Baker’s Bourbon is a part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection. Introduced in the early 90’s, the small batch collection consists of four bourbons. (Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, Baker’s and Booker’s). Baker’s is 107 proof and at seven years old is one of the few remaining age stated bourbons. Most Bourbonr’s know the man behind Booker’s. He is former Master Distiller Booker Noe. Baker’s is named after Baker Beam. Baker was the Distiller at Beam’s Clearmont plant while Booker was the Master Distiller. They’re also cousins.
Virginia Black is an American whiskey brand backed by rapper Drake. The brand is a collaboration between Drake and DeLeón Tequila founder Brent Hocking. I know what you’re thinking “what’s a rapper doing in the whiskey business?!” While vodka seems to attract many high profile endorsements, whiskey has been somewhat immune. Sure, there’s the occasional celebrity in a commercial. Whiskey sticks with a different blueprint. Whether you’re a Drake fan or not we’re here to talk about the whiskey.
For those unfamiliar with the private barrel process here’s how it works. Store’s (along with a brand rep or distributor) set up a tasting at their selected distillery. At this tasting, they bring out several barrels and the tasting begins. This usually involves good bourbon debates but ultimately a winning barrel is chosen. After selecting the barrel the distillery bottles the bourbon. Buffalo Trace adds a medallion with the store logo and ships the bottles to the distributor. That’s the quick and dirty version of how it works.
Dixon Dedman, along with his partners Mark and Sherri Carter, built one of the more interesting bourbon brands on the market today. Sure there will be naysayers. There will be people that don’t believe the story. Or, those that think Kentucky Owl is just another Non-Distiller Producer (NDP) cashing in on the bourbon boom.
Every fall some of the best bourbons are released to Bourbonr’s across the country. The problem is there’s never enough to go around. For Bourbon’s, fall brings phone calls to dozens of liquor stores and driving around town if we hear a shipment has arrived. All in search of our favorite bourbons. That’s what makes the bourbon hunt exciting.
Last week Wild Turkey teased a big announcement for August 1st. A lot of us speculated about what it would be. The obvious answer seemed to be Jimmy Russell’s retirement. After 60+ years as Wild Turkey Master Distiller, it seems well deserved! Turns out, we were all wrong. Today, Wild Turkey announced Matthew McConaughey as their creative director. Here’s a peek at what they have planned:
Parker’s Heritage 10th Edition
Heaven Hill released a wheat whiskey and malt whiskey the last two years for their Heritage Collection. Today they received TTB approval for PHC 10 (courtesy of SKU). In 2016, Heaven Hill will take it back to (what I believe) they do best, bourbon. This year the Heritage Collection is a Bottled-in-Bond, 24-year-old bourbon.
The Bourbonr community is the greatest thing about writing this blog for the past three years. I’ve made quite a few friends through bourbon and I know I’m not the only one. I see a lot of conversations going on in the comments section. I know even more happen over email and offline. Now, I want to embrace the community aspect of Bourbonr even more with a Bourbonr Facebook group.
There’s been controversy in the bourbon world over the last few years in regards to labels. While new customers enter so do new brands. The problem is not all the brands follow the rules for labeling their whiskey. The organization in charge of these matters is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
There are a few bourbons and distilleries that get consistently mentioned on Bourbonr. Smooth Ambler is one of them. I love what the guys in West Virginia are doing. They’ve consistently put out excellent bourbon (although their rye has been temporarily discontinued) at a great price. While their own distillate was young they released it in 375 ml bottles so we could observe the progress without breaking the bank.