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View Full Version : Virginia Gentleman - what's the story?



Ambernecter
03-12-2006, 22:25
I bought a bottle of this a couple of years ago and was a tad baffled - it was not a bad drop as I recall. I understand Bourbon Whiskey can be made anywhere but can only be called such on the label if it comes from Kentucky. Is this correct?

Just like Jack and George Dickle (thought often confused for Bourbon) are Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskeys.

I remember seeing on the label that this was "Straight Bourbon Whiskey" produced in Virginia. I kind of wondered about this at the time but put it to the back of my mind.

How is it that they can call it Bourbon on the label, if it is not produced in the glorious homeland of my fave tipple?

Sijan
03-12-2006, 23:18
It's a myth that bourbon has to be made in Kentucky. Virginia Gentleman is Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but not Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Another example of non-Kentucky bourbon whiskey is A.H. Hirsch.

Virginia Gentleman is actually originally distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort & then shipped to the Bowman Distillery near Fredericksburg, VA, where it is redistilled, barrelled, and aged. (The barrels are just kept upright on pallets in a normal sort of storage warehouse, btw, - no special rickhouse or anything.)

I think the VG90 is quite good.

camduncan
03-12-2006, 23:52
This recently became available in Australia, so I'm very keen to try a bottle. If anyone has any tasting notes, I'd sure be happy to read em :D

arsbadmojo
03-13-2006, 05:42
Virginia Gentleman is actually originally distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort & then shipped to the Bowman Distillery near Fredericksburg, VA, where it is redistilled, barrelled, and aged. (The barrels are just kept upright on pallets in a normal sort of storage warehouse, btw, - no special rickhouse or anything.)

Sijan already nailed it, but yeah, this is a very odd product. Buffalo Trace provides the "base" which has already been distilled twice.

It goes through a third distillation in Virginia, and is aged there in upright barrels. I've never tried it, reviews have actually been pretty good if I remember correctly.

jeff
03-13-2006, 08:47
I enjoy the 90 proof bottling very much, but I find the 80 proof expression is best left on the bottom shelf.

Ambernecter
03-13-2006, 08:56
Spirits of Kentucky:
Small-Batch and Single-Barrel Bourbons Revive the Good Old Days of Whiskey
by Mark Vaughan

This article is featured on the Bourbon History page
Read it now

As with French-appellation wines, there are strict laws governing just what a Bourbon must be to be labeled as such. For example, at least 51 percent of the grain used in making the whiskey must be corn (most distillers use 65 to 75 percent corn). Bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years in new, white oak barrels that have been charred. Nothing can be added at bottling to enhance flavor, add sweetness or alter color. Though technically Bourbon can be made anywhere, Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle. And as Kentucky distillers are quick to point out, Bourbon is not Bourbon unless the label says so.

bluesbassdad
03-13-2006, 08:57
The power of the Search function never ceases to amaze me.

Formal tasting notes of "The Fox" may be found here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthread.php?t=886&highlight=virginia+gentleman).

There are also many, less formal comments worth looking at. If you are interested, go to the Advanced Search function. Search with "virginia gentleman fox" as keywords. Select older than one year. Choose to display the results by post, not by thread. The aforementioned link will show up, but many others will, as well.

In one of the results there's even mention of the issue of Chuck Cowdery's Bourbon Country Reader wherein he reviewed this bourbon. At the time of that post, reprints were available.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Ambernecter
03-13-2006, 08:59
Cheers for clearing up what VG is and what the score is generally. It's due to passages like the one I last posted that confused me in the 1st palce.

The bottle I had from France was 90 proof and I remember it hit the spot - can't seeing a lower proof doing it any justice as Jeff has pointed out.

You really don't stop learning on here!

Hedmans Brorsa
03-13-2006, 09:00
Though technically Bourbon can be made anywhere, Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle. And as Kentucky distillers are quick to point out, Bourbon is not Bourbon unless the label says so.

But surely this limitation only applies to the wording "Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey"?

To have Virginia as part of the brand name is no breach of this law, for sure. If this is what you are pointing at, of course.

Ooops! Several postings in just one minute.

blue lander
03-13-2006, 09:30
I bought a bottle of The Fox because, as a Virginian who used to live in Fairfax (where the stuff was originally made), I felt obligated to try it. I read a lot of good reviews of it, but I decided to play it safe and just buy a little sample bottle rather than a full sized bottle. Which is good, because I could barely finish the 50ml bottle. This stuff is sickeningly sweet and has no bite whatsoever. I actually couldn't bring myself to drink any kind of Bourbon for two days. It's not a bad product per se, it's just not my kind of whiskey. In fact, it's probably my least favorite whiskey of all time.

Sijan
03-13-2006, 09:44
This stuff is sickeningly sweet and has no bite whatsoever.

I don't remember it being *that* sweet, and it certainly has some bite to it. It's basically Buffalo Trace distillate redistilled and aged in VA. I think they use the same barrels as BT, but I can't remember that for sure. When I was there, I saw a lot of Buffalo Trace barrels as well, apparently mostly for some experimental purposes.

I'll try to do a tasting later today & give some impressions

blue lander
03-13-2006, 10:01
I'm sure it's all just a matter of taste. I prefer bourbons that kick me in the teeth and claw their way down my throat. It's just not my kind of bourbon, and I'd imagine many people who like spicy rye-intensive drinks would feel the same way.

bluesbassdad
03-13-2006, 10:18
Your explanation makes perfect sense to me, even though my taster apparently works differently than yours.

