Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Bourbon Barrel Blurbs, Volume 02, Issue 20

Step into the world of Bourbon Barrel Blurbs (BBB), where every sip holds a story and every bottle uncorks a world of flavor. Join us as we journey through the captivating realm of bourbon, exploring the age-old traditions, the art of aging in charred oak barrels, and the diverse array of expressions that grace the shelves of connoisseurs and newcomers alike. From the iconic distilleries of Kentucky to the hidden gems found in the nooks and crannies of the world, get ready to indulge in the rich tapestry of bourbon's history and innovation. So raise your glasses and let the barrel blurbs whisk you away on a spirited adventure like no other.

Getting things started in Kentucky, we have exciting news from Preservation Distillery, as they have announced the release of their limited edition Very Olde St. Nick Immaculata Bourbon. Known for being pot distilled in small batches and artfully blended, the Immaculata edition uses a base of 15-year-old, non-chill filtered bourbon at cask strengths between 115 and 120 proof. The bourbon features aromas and tastes of cinnamon, allspice, and pitted fruits, with a long finish. The brand has evolved from scarce availability to sought-after releases, and the distillery is now able to bottle slightly more of the rare bourbon, with a focus on key distribution in their home market. The Preservation Distillery and Farm, founded in 2015, is responsible for producing Very Olde St. Nick and other bourbon brands.

Staying in Kentucky, the Kentucky Distillers' Association (KDA) recently announced it has expanded the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. In its largest expansion to date, KDA is adding four new distilleries. The newly added distilleries include Augusta Distillery and Pensive Distilling Co. in northern Kentucky, as well as RD1 Spirits and Fresh Bourbon in Lexington. With these additions, the tour now includes a total of 28 craft distillers across the state.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour was established in 2012 as the nation's first attraction to showcase the growing boutique distilling movement. Along with the 18 larger-scale distilleries on the original Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour, the association now offers 46 immersive experiences for bourbon and spirits enthusiasts visiting the state. Last year, the combined bourbon trail experiences saw over 2 million visitors, with craft distilleries alone receiving 725,000 visits. Over the past decade, attendance has significantly increased by 370% according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association.

Cementing Kentucky’s hold on the bourbon crown, The Ultimate Spirits Challenge has announced its top-rated liquors of the year, including surprising winners like an Armagnac and a vodka cocktail. For American whiskies, Buffalo Trace's W.L. Weller Full Proof emerged as the highest honor, receiving a score of 98 out of 100. The bourbon is praised for its intoxicating red fruit aroma, mellow mouthfeel, and complex flavors of toasted oak and apricot. The Weller lineup, once easily attainable, became highly sought after after word spread that its mash bill was the same as Pappy Van Winkle's. Buffalo Trace upgraded the packaging and expanded the brand to meet the surging demand. W.L. Weller Full Proof, launched in 2019, maintains its original ABV from the cask and is not bottled at barrel strength.

Make sure to mark your calendars! The Bourbon Classic, a celebration of Kentucky whiskey, cocktails, and food, will return for 2024 from Feb. 21-24 in Louisville. The event will be held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, close to downtown distilleries. Tickets for the Cocktail and Culinary Challenge, Bourbon University, and TASTE events will be available on The event aims to offer a top-notch experience for attendees and has seen significant growth in consumer attendance and brand support in recent years. The Bourbon Classic is organized by The Bourbon Review's Seth Thompson and Tony Butler of FSA Management Group.

Wrapping up in Kentucky, we have exciting news as Pennyroyal Barrel Co. (PBC) will set up operations in Columbia, Kentucky, as a bourbon incubator for third-party brands. The $8.52 million project aims to create 10 jobs in Adair County. The campus will include a blending and bottling facility, rickhouses for aging, a storefront, a tasting room in a grain silo, a single barrel selection room, and a wooded amphitheater. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has approved incentives for the project. Construction is scheduled to start in late summer to early fall. PBC will contribute to the local community and economy while preserving Kentucky's bourbon heritage.

Traveling over the Ohio River to Indiana, Hard Truth Distilling Co. has released a new sweet mash rye whiskey called Hard Truth High Road Sweet Mash Rye. This whiskey is a response to the positive feedback and demand for their sweet mash rye whiskies. Bottled at 46.5% ABV, the High Road Sweet Mash Rye features a mash bill of 55% rye, 36% corn, and 9% malted barley. It offers a deep copper appearance with an aroma of apricot jam, honey, baking spice, and graham cracker. The taste profile includes rich vanilla, maple, custard, and spices, with a bold finish featuring caramel, honey, coffee, and nougat flavors. Hard Truth is dedicated to the sweet mash distilling process, which results in a distinctive and delicious rye whiskey. High Road Sweet Mash Rye is their largest scale release to date, following a major distillery expansion.

