2 Bourbons We Always Keep On Hand

When trying and reviewing bourbon is your hobby there’s no doubt you come across a lot of bourbon. We all have our personal favorites that we like to keep around for that reason but there others that continuously stay on the shelf. We were recently asked if we have any bourbons that we always keep on hand and if so, what for. We have quite a few bourbons that we keep stocked on the shelf. Two bourbons specifically came to mind that have become a fixture on our shelf. Here they are and the reason they have staying power.

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1) Woodford Reserve. This six year old bourbon is simply a delicious offering and is consistent batch after batch. It has a near perfect balance of the sweet and spicy flavors we’ve all come to love in bourbon. Starting with the smooth vanilla and rich caramel and finishing with a bit of spice and black pepper. It is one that we enjoy neat but will do fine in a well crafted cocktail. Woodford came to mind when we were asked the question above as it is one we like to keep on hand to introduce to those who are new to bourbon. Although most entry level bourbons are priced a bit lower this bourbon is the one we choose when guests want to try bourbon.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

2) Wild Turkey Rare Breed. This bourbon has been one we have continuously stocked for a while now. With Wild Turkey you generally get a solid product and Rare Breed is no different. The barrel strength bourbon is a mix of 6, 8, and 12 year stocks and has a delicious flavor profile with rich tobacco, wood, vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg. It has a good amount of spice but it is smooth even with the higher proof. I enjoy it best neat or with a splash. It is another consistent whiskey and its warm and inviting aroma and flavor make it a keeper.

Do you have your own bourbons you always like to keep on hand?


Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest to feature 180 craft brews, craft distillers and food vendors

Grab your sampling glass and get ready – 180 beers brewed by 51 breweries from across the nation will be on tap at the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest this Saturday, May 16, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Lexington Center’s Heritage Hall. The beerfest is one of the largest in the region and is even doubling its floor space this year, boasting local food, craft distillers, live entertainment and sensory sessions. The Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest will serve as one of the culminating events for the third Annual Lexington Craft Beer Week May 9-17, a celebration of Lexington’s craft beer culture.
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The day will kick off early for go-getters with the inaugural Horse Capital Marathon and Half-Marathon, the only marathon in the state of Kentucky. Alltech just signed on as the title sponsor of the race, which starts at Fasig-Tipton thoroughbred auction firm in Lexington and winds its way through horse country. It is the first full sanctioned marathon in Lexington since 1980 and a Boston Marathon qualifying event. Kentucky Ale® brews will be served at the finish line.

The fun continues at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest downtown, with a total of 52 special tappings occurring every 15 minutes from each brewery for specialty and collaboration brews, including brews such as Country Boy Brewing’s Warehouse Experiment 3, Sweetwater Brewing Company’s 18th Anniversary Cork and Cage Belgian Tripel, and a barrel-aged collaboration between Dogfish Head Brewing Co. and Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. A full list of special tappings is available at here.

Rare brews, including some not yet distributed in Kentucky, like Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Cigar City Cider & Mead, will also be on tap – including the company’s highly regarded Jai Alai IPA and Cowboy Dan’s Holiday Extravaganza, a cider that tastes like caramel apples.

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Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. will feature multiple rare brews from the brewers’ warehouse including a limited edition Kentucky Kölsch aged in apple brandy barrels; Kentucky Blue Ale, a Belgian ale accented with blueberries; and Kentucky Honey Barrel Brown Ale, a popular past winter seasonal. The brewery’s new summer seasonal, Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale, modeled after an Old Fashioned bourbon cocktail, will also be on tap.

For the first time, the festival will also include craft distillers from across Kentucky, including Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon; Barrel House Distillery, Lexington; Copper and Kings, Louisville; Willett Distillery,  Bardstown; The Gentleman Distillery, Paris; and Town Branch Distillery, Lexington. Distillers will offer spirits samples for tasting.

Onsite food vendors offering samples and meals for purchase include Claw Daddy’s, The Village Idiot, Enoteca, JDI, Noodles & Co., The Cheezy Mac, Dupree Catering, Popcorn Paradise, COVAP Ham and The Sweet Spot.

Keeping the environment lively throughout the day will be a range of live music from The Bohannons, Willie Eames, Patrick McNeese Band, Josh Nolan, and The Marble Creek Rangers.

The recipient of the Alltech Commonwealth Cup, will be announced at the festival, and staff from the Alltech Brewing & Distilling Academy will be onsite offering sensory sessions. The Alltech Commonwealth Cup, now in its second year, is the only professional craft beer competition in Kentucky and is open to both local and global entrants.

The Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest serves as a kickoff for the Alltech REBELation, an international event exploring innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas in Lexington, Ky., USA, from May 17-20. The conference features a Brewing and Distilling symposium, which begins on May 18 and will feature Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. and Bill Samuels, Jr. of Maker’s Mark. Registration is open to the public and available at rebel.alltech.com.

Brewfest tickets can be purchased online for $30 until Friday, May 15 at midnight, EDT or can be purchased at the door for $35. All tickets include 20 beer samples, three food samples, a commemorative glass and free entertainment.  Designated driver tickets without beer sampling privileges will be available online and at the door for $10. Attendees must be 21 to enter.


Featured Bar: 2 Birds 1 Stone, Washington, D.C.

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Featured Bar: Today we feature a unique bar out of our nations capital. 2 birds 1 stone is a cocktail bar that serves up some amazing drinks. Their weekly-changing, hand-drawn, cocktail menu, features some favorite classics and creative originals made with the finest ingredients. You can order something from the current selection or a past favorite. They keep many top notch spirits on hand and the expert bartenders know exactly what to do with them. If you’re in the area, you will want to stop by and check out 2 Birds 1 Stone.

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Diageo Unveils Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (PRNewsFoto/Diageo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Generations of distillers along Kentucky’s bourbon trail have poured decades of time into perfecting the art of making whiskey in distilleries that have since become the place of legend.  Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, DIAGEO’s newest brand within its American Whiskey portfolio, pays homage to the artful passion and renowned craftsmanship of the celebrated Stitzel-Weller Distillery inLouisville, Kentucky.

Named after the two parts of a skeleton key, the blade shaft and the ornate bow handle, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey derives its inspiration from the Five Keys symbol that can be found throughout the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Representing the five steps of crafting bourbon – grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging – these keys have grown to symbolize the southern traditions of hospitality, warmth and enjoying the finer things in life.

Introduced in two offerings, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, each variant possesses its own distinctive liquid characteristics.

“From the delicious hint of dried apricot and ripe pear found within Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon to the 22-Year-Old Limited Release’s pronounced nose of toasted oak layered with vanilla bean, figs and a light touch of dark caramel, both whiskies exhibit the same craftsmanship that was upheld amongst distillers at Stitzel-Weller long ago,” said DIAGEO North American Whiskey Ambassador Doug Kragel. “The inspiration for Blade and Bow’s creation resonates with my personal passion for whiskey, and I can’t wait for others to have the opportunity to responsibly enjoy these great products.”

Awarded Gold at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (91 proof, 45.5% ABV) is born from some of the oldest remaining stocks to be distilled at Stitzel-Weller before the distillery shut its doors in 1992. Matured using the solera aging method, this last remaining bourbon ever distilled at Stitzel-Weller is mingled with other fine whiskies that have since been aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller, resulting in a premium liquid that contains a piece of history in every sip.

Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (92 proof, 46% ABV) won Double Gold and was awarded the title “Best Straight Bourbon” at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Inclusive of whiskies distilled at both the distillery historically located at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville, Ky. and the distillery historically located at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. inFrankfort, Ky., this limited release offering was most recently aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller.

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be available for a suggested retail price of $49.99 (750 mL), while Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey will carry a suggested retail price of $149.99 (750 mL).

The release of Blade and Bow Whiskey will be supported by trade and consumer advertising, public relations, digital extensions and point of sale materials. The brand will also utilize DIAGEO’s Masters of Whiskey program and participate in whiskey festivals across the country.

Consumers are encouraged to responsibly enjoy Blade and Bow Whiskey neat or on the rocks.

About Blade and Bow
Blade and Bow pays homage to the artful passion and renowned craftsmanship of the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.  Blade and Bow whiskey is currently available in two variants, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Blade and Bow seeks to continue the story of Stitzel-Weller by providing whiskey aficionados with an inspired piece of Kentucky history. The two offerings will be available to adult consumers in May 2015.


Swig Flasks

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Gear: Here is yet another incredible flask. London-based SWIG is a brand specializing in high quality hip flasks. Their 6 oz. chrome flask is a classic holding just the right amount of the good stuff. They come with slip covers that are either leather or tweed and are built to last.


Bowman Brothers Small Batch Review

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Name: Bowman Brothers Small Batch

ABV: 45%

Proof: 90

Nose: Light Fruit, Apples, Vanilla, Sweet Corn

Palate: Caramel, Apples, Light Fruit, Maple Syrup, Light Wood

Finish: Fairly long, with some more familiar fruit flavors and a hint of cinnamon.

