Hello all, first post - I hope some of you find some of this interesting. I've lived in Kentucky for about 7 years, but until recently was basically unaware that my state was home to so many excellent, hand crafted bourbons. So I've been reading and tasting a lot, making up for lost time.
I knew that bourbon didn't *have* to be made in Kentucky to be called bourbon, but I knew the vast majority of it was made here anyway.
I wanted to find out which bourbons /weren't/ made here. I only found one - and there very well be many others, this is just the one I found - called "Virginia Gentleman".
I haven't seen it around these parts, so I went looking for reviews, information etc. I found this link
Very interesting stuff. The A. Smith Bowman distillery, and former CEO John B. “Jay” Adams (who sounds like the kind of guy I'd really like - he's got a 20's art-decco fascination, and moved the distillery into an abandoned celophane factory, keeping the original architecture and decorating with period furniture.) and thier story. I recommend the article.
Anyway...I digress...the most interesting part of the article to me is that they don't mill their own grains. They don't have any fermentation tanks. No yeast. In fact, they only barely do any distillation.
Snippet from the article:
Their still is a very odd looking copper pot still, and they do their own aging, but still...hardly seems fair to say that this bourbon is made in Virginia.Although the original distillation of bourbon is nearly always performed using a continuous-style still (sometimes called a beer still or column still), the doubler itself is often really a small pot still. The condensed, low-proof liquid distillate is put into the doubler and heated. The vapors are drawn off and condensed again. Just like any other pot still. In most distilleries, the condensed distillate comes directly from their column still and is simply piped over to the doubler.
In Ireland it's traditional to distill the whiskey yet a third time, but that's not common practice elsewhere. Virginia Gentleman is distilled a third time. The fermentation of the grain mash and the first two distillations take place at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, in Kentucky, which has supplied their base distillate for over fourteen years.
I'm not sure what percentage of whiskey character comes from the mash bill, and what comes from the aging process - but would you really consider this a Virginia bourbon??
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, this post was longer than I had anticipated.