Friday, February 10, 2023

Bourbon Barrel Blurbs, Volume 2, Issue 02

We are back and it's been a busy couple of days. In this edition we have blurbs about the KY Bourbon Trail, Garrison Brothers, Cask & Coast Spirits Co., the Oregon liquor board scandal, Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Historic Barrel Entry, Old Dominick's Alex Castle, Yellowstone American Single Malt, Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman Cask Strength Bourbon, and a look at some "underrated bourbons."

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Sets Attendance Record in 2022

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail has seen remarkable growth in attendance over the last decade, with a staggering 370% increase in visitors. Last year alone, the trail welcomed a record-breaking 2.1 million visitors, surpassing the previous record of 1.7 million set in 2019. The numbers are a clear indication of the growing popularity of bourbon, not just in Kentucky, but across the United States and around the world. With such a huge jump in attendance, it's clear that the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the world of bourbon. For more information on the Kentucky Bourbon Trails, click HERE

Garrison Brothers Releases 2023 Guadalupe Ultra-Premium Port Cask Finished Bourbon

Courtesy of Garrison Brothers Bourbon

Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas, has released Guadalupe 2023, a limited edition port-cask finished bourbon named after a river in the state. This special expression has won multiple awards and is bottled at 107 proof. Each step of the production process is made by hand by the Master Distiller and his team. Guadalupe is a creamy dessert bourbon with flavor notes of fruit, chocolate, and honey. The story of Guadalupe began in 2015 when the distillery teamed up with Texan winemakers. Guadalupe will be available for purchase at fine liquor retailers nationwide with a suggested retail price of $149.99. For the full story, click HERE.

Former Councilman Takes a Shot at Making Bourbon

Courtesy of Cask & Coast Spirits Co.

Mark Kersey, a former San Diego councilman, has transitioned into the alcohol industry by becoming the CEO of Cask & Coast Spirits Co. His company produces a California bourbon, which is made from a four-grain bourbon distilled in the Midwest and matured in charred American oak casks. The bourbon is then finished in Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wine barrels from Montaño’s vineyard. Kersey and Montaño work with distillery partners to import ingredients from the Midwest and blend it in California. Cask & Coast’s initial 750-bottle release debuted in November and received a gold medal in a San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge with a 91 rating. The company's biggest market is online, but it is also available in local stores and restaurants. The former mayor, Jerry Sanders, thinks the bourbon is excellent and is grateful for a new industry to attract tourism to San Diego. Kersey believes his experience with bureaucracy as a councilman was valuable training for the highly regulated alcohol industry. For the full story, click HERE.

 Heads May Roll in Oregon Agency Due to Love for Rare Bourbon

The executive director and several top officials of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission face the possibility of losing their jobs due to their thirst for rare bottles of bourbon. An internal investigation found that they had used their knowledge and connections at the agency to obtain high-end whiskeys, such as Pappy Van Winkle's 23-year-old whiskey, for their own use, which violated state statutes that prohibit public officials from using confidential information for personal gain. In response, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has asked the agency's board of commissioners to remove the implicated individuals and has requested an independent civil investigation by the attorney general to determine the extent of any wrongdoing and to recommend stronger protocols for ethics compliance. For the full story, click HERE.

Woodford Reserve Releases Winter 2022 Master’s Collection

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Historic Barrel Entry.

Woodford Reserve has released its 2022 Master's Collection, called the Historic Barrel Entry. This bourbon was made with newly distilled whiskey that entered the barrel at 100 proof, which was the standard for barrel entry proof in the 19th century. Today, the standard is 125 proof. The lower entry proof, which results in a greater amount of water in the barrel, contributes to richer and sweeter flavors from the barrel's red layer. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla bean, dried apple, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and a hint of cocoa, with notes of roasted coffee, hazelnut, dark cherry, plum and spearmint. The taste is a balance of toasted oak and overripe banana with hints of cooked berry fruits, leather, coffee and baking spices, before ending with a finish of charred oak, leather, and orange oil. This limited-edition release is the 18th in the Master's Collection series, which began in 2004, and will be available in select U.S. and global markets at a suggested retail price of $129.99 for a 700 ml bottle. For the full story, click HERE.