Heading down south, Lorenze Tremonti, a local master distiller, has launched a new Georgia-based spirits company called Infamous Whiskey. The brand embraces adventure and uniqueness, offering a range of spirits, including Infamous Bourbon Whiskey, Lemon Chill Liqueur, and Act 1 Clear Whiskey. Infamous Whiskey is committed to making a positive impact and supports The Lovely Project, an organization empowering young girls to reach their full potential. For more details, visit their website at

Cruising up the east coast, North Carolina's Broad Branch Distillery is set to release the highly anticipated second edition of Big Winston Bourbon on Saturday, July 29, at 1 pm. Barrel 199, a 5-year Bottled in Bond non-chill filtered bourbon, was crafted from a unique ultra-low rye recipe and aged in charred new white oak barrels. The nose offers citrus honey notes, while the palate reveals flavors of baklava, honey, walnuts, hints of cinnamon, and a touch of black pepper. The finish is dominated by orange pekoe and cinnamon, fading to cream. Only 253 bottles will be available for $59.95 in their downtown Winston-Salem tasting room.
Continuing up the coast, Monica Pearce, owner of Tenth Ward Distilling Company in Frederick, Maryland, celebrated the distillery's seventh anniversary. After years of focusing on meeting demand, Pearce is now looking to strategize for the company's future growth. Tenth Ward's spirits, including gin, bourbon, Maryland rye, and absinthe, are currently distributed in five states in the Mid-Atlantic region. While Pearce doesn't aim to be a national brand, she wants to continue growing regional sales. The craft beverage industry in Frederick has seen significant growth, drawing visitors from neighboring areas. Tenth Ward Distilling Company has become a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike, and Pearce's vision for the distillery's future continues to evolve.

Meanwhile, Delaware's Dogfish Head's Let’s Get Lost American Single Malt Whiskey has returned, gaining recognition and awards from various competitions worldwide since its debut in July 2021. The whiskey has received multiple gold, double gold, and silver medals, including from the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the 2022 Whisky Advocate Rating. Clocking in at 102 proof, the whiskey is distilled using a custom blend of pale malt, Crystal malt, coffee kiln malt, and applewood smoke malt. After more than three years in charred oak barrels, it offers warming flavors of toasted oak, caramel, light smoke, chocolate, and a hint of sweet banana. The whiskey is meant to be savored slowly and shared among friends. For more on Dogfish Head or to track down a bottle of Let’s Get Lost American Single Malt Whiskey, visit

Heading west to the mountains, Colorado’s Ironton Distillery is commemorating its 5th anniversary with a special limited edition release of Cask Strength American Single Malt Whiskey. The whiskey, aged for 4 years, boasts a robust 120 proof and features prominent notes of cherry and toasted coconut, making it a perfect addition to summer tiki drinks. The tasting notes include cherry, rich chocolate, bitter cacao on the nose, long tobacco, sharp honey, rustic vanilla, and toasted coconut on the palate and a strong wood finish with a high body. Whiskey enthusiasts can find more information about this release on Ironton Distillery's website.

As we continue west, we find ourselves stopping in California. There we find that Cyrus Noble bourbon, a whiskey brand with a historical lineage dating back to 1871 in San Francisco during the Gold Rush era, is making a comeback after being out of production for several decades. The bourbon was highly esteemed, and its reputation spread from California to Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. After Prohibition, Cyrus Noble experienced a downturn, but in recent years, it has been resurrected and is now being produced according to the original recipe by contracting with Kentucky's Bardstown Bourbon Co. However, reviving the brand in today's competitive whiskey market is a challenge, and Cyrus Noble's owners hope its historical connection to the Gold Rush will help distinguish it and attract attention in the crowded marketplace. The brand offers a "Born in Kentucky, raised in San Francisco" narrative and aims to build on its Bay Area legacy for future success.

Leaving California, we travel along I-10 to our final stop, Texas. We have a couple of great Texas releases to mention. First, Milam & Greene Whiskey has unveiled its third release in the Wildlife Collection, the Rattlesnake Single Barrel Bourbon. This limited-edition, cask-strength, single-barrel whiskey highlights the impact of Texas Hill Country weather on aging whiskey and pays homage to the local Texas wildlife. The release is exclusively available on the Milam & Greene Whiskey website and at their distillery tasting room. Only 168 bottles are available from this high-proof release, aged for over seven years in char #3 new American oak barrels. The whiskey offers a multi-faceted bourbon experience with deep flavors and a lush finish. The Rattlesnake Single Barrel is priced at $149.99 and is part of a very limited release. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Wrapping up our journey, Garrison Brothers, Texas' first legal bourbon distillery, has announced the release of its "rarest and most coveted" whiskey, Laguna Madre. Only 2,100 bottles of the 2023 edition were produced, with 1,000 sold at the release event. Aged for eight years, Laguna Madre is the oldest bourbon ever made in Texas, aged four years in white American oak barrels and an additional four years in rare Limousin oak casks imported from France.

The bourbon, bottled at 101 proof, will be available in limited bars, restaurants, and retailers by the end of July at a suggested retail price of $349. The release aims to drive awareness for FlatsWorthy, a Texas-based fishing nonprofit, dedicated to promoting boating courtesy. Garrison Brothers previously released Laguna Madre in 2020 to raise funds for Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, supporting the Texas hospitality industry. The distillery team also partnered with FlatsWorthy for a fishing trip in the Laguna Madre, the Texas Gulf Coast waters for which the whiskey is named.

As our BBB journey ends, we hope you've savored each moment of this bourbon-filled journey. From the first pour to the final drop, we've explored the essence of this beloved spirit, appreciating the craftsmanship, the stories, and the shared passion of bourbon enthusiasts worldwide. As you venture forth, let each encounter with bourbon be a reminder of the diverse flavors, intriguing histories, and timeless charm that make this spirit a true treasure. So, as you savor each new bottle and raise your glass to the bourbon community, may the journey continue, and may Bourbon Barrel Blurbs always be your guide to the world of bourbon delights. Cheers to the barrel, the bottle, and the boundless beauty of bourbon!

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