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Aug 18

Bowman Brothers Bourbon – Review

Bowman Brothers BourbonBowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey

90 Proof

Price Point: $35 – $45 for 750 ML

Distiller: A. Smith Bowman Distillery

 

Background

Back in December of last year, I wrote a blog post about my first trip to a distillery.  If you recall (or you just clicked my link), my travels brought me to the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  This was truly an enlightening experience as I had seen the tip of the iceberg that is whiskey knowledge.

Of course, I had to pick up a few bottles while I was down there.  The first I will review is A. Smith Bowman’s “entry-level” craft expression, Bowman Brothers.  Next week I will review the single barrel expression (John J. Bowman), and the week after that will be the limited edition barrel proof bourbon (Abraham Bowman).

 

Review

The nose opens up with a familiar bourbon sweetness.  There is a fair amount of rye, along with a nice oak balance.

Sweet corn bourbon taste comes out in full force.  Fair amount of oak here – a very tasty bourbon.  Hard to believe this stuff comes from the same distillery as Virginia Gentleman.

Pretty decent length on the finish.  A little charcoal smoke to round out a fairly standard bourbon.

 

Rating & Recommendations

Bowman Brothers is a very nice entry-level bourbon from A. Smith Bowman, earning a rating of 85 out of 100.

It can be a little pricier than other opening expressions from other distilleries, but this one is certainly worth trying.

 

-Ryan

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  1. Dan Williams

    Although that was your first whiskey distillery, I remember a certain teenager with a few years of Spanish under his belt assisting his Dad on a visit to a tequila distillery near Guadalajara! Sure was a nice trip that may have started your journey to enjoying fine spirits.

  2. Charles Shaulis

    Good morning, Ryan. I came across these tidbits of information regarding the A. Smith Bowman Distillery on the BourbonEnthusiast.com web site and thought you might be interested. Truth or fiction? You decide.

    “The whiskey is distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort. The new make is sent to Virginia where it is distilled a third time and entered into barrels. Aging and bottling is done in Virginia. These products were introduced last fall (2009) and replace the long-time Virginia Gentleman brand. They are only available in Virginia.”

    “The Buffalo Trace White Dog is redistilled in a rather large all copper pot still. There seems to be some magic in it, as the bourbon comming (sic) out of the A. Smith Bowman Distillery is quite unique and unlike anything from Kentucky. Plus it is aged and bottled in Virginia, and that makes it especially special! All bourbon used to be distilled and barreled in Virginia, but that was before 1792 when Kentucky was a county of Virginia. But then again, all of what is now known as North America used to be Virginia. Just ask John Smith!”

    1. Ryan

      Hi Chuck.

      Yes, the first part is correct. Some of the spirits aged at A. Smith Bowman are first distilled (once or twice) at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Their products are not only available in Virginia, though.

      I can’t speak for the validity of the second part. Interesting, nonetheless…

      -Ryan

      1. Charles Shaulis

        Hello, Ryan. After I penned the message yesterday, I called up the A. Smith Bowman distillery website. Do you know that they still have Truman Cox listed as their Master Distiller? What a loss. I remember visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery with my wife back in the early 80s and we became closely acquainted with our tour guide. We sent a Christmas card to him that year and received a very nice reply from his wife several weeks later informing us of his passing a month earlier. Sad. Anyway, I’ve saved the Bowman distillery location to My Places in Google Earth and plan to stop by in April during my semi-annual trip to NC to visit my dad. I have added the Bowman Brothers Small Batch & John J. Bowman Single Barrel expressions to my “next-to-try” list of bourbons, so I will pick up the bottles at the distillery gift shop on my way through as neither expression is available in ME or NH. Sláinte. Chuck.

        1. Ryan

          Yes, the folks at Bowman are probably still trying to recover from their loss. Can’t blame them for not updating the website.

          All three Bowman expressions are excellent whiskeys that I would highly recommend. You’ll have to let me know what you think of them once you sample.

          -Ryan

          1. Charles Shaulis

            I stopped at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery on April 11 and was given a very informative one-on-one tour of the distillery’s operations by Bill Jones, the tour guide for that day. When I asked him about using the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s new make, he said “What’s new make?” When I explained that it was the final product of the whiskey distillation process and was also known as ‘white dog,’ I guess he realized that he was in the presence of a true liquorist. LOL. Bill then explained that the new make source was proprietary and that was the end of it. I didn’t bother to ask if and when they planned to add mash cookers and fermenting vats at a later date. From that point on, I think the tour he gave me was more detailed than what he would have given a run-of-the-mill tour group. We spent almost two hours walking through the facility and I met many of the employees. All still feel the loss of Truman Cox but continue to soldier on. I hope that they can find a new master distiller who is as enthusiastic about the distillery as Truman was. At the end of the tour, I purchased the Bowman Brothers Small Batch bourbon expression. As an aside, Bill said that Truman was experimenting with finishing bourbon in port wine casks when he died, much like Angel’s Envy. Anyway, I hope to make the A. Smith Bowman Distillery a permanent stop on my trips and I also plan to ration my pours of the Bowman bourbons so that I don’t run out before my next trip down South.

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