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  1. #1
    Taster
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    Virginia Gentleman = Buffalo Trace?

    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:

    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.
    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.

    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.

  2. #2
    Buffalo Trace/Sazerac, in fact, now owns A. Smith Bowman. It's my understanding that Virginia Gentleman contains only a bit -- maybe 10% -- of bourbon actually distilled in Virginia. It does, however, contain some from there. Almost all of the aging occurs in VA.
    http://www.asmithbowman.com/home/index.htm
    Tim

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    maybe 10% -- of bourbon actually distilled in Virginia
    Funny I was under the impression that all of the white dog is trucked in from BT, then run though the still at ASB.

    but would you really consider this a Virginia bourbon?
    Sure! Why not, IIRC, to be a KY bourbon there is a minimum amount of time it has to be aged there(2 years I think), so if it isn't aged in KY it must be from somewhere.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  4. #4
    Taster
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle
    Funny I was under the impression that all of the white dog is trucked in from BT, then run though the still at ASB.
    That is my understanding from the article as well; that Buffalo Trace high wine was the only source of their 'base distillate'.


    Sure! Why not, IIRC, to be a KY bourbon there is a minimum amount of time it has to be aged there(2 years I think), so if it isn't aged in KY it must be from somewhere.
    Yes, they do age it at SB (in vertical casks!) in Virginia. So you're saying that the 3rd distillation, combined with the aging process - that's enough to say that it is now a product of Virginia?

    Eh, I don't disagree, I'd just like to see the Buffalo Trace distillery get a *little* credit for all the praise this stuff gets! It may be a virginia bourbon, but it sure has KY roots.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    that's enough to say that it is now a product of Virginia?
    Sure!...The Corvette ZR-1 was a product of the united states, yet its engine was designed by Lotus(and built by Mercury Marine) the transmission was German, Bilstein shocks, german...and so on...
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  6. #6
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    I toured A. Smith Bowman last August with their distiller, whose name escapes me now, and I am pretty sure that they get all of their white dog from BT and then re-distill it. I think the white dog is actually triple distilled before it goes into the barrels.

    One other interesting thing from that tour was that they just store their bourbon barrels upright, palletized, in a normal warehouse-type room that is connected to the rest of the distilling area. The bourbon barrels take up only about a quarter to a third of the space in that room. The rest of it was mostly vacant when I was there.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  7. #7
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    . . . their distiller, whose name escapes me now, . . .
    Does the name Joe Dangler ring a bell? A former member, who was a big fan of "The Fox", wrote of him in a very complimentary manner a few years ago.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  8. #8
    Disciple
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    Yes, it was Joe Dangler. He was an excellent host & tour guide - took us through the whole place and answered lots and lots of questions.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

 

 

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