Overall: Bowman Brothers Small Batch has a unique taste that I’ve yet to find with any other bourbon. The caramel flavor up front is mellow and allows the crisp apple flavors to come into play with some other fruit flavors in the background such as grapes, apricots, and pears. There is a touch of maple syrup flavor and a faint wood taste. The finish is fairly long and filled with fruit flavors. There is a slight touch of cinnamon at the very end as it the flavors fades. I thought this was a delicious whiskey. It has a soft mouthfeel and it is a light whiskey. There is almost no heat or burn with this one. It could have used a bit more in my opinion. Overall, this is a good whiskey that I will have no hesitation recommending to anyone who hasn’t yet tried it.

History: A Smith Bowman bought the Sunset Hills estate farm in 1927 and opened up a dairy and granary. The farm was so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain from his fields. In 1935, after the repeal of prohibition in the state of Virginia, he built and licensed the distillery. His sons maintained that tradition, continuing to feed the distillers grains to the dairy cattle, which were known to be the most contented cows in Virginia.

In response to the rising real estate prices and property taxes of Northern Virginia, in 1988 the distillery was moved to the current location in Spotsylvania County near the city of Fredericksburg, 60 miles away from the original location.

As a small and American family owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery balances time-honored traditions with innovation and creativity to produce hand-crafted spirits. Distilled from the finest ingredients, the premium products created at A Smith Bowman Distillery honor the legacy and ground breaking spirit of Virginia’s pioneers.

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Note: If you enjoy pairing your bourbon with a good cigar, John J. Bowman Single Barrel will match up perfectly with a puff from a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Champagne Cigar.  This medium yet complex stogie will bring notes of nuts and oak flavors to pair with the rich flavors that comes with this single barrel beauty.  Purchase Some Perdomo’s at Famous Smoke Shop Online.


Dewar’s Launches Scratched Cask, a Bourbon-Inspired Scotch Whisky

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CORAL GABLES, Fla., May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — For the first time in the brand’s history, Dewar’s®, the world’s most awarded blended Scotch whisky, borrows a tradition from its bourbon counterparts – scratching the barrels after charring –  to create a unique, new liquid: Dewar’s Scratched Cask. The result is surprisingly smooth with a flavorful finish. Dewar’s Scratched Cask invites consumers to enjoy the prestige and tradition of Scotch with the characteristics of a bourbon.

“We are thrilled to continue to push the envelope in Scotch and create a bridge from one whiskey category to the other,” said Dan Pilas, VP and Brand Managing Director, Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky Portfolio. “Dewar’s Scratched Caskis not a hybrid, but different technique that combines the best of Scotch whisky and American whiskey know-how to create a new liquid that is smooth from start to finish.”

Dewar’s Scratched Cask is a blend of up to 40 carefully selected single malt and single grain whiskies left to mature in oak casks at the brand’s home in Scotland for a minimum of four years. At that point, instead of bottling the blend, the mature liquid is married in handcrafted American oak casks, selected by master blender Stephanie Macleod. These barrels, bourbon and virgin ok, are heavily charred and then lightly scratched at the char layer to alter the flavor of the whisky. The liquid is then left to blend and breathe for additional months, a production process called finishing.

According to Macleod, “This is a Scotch produced in a bourbon style. We always age our blended Scotch whisky, but in this case, the process of scratching the barrels creates a truly exceptional Scotch whisky with distinctive and accessible notes of sweet vanilla, toasted oak, and a hint of spice with a smooth, satisfying finish.”

Dewar’s Scratched Cask signature serves include “Scratch and Soda,” as well as variations on classic cocktails like the Rob Roy or Old Fashioned. This limited release will be available as of May 2015 while supplies last, and will retail for $25.99 at select luxury liquor retailers nationwide.

About DEWAR’S®
Founded in 1846 by John Dewar, DEWAR’S has grown from a small wine and spirits merchant shop in Scotland, to one of the largest Scotch whisky brands in the world.  Best known for its iconic DEWAR’S White Label, the top selling blended Scotch whisky in theUSA, it has expanded its family to create a portfolio of premium and super premium whiskies including DEWAR’S 12 Year Old, DEWAR’S 15 Year Old, DEWAR’S 18 Year Old and the exclusive DEWAR’S Signature. These whiskies are crafted using the DEWAR’S oak marrying ageing process. Pioneered by DEWAR’S in 1899, it involves returning the hand-crafted blend to vintage oak casks for further maturation. The result is a smoother taste with a long, lingering finish; a taste that wins medals and applause, making DEWAR’S the world’s most awarded Scotch.

