's Straight From The Barrel range, bottled without any of those additional colours or any of that chill-filtration. This one was drawn from barrel #366…  More info

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel - Barrel 366
$96.61

The Bourbon Advent Calendar (2015 Edition)

72cl, 49%
Drinks by the Dram

When it comes to advent calendars full of delicious whisky, whiskey and other types of spirit, Drinks by the Dram are naturally the people you turn to. Over these last few delightfully festive years…  More info

The Bourbon Advent Calendar (2015 Edition)
$154.25

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel - Barrel 363

70cl, 64.80%
Buffalo Trace

It's another Blanton's Straight From The Barrel bourbon! This time, they've cracked open barrel #363 and bottled the fantastic cask strength, un-chillfiltered bourbon within! Stupendous…  More info

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel - Barrel 363
$96.61

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon

70cl, 49.50%
Smooth Ambler

When the Smooth Ambler folks are out and about, they'll come across a great bourbon, as you do (remind me to visit America some time soon), and bottle it under the Old Scout name in homage to the…  More info

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon
7
$55.06

Blanton's Special Reserve

70cl, 40%
Buffalo Trace

Special Reserve is a lower strength single barrel bourbon from Blanton's. Each bottle is hand-filled, hand-labeled, hand-sealed and individually numbered. Please Note: Unfortunately, the wax atop…  More info

Blanton's Special Reserve
8
$42.21

Blanton's Gold Edition

70cl, 51.50%
Buffalo Trace

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, labelled and individually numbered. Please Note:…  More info

Blanton's Gold Edition
17
$70.34

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