Thursday, November 21, 2013
You Can't Catch Me: Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Beer Finished Bourbon
No, this is not the newest flavored whiskey concoction. It is, however, the newest release from the Abraham Bowman special release series. A. Smith Bowman, in Virginia, is owned by Sazerac Company, which also owns the Buffalo Trace and Barton Distilleries in Kentucky. Their bourbons are distilled once at Buffalo Trace, then shipped to Bowman for second distillation and aging there. They use both of the Buffalo Trace rye recipe bourbon mashbills but never say which mashbill is used for which bourbon.
This particular bourbon was finished for two months in Bowman bourbon barrels that had been previously been used to age Hardywood Brewery's Gingerbread Stout (touted as aged in bourbon barrels - ah, the barrels that keep on giving). It was further aged in bourbon barrels after the beer barrel aging. I don't know that I've ever had a whiskey aged in beer barrels before, so let's give it a shot.
Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Beer Finished Bourbon, 7yo, 45% ($70)
The nose has a very strong rye component with pine notes. The palate has some bourbon sweetness up front but then a definite beer influence. There's a malty, cereal grain profile that tastes like, well, beer - malty and a bit bitter. That malty note dominates the finish as well. For two months of finishing, there is a surprising amount of beer influence on this. It's almost like a boiler maker in a bottle.
Does it work? There's a bitterness to those beer notes that's a bit strong late in the palate which puts it a bit out of balance. Overall, I'd say it's worth tasting, but I'm not sure I would want an entire bottle of the stuff.