Virginia Gentleman Bourbon has been produced by the A. Smith Bowman Distillery since 1934 when the distillery opened on the Bowman farm. That farm is now the town of Reston, Virginia and the distillery is currently located in Fredericksburg, VA. Virginia Gentleman first came on the market in 1938 and is still available, mostly in the Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC area but I have found it on web sites elsewhere in the US.
As a proof of concept, Freddie Noe knocked this expression out of the park. With notes of strawberry puree, that familiar Jim Beam peanut brittle, and flavorful baking spice to go along with a truly satisfying Kentucky hug, Hardin’s Creek: Colonel James B. Beam has a lot to like on the palate. The greatest nit to pick, of course, lies with the decision to price this bottle at $80.
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Hardin’s Creek: Jacob’s Well has generated a swirl on intrigue ever since its TTB label filing went public. So, with all the hype surrounding this release, I was curious to see how it would ultimately taste. The result? Perhaps unsurprisingly it displays a lot of oak, but otherwise, it features a tasty mélange of classic bourbon notes: caramel, Cherry Garcia ice cream, rich leather and vanilla extract lead the pack with subtler rye spices and apricot flavors finding their way as well.
I liked the Rare Hare 1953 bourbon. It was a nice pour. This is a softer whiskey despite the 111-proof point, it drinks like a cognac. I enjoyed the fruit-forward palate, and it really took precedent to the typical bourbon flavors that were peeking out from behind the curtain. I tasted this in a Glencairn but would be interested to try this again in a snifter and warmed.
While New York Distilling Company’s standard rye expression is only aged for 3 years and lacks the punch to capture a serious whiskey enthusiast’s attention, their 4-year Ragtime Rye Bottled-In-Bond Whiskey offering is here to pick up the slack. The aromas it presents are immediately inviting, starting with a salted caramel, suntan lotion, and lavender medley that work in harmony despite being a bit unusual. They’re followed by more entrancing notes like stewed apples, cookie dough, and Brazil nuts and before one even has a chance to give it a taste the mouth is watering!
So, in March, when Noelle Hale reached out to me to tell me all about Holladay Distillery in Missouri, I expected more of the same. Of course, it all begins with a story, doesn’t it? Back in the 1850s, Kentuckian Ben Holladay knew exactly what the limestone springs in Weston, MO were good for, and he made good use of it. Ben’s distillery, the oldest business in the Kansas City area, underwent a $10 million renovation in 2015 and started distilling bourbon again for the first time in three decades. Would I like to try their first release, a 6-year bottled-in-bond, real Missouri bourbon?
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Before I ever tried a single expression from New York Distilling Company, I was enamored with their bottle design and enchanted by the collective experience of their founders. Allen Katz and Bill and Tom Potter are well established in the New York food and beverage community, which has resulted in plenty of positive press. Their savvy decision to build an adjoining bar next to their distilling operation has been yet another boon for the local community and afforded them a profitable space to grow out of as they’re not yet able to host distillery tours.