Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
In 1927, A. Smith Bowman wanted to be a farmer. He planned to open a dairy farm and granary, so he purchased Sunset Hills Farm in Fairfax County, Virginia. The 4,000 acre farm ended up with an excess in grain, and Bowman had to find a way to use that excess. So, in 1934 Bowman built a distillery on the farm, and with the help of his two sons, created their first batch of Virginia Gentleman bourbon.
Between that time, and the 1950’s, the A. Smith Bowman distillery was the only legal producer of whiskey in Virginia. Then, in 1947, the Bowman family purchased another 3,140 acres, bringing them up to over 7,200 acres total. Of those 7,200 acres, 4,000 were used in distilling, with the grain fields, barns, and housing for workers. They created a self-sufficient community.
After A. Smith Bowman Sr. passed, his sons kept the distillery and 35 acres, but sold the rest of the farm. The farm area would later be developed and become Reston, Virginia. In 1988, they made the decision to move the distillery to Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is the distillery the company still uses today.
In 2003 the company was sold to the Sazerac company, which is best known as being the parent of Buffalo Trace. The company has put a focus on creating “premium handcrafted small batches and experimental editions that embody innovation at its core.” They are also said to be Virginia’s most award winning distillery.
The A. Smith Bowman distillery recent released their second batch of cask strength bourbon. Their first batch was aged ten years, and came in at 141.1 proof (70.55% ABV). The second batch comes from the last barrels laid by the former master distiller of 30 years, Joe Dangler. This batch comes in at a whopping 144.5 proof (72.25% ABV)! According to current distiller, David Bock, “Batch #1’s proof snuck up on you; Batch #2 slaps you in the char.” This batch is aged at 10 years, and is bottled uncut and non-chill filtered, for the purest whiskey possible.
Tasting Notes: A. Smith Bowman Cask Strength Bourbon Batch #2
Vital Stats: 144.5 proof (72.25% ABV), aged 10 years, 750ml bottle, MSRP $99.99.
Appearance: This bourbon is a very nice dark amber in color.
Nose: There is a lovely hint of caramel and leather, with a touch of cherry.
Palate: This bourbon has a lovely hit of apple and vanilla, with a nice wood char flavor to follow.
Whiskey Review: A. Smith Bowman Cask Strength Bourbon Batch #2
This is definitely a very strong bourbon! As David Bock stated, this particular batch hits hard. It’s one of those bourbons that has a good burn as it goes down, and gives a strong set of fumes that really catch your breath for a few seconds after each swallow. This is definitely one of the best bourbons I’ve tried, and would be great to drink straight, or on the rocks.
User Review3.2 (10 votes)
Just an average guy with a background in food service and retail management. In my mid 20’s I developed a deep love of whiskey based drinks. After receiving a bottle of 15 year old Scotch whiskey as a birthday present, I soon began a yearly ritual of trying a new...