Memphis’s First Modern Whiskey Is Crafted by Tennessee’s First Female Master Distiller

Master distiller, Alex Castle. Courtesy of Old Dominick Distillery
Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis was started after two of Domenico Canale's great great grandsons discovered an unopened bottle of Old Dominick whiskey. Old Dominick Straight Tennessee Whiskey was the first whiskey distilled, aged, and bottled in Memphis since Prohibition. The master distiller of the whiskey is Alex Castle, the first known female master distiller in Tennessee history. Castle grew up in Kentucky and was set to become a marine biologist until a high school science class changed her career path to chemical engineering. She received a crash course in operating pot stills and eventually landed a job at Wild Turkey as a production supervisor. She was then hired to start a distillery in Memphis and was given free rein to design the production space. Castle blended bourbons from other distillers into the first bottles to bear the Old Dominick label in a century, and all involved had to wait for the first juice distilled on site to mature. Castle's whiskey is Tennessee Straight Whiskey and is sold only in Memphis, but will be available in Arkansas, Missouri, and the rest of Tennessee by spring. For the full story, click HERE.

Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey Launches This Spring

Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey is the latest offering from Limestone Branch Distillery Master Distiller Stephen Beam. This whiskey will be available in March at a retail price of $54.99. It is a four-year-old whiskey bottled at 108 proof (54% ABV) with a 100% barley malt mash bill. It has a unique taste profile compared to its sister product, Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, with notes of cereal malt, honey, peach blossom, stone fruit, oak, cinnamon, and English walnuts. The packaging features a design-forward label with the iconic Lower Falls artwork and blue top-wrap to differentiate it from other Yellowstone variants. The brand supports the National Parks Conservation Association, having donated nearly $370,000 to the organization so far. Limestone Branch Distillery was opened in 2011 by Stephen Beam, a seventh-generation distiller with a family history of distillation. It is home to several spirits, including Yellowstone Select, Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey, Yellowstone Limited Edition, Minor Case Rye Whiskey, and Bowling & Burch Gin. For the full story, click HERE.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Unveils New Still House That Will 'Double Production'

Courtesy of Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery has officially commissioned a new still which is 40 feet tall and capable of producing 60,000 gallons per day. This allows the distillery to double its production of whiskey. The new stillhouse is adjacent to the existing one and is designed to match the existing still to maintain consistency in the whiskey produced. The new still is part of a larger $1.2 billion expansion project which includes new cookers, fermenters, and a new dry house that can produce 12,000 pounds of dried grain per hour. Visitors can see the new stillhouse on Buffalo Trace's new "Hard Hat Tour" which includes expanded tour routes and new sites. The bourbon industry invested over $2.1 billion in the state of Kentucky last year, with many distillers upgrading their facilities and equipment. Buffalo Trace Distillery is based in Frankfort, Kentucky and has a history dating back to 1775. For the full story, click HERE.

15 Underrated Bourbons You Need To Buy

Courtesy of Brother's Bond Bourbon's Facebook.

This article from Tasting Table lists several bourbons that the author thinks are underrated and deserve more attention. These include the entire Benchmark line-up, Brother's Bond Cask Strength, Evan Williams' 1783 Small Batch or Bottled in Bond white label, Four Roses Small Batch Select, and Garrison Brothers Small Batch. The author recommends trying each of these bourbons, which are all reasonably priced and offer a great value for their quality. The author also mentions that some of the bourbons, such as Four Roses Single Barrel, are a bit pricier but still offer a similar experience as the other options. The author ends the article by highlighting the recently released 2023 Guadalupe from Garrison Brothers, which is a pricier option for those who want to try Texas whiskey. The full article can be found HERE.

Robb Report Reviews A. Smith Bowman Cask Strength Bourbon

 Courtesy of A. Smith Bowman

A. Smith Bowman introduces their Cask Strength Bourbon Batch #2, a whiskey bottled at 144.5 proof, which is considered a "hazmat" whiskey with a high alcohol content of nearly 70%. Despite its high alcohol content, this particular whiskey is said to have a delicious flavor, with notes of cherry, apple pie, cinnamon, chocolate, dried orange, milk chocolate, candied pecan, vanilla, and underlying spice and heat. The whiskey's high proof is attributed to the hot and humid climate in Virginia, where the whiskey was aged, which resulted in more water evaporation and less alcohol loss. The reviewer suggests adding water to the whiskey to reduce its strength and bring out its sweet candy and spicy flavors. The full article can be found HERE.

Until next time...

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