A. Smith Bowman Distillery Adds Port Finished Bourbon - The Whiskey Wash
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A. Smith Bowman Distillery Adds Port Finished Bourbon

Wine Down Box

One growing category of bourbon finished in other types of barrels besides the new American oak they were first aged in is that which saw extra maturation in ex-port wine barrels. In general the additional time spent in this traditional sweet wine cask adds a bit of extra reddish color and some sweetness to the final whiskey. The latest distillery now getting in on this in a permanent fashion is A. Smith Bowman out of Virginia.

The new Isaac Bowman Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels, according to those behind it, was finished in a variety of port barrels from across Virginia and from Portugal for between three to six months, depending on flavor, before marrying them together to create this offering. These barrels were made using American Oak and French Limousin Oak, with some barrels originating from Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, and others.

image via A. Smith Bowman Distillery

Technically this is not the distillery’s first port-finished release. It follows instead on the heels of a 2016, limited edition Abraham Bowman release that was named the World’s Best Bourbon by Whisky Magazine. While the new one is now a permanent expression, a portion of each batch will be held back for blending with the next batch to ensure consistency in flavor and color going forward.

“The nose greets you with our characteristic cherry and baked apple but supplemented with jammy fruit notes and balanced with the enticing aroma of vanilla, brown spice, and toasted pecans,” said Bowman master distiller Brian Prewitt in a prepared statement. “[The flavor is] bold and sweet with the toasty notes of French and American oak rounding out to a long smooth finish that pleasantly lingers on the palate.”

Plans call for the Isaac Bowman Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels, bottled at 46% ABV, to be available for around $40 initially in Virginia only, but eventually spreading into North Carolina and a few additional markets.

About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.