Great Bourbon

Great Bourbon

23rd Jan 2016

Great Bourbon

American Heritage: Bourbon making can be traced back to the late 18th century in America's infancy and stands as a uniquely American spirit known for quality and craftsmanship. Because of particularly specific and high standards, bourbon tastes different than other whiskies such as Scotch, Irish, Canadian, or Tennessee whiskey.

Bourbon must be made in America and predominantly from corn. This makes bourbon unique among all other styles of whiskey. Furthermore, bourbon is never stored in used barrels. New oak barrels’ age bourbon slowly over time so it garners a deep amber colour and rich flavours as it matures. No artificial colour or additives are ever added. Remember, all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons.

Versatility: The smooth yet complex flavour of bourbon makes it quite versatile for drinking many ways. The easily approachable taste can be enjoyed by connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. Bourbon tastes magnificent straight up or on ice, but the depth of flavour makes for brilliant craft cocktails and classics, like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned.

Drinkability: Smoother and more approachable than other whiskies, bourbon has inherent flavours of vanilla, oak, fruit, spice and honey. This depth of flavour is subtle and complex, but not overpowering, making bourbon easy to enjoy.

Defining Bourbon: The uniquely American spirit made exclusively in the United States. U.S. Federal Regulations require bourbon whiskey to be made from a minimum of 51% corn. Other grains such as rye, wheat and barley malt may be used in any combination. By law, bourbon must be distilled at no higher than 160 proof. Keeping the distillation proof low highlights, the flavours of the grains. Vodka and neutral spirits are commonly distilled at 190 proof. Furthermore, all bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels at no more than 125 proof. This new oak imparts rich and complex flavour to bourbon, unmatched by other whiskies aged in previously used barrels. The new oak barrels are vital to create bourbon’s mature taste, since no artificial colourings or flavourings can be added. Only water is added to the bourbon to achieve the proper bottling proof, which must be a minimum of 80 proof by U.S. law.

Crafting Bourbon: Making fine bourbon honours a timeless craft. Grains such as corn, rye, wheat and barley are harvested and milled into a coarse meal before cooking. These grains are used in different combinations to compose various bourbon recipes, called mash bills. After adding water and cooking, the sweet mash cools and yeast is added with a small amount of previously distilled mash, known as sour mash. The sugar present in this new mash feeds the yeast to produce alcohol. This fully fermented mixture, complete with solids, is distilled, creating an alcohol rich vapour. The vapour is then re-condensed into a crystal clear liquid called “white dog”.

Every step in bourbon making is important, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to barrel aging. The newly distilled spirit enters new oak barrels at 125 proof or less. These barrels have all been charred by an open flame. This draws the natural sugars in the oak to the surface and enables the new whiskey to penetrate deeply and draw flavour from the oak. The sugars in the charred wood give the bourbon its colour and much of its flavour. A number of factors contribute to bourbon maturation, including warehouse style and location, temperature, air flow, and length of time. Different combinations of these factors produce different taste profiles for various brands, but all are bourbon.

After years of aging, every barrel eventually reaches the proper taste profile at the peak of maturation. Samples are often drawn from barrels for a master distiller to taste and approve. Only then is each bourbon bottled with the utmost care. Small batch bourbons combine the contents from only a select few barrels. Single barrel bourbons are produced exclusively from individual barrels. Many bottles are still filled, labelled and corked by hand.

Current Bourbons in stock:


A. Smith Bowman

Buffalo Trace

Eagle Rare

EH Taylor

George T. Stagg