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John J. Bowman: award-winning bourbon

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This is the time of year when we're likely to have visitors come to the house -- more so than any other time, except maybe around the holidays. It's nice to be able to welcome folks, set them at ease, offer some hospitality. When you have a group of people over, some of whom know their bourbon and some are unacquainted, what do you set out with your cheese straws? I would suggest John J. Bowman bourbon out of Virginia. A Virginia bourbon? Yes! That oughta start some conversations rolling. I was happy to be hosted to experience it.

This bourbon is from A. Smith Bowman distillery -- a small American family owned company. In some years at various prestigious competitions, it wins anywhere from Silver to Double Gold. Why the discrepancies? During all my years of sipping bourbon and being a Kentucky Colonel, I realize that bourbons can have vastly different characteristics. Some people like the unusual and funky, while some people want a classic. Some people like both! It's the same with women, I guess . . . just ask Brad Pitt about Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.

When tasting John J. Bowman, I noticed how very smooth it was, with a tiny bit of spice. It doesn't have a heavy nose, but you can still discern leather and golden tobacco. The flavors of unsweetened vanilla shine through. It's a medium red in color.

Here's what they say about it:

Early pioneer Colonel John J. Bowman first explored Kentucky in 1775. Four years later he moved his family to Lincoln County where they were among the earliest settlers of Kentucky. He presided over Kentucky's first county court and was also appointed the first military commander and governor of Kentucky County. He was the great, great uncle of Abram Bowman, founder of Virginia's A. Smith Bowman Distillery. This single barrel bourbon whiskey commemorates the early American pioneer John J. Bowman.

Tasting Notes:

This bourbon whiskey has been hand selected from some of the oldest barrels in our warehouse. Each barrel rests years on end while Virginia's moderate, but ever-changing climate extracts the complex flavors from the oak and mellows the whiskey. When the time is right, these prime barrels are hand-bottled with care. This single barrel bourbon is 100 proof, but still smooth as the fall breeze. Its fragrant nose is followed by hints of toffee, leather, figs and almonds with a long dry finish. Drink straight or over ice.

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