Translating to the domain of music, some folks like Tchiakovsky but not BB King. Others are the reverse. I happen to like both, but my mood will determine which I am more likely to listen to at a given time.

In the same way, I like "The Fox" for its clarity and subtlety, but more often only a full-flavored bourbon will do.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Sijan
03-13-2006, 22:17
You're right, it is quite sweet. Sweet nose, sweet on the palate with a fairly sweet finish. But there's also a bit of spice in there late on the palate/early in the finish. It also has a taste that I'm not used to finding in bourbons, but can't quite put my finger on what it is. Similar in some ways to the Heaven Hill eucalyptus undertones, but I like this taste much better. It is also quite smooth.

Although it isn't particularly complex, I still like it quite a bit. But I can definitely see why a fan of rye-heavy bourbons wouldn't like it much (though I like those quite a bit too).

camduncan
03-13-2006, 22:25
You're right, it is quite sweet. Sweet nose, sweet on the palate with a fairly sweet finish.
<snip>
It is also quite smooth.


Now I really want to buy a bottle. I like sweet :bigeyes:

fogfrog
03-16-2006, 18:58
Well, I did not buy Ezra Brooks because it says its from St Louis, but really its just bottled there. The stuff comes from Heaven Hill I do believe in KY. So where its bottled does not matter so much. As a matter of fact, I bought Cluny Scotch which I believe everything in the bottle comes from Scotland but it is blended and bottled in KY. Then I had a bottle of Chivas Regal and found it is likewise bottled in KY. And it is Scotch...so go figure on that.

Maybe the VA bourbon is from KY but bottled in VA.

AJ123
03-17-2006, 12:07
Can a brand market itself as bourbon if it is not made in KY? I always thought it had to be made in KY. However, I looked it up and apparently it need only be made in the U.S. and conform to the other items of the U.S. definition. Obviously it can't be Kentucky Bourbon or Kentucky Straight Bourbon. And we all know that the filtered technique of GD and JD are called Tennessee Whiskey. But I don't think it's a requirement that the bourbon be even started in KY like the description below. Is that correct?



I repeated the quote below which has the detail on this particular one.


It's a myth that bourbon has to be made in Kentucky. Virginia Gentleman is Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but not Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Another example of non-Kentucky bourbon whiskey is A.H. Hirsch.

Virginia Gentleman is actually originally distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort & then shipped to the Bowman Distillery near Fredericksburg, VA, where it is redistilled, barrelled, and aged. (The barrels are just kept upright on pallets in a normal sort of storage warehouse, btw, - no special rickhouse or anything.)

I think the VG90 is quite good.

Gillman
03-17-2006, 12:26
The quote you gave doesn't say or suggest bourbon has to be started in Kentucky, it gives in fact the example of Hirsch 16 year old straight bourbon which was made in Pennsylvania.

Bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S. but only bourbon made in Kentucky as you noted, can call itself Kentucky Bourbon. But then too while bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S., almost all of it IS in fact made in Kentucky or started there (for Virginia Gentleman only I believe). Kentucky is the industrial but also spiritual home of bourbon whiskey. It also probably always made the best bourbon and had therefore the best and most loyal devotees, hence its survival not really even in Kentucky but only one or two counties of Kentucky of which Nelson County is by far the most important. Why, fine bourbon and Nelson County are synonymous terms.

Gary

AJ123
03-17-2006, 13:18
Thanks. I also heard somewhere there was some bourbon started in KY which was finished and bottled in Missouri; don't recall brand or whether that is still being done.


The quote you gave doesn't say or suggest bourbon has to be started in Kentucky, it gives in fact the example of Hirsch 16 year old straight bourbon which was made in Pennsylvania.

Bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S. but only bourbon made in Kentucky as you noted, can call itself Kentucky Bourbon. But then too while bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S., almost all of it IS in fact made in Kentucky or started there (for Virginia Gentleman only I believe). Kentucky is the industrial but also spiritual home of bourbon whiskey. It also probably always made the best bourbon and had therefore the best and most loyal devotees, hence its survival not really even in Kentucky but only one or two counties of Kentucky of which Nelson County is by far the most important. Why, fine bourbon and Nelson County are synonymous terms.

Gary

Gillman
03-17-2006, 13:40
Might be McCormick Distilling Co in Weston, MO, a plant has existed there for some time but current production details are hard to come by. They produced a notable line of decanter whiskeys in the 70's. I always thought Hiram Walker (now owned by Beam) owned that company at least in recent years but I might be wrong.

Gary

fogfrog
03-17-2006, 13:53
I think there might be a few but one is Ezra Brooks which is by Sherman or now Luxco of St. Louis.

BourbonJoe
10-12-2006, 10:32
Can anyone post a picture of "the fox" bottle?
Thanks,
Joe :usflag:

Nebraska
10-12-2006, 11:32
VG 90 bottle

straightwhiskeyruffneck
10-12-2006, 14:36
nebraska! your bottom shelf looks like my top shelf!!!

BourbonJoe
10-12-2006, 16:34
Thanks for the pictures Mark.
Joe

CrispyCritter
10-12-2006, 20:13
I have a bottle of VG90 on my shelf - it's good stuff. "Gentleman" is a good sobriquet for this - it has almost no burn to it.

To me, I can still catch some Buffalo Trace character to it, but it's different than standard BT; it resembles ETL instead.

Funny thing is, the only time I've ever been carded at my nearby Binny's was when I bought a bottle of it! :slappin: