If you are ever in the Washington D.C. area make it a point to drive the short distance to Fredericksburg in Virginia and take the one hour A. Smith Bowman distillery tour. It is absolutely amazing, informative, fun and free set on beautiful tucked away landscape in Northern Virginia. The tour guides are very friendly and unlike the Kentucky distillery tours, you can get a very personal tour of a distillery that is making amazing whiskey without all the commercialism and marketing hype behind the Bourbon industry. It has a real down home atmosphere and I think it provides an insight as where the industry will be in the next 15 to 20 years with the explosion of small run micro-distilleries. The future in Bourbon looks bright.
The Bowman distillery makes three lines of Bourbon. All their Bourbons use the same mashbill. The first is called Bowman Brothers and is a 7 year small batch whiskey. The second is called John J Bowman and is a 10 year single barrel. I'll be discussing the third.
The Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Finished Bourbon was released in 2013 and the concept behind this Bourbon was to age the whiskey for 8 years and then send it to a beer brewery. The brewery would then take the whiskey and age the whiskey in Gingerbread Stout beer barrels for 12 weeks and then in turn send the whiskey back to the Bowman distillery. Got all that?
The creativity that distillers such as Bowman exhibits is what is going to make the Bourbon whiskey industry even better and truly amazing down the road. I really love what they are doing in Fredericksburg.
Whiskey Type - Bourbon
Alcohol By Volume (ABV) - 45%
Mashbill - 65% Corn, 20% Rye, 15% Malt
Age - 8 years.
Pineapple Rum Cake
Fresh orange marmalade
Medium that disappears rather quickly however is very smooth with relatively little burn.
The Last Millennium Bourbon that was the previous release really set the bar high for the Bowman Distillery. Although this is an extremely good Bourbon, I must say it doesn't quite reach what the Last Millennium accomplished.
That all being said I think the nose on the whiskey is really amazing and the palate of dark chocolate and earthy tobacco and coffee is delightful. I just wish there was a little more complexity. The deliciousness goes away too quickly and I think that may have something to do with the age of the spirit being 8 years old.
Another issue is the price. For the Last Millennium I thought that the $70 price tag was more than justified. I really struggle with whiskies in this price range that I feel just lack that overall roundness and complexity. If you can get your hands on a bottle of any of the Abraham Bowman releases then I'd recommend doing so to give it a try. I think this release is worth a purchase of a single bottle. More than one bottle is hard for me to recommend. Just keep in mind that this whiskey doesn't last on the shelves very long.
3 out of 5. This is a really strong 3 out of 5. A truly enjoyable whiskey that offers up a wonderful dark chocolate flavor and amazing bouquet on the nose. I think it makes a great fall whiskey as the weather is starting to cool down and football season is in full effect. Enjoy.
0 - hot dog water - nothing redeeming
1 - one dimensional - not complex and can be flat in areas
2 - entry level whiskey - a few highlights for a good value
3 - daily sipper - solid, well made product that is always enjoyed.
4 - big whiskey - complex layered flavors - amazing balance
5 - huge, exceptional, unique, one of a kind