The Dewar’s® brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.


Get Your Dusty Bottles and Whiskey Treasures Appraised at The Kentucky Bourbon Affair

Get Your Dusty Bottles and Whiskey Treasures Appraised At The Kentucky Bourbon Affair™

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Those dusty old Bourbon bottles and time-worn advertisements in your attic could be worth some money. Find out how much – and their history – at this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ fantasy camp.

“American Liquors,” sponsored by The Filson Historical Society and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, will once again offer advice and appraisals on rare Bourbon items as part of the five-day showcase of America’s only native spirit.

“Last year’s event was an incredible success and unearthed a treasure trove of old Bourbon memorabilia,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “People brought in everything from full bottles to historic advertising signs and massive collections of old distillery documents.”

The unique event will be held on Saturday, June 6, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Filson Historical Society’s headquarters, 1310 South Third Street in downtown Louisville.

The event is free, but a $10 donation is encouraged to support The Filson’s programs. Participants must e-mail Adam@kybourbon.com to register in advance.

Mike Veach, acclaimed Bourbon historian and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, will provide background on brands and items, while Bill Thomas, owner of the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C., will be on-hand to appraise whiskey bottles.

To get the most in-depth research, ticket holders will be asked to submit photographs and descriptions of their items beforehand. Similar items might be grouped together for analysis and discussion to ensure an efficient and smooth process.

“Last year a man brought a collection of pre-Prohibition advertisements that were stunning,” Veach said. “We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the Bourbon treasures tucked away in local attics and basements.”

Thomas said two items stood out in last year’s event. A bottle of Fortuna from Glencoe Distillery Co. was distilled in 1938 and bottled in 1945. “The bottle was in fantastic condition with a high fill level,” he said. “Its vintage design just screams Kentucky.”

A descendent of the R.E. Wathen & Company brought a collection of huge books that explained the distillery and its whiskeys, as well as smaller old advertising pieces. “There were so many great items,” Thomas said. “It was unbelievable.” Full article and additional information can be found here.


John J. Bowman Single Barrel

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Name: John J. Bowman Single Barrel

ABV: 50%

Proof: 100

Nose: Vanilla, Corn, Caramel, Classic Bourbon Smell

Palate: Caramel, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Very Sweet

Finish: Moderate, with more sweet flavors and a little spice towards the end that slowly fades.

Overall: John J. Bowman Single Barrel is a good classic tasting bourbon. It is a very sweet bourbon with flavors of caramel, syrup, and sugar up front. There are some tart cherry flavors in there as well as apples and a nice citrus orange flavor. There is some slight heat the end that seems to linger for a bit before slowly fading out. I enjoyed this bourbon. I thought that it had just the right amount of heat and flavor profile was delicious. The texture with this one was spot on and just the right consistency. I enjoyed this one best neat. For around $55. a bottle, I feel it is priced right for what you get. You get plenty of flavor and a higher proof. This is definitely a whiskey that I will keeping on hand and one that I will be including in some future group tastings. It is just a solid bourbon with all the classic flavors and characteristics we all love.

History: A Smith Bowman bought the Sunset Hills estate farm in 1927 and opened up a dairy and granary. The farm was so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain from his fields. In 1935, after the repeal of prohibition in the state of Virginia, he built and licensed the distillery. His sons maintained that tradition, continuing to feed the distillers grains to the dairy cattle, which were known to be the most contented cows in Virginia.

In response to the rising real estate prices and property taxes of Northern Virginia, in 1988 the distillery was moved to the current location in Spotsylvania County near the city of Fredericksburg, 60 miles away from the original location.

As a small and American family owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery balances time-honored traditions with innovation and creativity to produce hand-crafted spirits. Distilled from the finest ingredients, the premium products created at A Smith Bowman Distillery honor the legacy and ground breaking spirit of Virginia’s pioneers.

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Note: If you enjoy pairing your bourbon with a good cigar, John J. Bowman Single Barrel will match up perfectly with a puff from a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Champagne Cigar.  This medium yet complex stogie will bring notes of nuts and oak flavors to pair with the rich flavors that comes with this single barrel beauty.  Purchase Some Perdomo’s at Famous Smoke Shop Online.