John J. Bowman Bourbon – Review

John J. Bowman BourbonJohn J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey

100 Proof

Price Point: $60 – $70 for 750 ML

Distiller: A. Smith Bowman Distillery



Last week, I reviewed the “entry-level” craft expression from the A. Smith Bowman collection – Bowman Brothers.  If you read the review, you will know that I enjoyed it, but there was some room for improvement.

John J. Bowman is the single barrel whiskey from the same distillery, which kicks the proof up to 50%, and in my opinion, the flavor as well.



The nose is a little more intense than the small batch.  There’s less corn sweetness and substantially more oak.  You can tell that you’re in for a treat!

Once you take a sip, you’ll realize that this is a significantly better bourbon than Bowman Brothers, and I really liked Bowman Brothers!  It’s less sweet, but more big, bourbon flavor.  Truly excellent!

This whiskey has the perfect bourbon finish; long and very enjoyable.


Rating & Recommendations

John J. Bowman is easily one of my all-time favorite bourbons, earning a 92 out of 100 rating.

It’s a little pricey for a bourbon, at least here in the States, but I think it’s worth every penny.  If you can swing the price, pick up a bottle (or two!).




2 pings

Skip to comment form

    • Jim Long on February 7, 2013 at 9:04 am
    • Reply

    I visited the A. Smith Bowman distillery last summer and picked up a bottle of John J. Bowman. It was like “liquid heat”, smooth and oakey!! The most wonderful bourbon I’ve ever had. I live in NY and it’s been difficult for my local liquor store to get their hands on it, but fortunately, NY is one of the few states in the US where they can distribute. Hope springs eternal. The distillery is in Fredericksburg, VA, right off I-95. If you;re in that vicinity, make a side trip, you won’t regret it!

      • Ryan on February 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm
      • Reply

      Hi Jim.

      I actually made a trip to the A. Smith Bowman Distillery a little while back. You can read about it here:



    • Charles Shaulis on April 23, 2013 at 12:06 am
    • Reply

    I stopped at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg VA 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. 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 John J. Bowman Single Barrel bourbon expression for $49.95. Bill said that the state of VA sets the price that they can charge for a bottle of bourbon at the distillery gift shop. They didn’t have any Abraham Bowman Limited Edition bourbon on hand, and Bill explained that it sells out almost as soon as it’s bottled. 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. I also plan to ration my pours of the Bowman bourbons so that I don’t run out before my next trip down South.

    • je guinn on August 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm
    • Reply


      • Mike on March 25, 2017 at 10:12 am
      • Reply

      Contact your local abc store. They are state run and can transfer bottles to you.

    • Todd on February 17, 2017 at 11:24 pm
    • Reply

    I am working through the top 20 whiskeys from the list. This is the best bourbon I have tasted in a long time. Thank you for the good review because with out it I am not sure I would have tried a bourbon from Virginia.

  1. […] John J. Bowman […]

  2. […] passion for the art of distillation certainly shows up in the whiskey he made.  John J. Bowman bourbon is still my #4 rated whiskey (#2 bourbon) and his other expressions are not far […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.