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A. Smith Bowman "Isaac Bowman" Port Barrel Finish Virginia Straight Bourbon (750ml) SKU #1365170

Price: $34.99

WE 92
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

The new release from the wonderful A. Smith Bowman Distillery is inspired by the Limited Release from 2016. That special little whiskey was awarded World's Best Bourbon by Whisky Magazine. Now a "standard release" from the little distillery in Virginia, it remains extremely limited and hard to find. It begins with the classic Bowman Bourbon, an undisclosed blend of the two Buffalo Trace mashbills from the distillery in Kentucky. This spirit is trucked to Virginia where it is distilled a third time on A. Smith's experimental pot still. After several years of aging, the bourbon is transfered into a mixture of Virginia and Portoguese Port Casks. This means fortified red wine aged in American and European Oak inlfuencing the already complex bourbon. As with all wine cask finished bourbon, we start slightly apprehensive. Have they over done it? Did they ruin perfectly good bourbon with some poor quality wine casks? The key to the use of Port casks in bourbon production is adding just the right amount of sweet red fruit, rich creamy oak and barrel spice without disrupting the inherent quality and flavors of the original bourbon--unless of course you're trying to hide something. In this case there's absolutely nothing to hide and I'm happy to say that Bowman has achieved the wonderful balance between the powerful flavors of the port and the wonderful bourbon being distilled there. Perfect for anyone who is a fan of Angel's Envy and wants to step it up a notch.

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Staff Reviews

  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    So I almost always dislike Port Finished bourbon. It’s not that they’re always bad, but often they don’t ADD much to the already wonderful whisky that went into those barrels. Indeed some work well. Angel's Envy and the tiniest kiss of sweet red fruit the port adds would be an example. But others simply over do it, adding a syrupy saccharine quality to already sweet spirit or even worse providing an overt bitterness from too much time in French oak. In general I believe it draws away from the inherent character of the a good bourbon, assuming you started with good bourbon. That said this new offering from Bowman strikes the perfect balance. It's not as mild as the Angel's, yet remains as balanced and delicious as all the Bowman Bourbons. Expect dense dark red fruit popping out from the first moment. Slight hints of candied stone fruit balanced by big sweet oaky vanilla and spice. This morphs into dense roasted nuts and cinnamon apple tart on the palate. Definitely on the sweet side, but avoiding the overtly sugary flavors with the highish proof and bold spice. A totally wonderful new addition to the Bowman line and my new go to pair for almost ANY dessert.
  • Anthony Russo
    By: Anthony Russo
    K&L Staff Member
    If you've never had a "Port barrel finished" bourbon, this is a great place to start. If you love whiskey and want to try something new, look no further. What begins as a fantastic bourbon on its own spends the last bit of it's ageing period in ex-Port barrels. Take a big whiff and you'll immediately see the influence: red apple skins, gentle, dried raisins, and fresh cut flowers. On the palate, it is full of complexities, like a layered onion. Just add an ice cube and you're rocking!


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