By Jake Emen
Abram Smith Bowman built and licensed his eponymous distillery in 1935, right after the end of Prohibition. It was moved from its historic location in Fairfax, Virginia to Fredericksburg in 1988, and is currently under the guidance of Master Distiller Truman Cox, who previously refined his craft while working for Buffalo Trace.
The current A. Smith Bowman Pioneer Spirit Collection embraces three whiskeys, including a small batch bourbon, a single barrel bourbon and a small batch limited edition – each of which is made in tribute to a deceased member or members of the Bowman family clan. The distillery also makes an assortment of other spirits including rum, vodka and gin.
Here, I’ll offer my thoughts on the Bowman Brothers Virginia Small Batch Straight Bourbon.
Bowman Brothers small batch bourbon is aged in new charred oak for “many years” (“straight” merely means two years or more), and is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv). It’s triple-distilled in copper, and utilizes both rye and malted barley in conjunction with the predominant corn.
Offering sweet maple syrup and vanilla scents with a rye-spice edge, the Bowman Brothers small batch bourbon goes down easy. It’s a bit chewy and doesn’t linger long on the finish, especially on the rocks.
Bowman Brothers small batch bourbon is very approachable, and retains its sweetness throughout. It would be a clear upgrade for the whiskey drinker accustomed to ordering his whiskey and coke sans-brand, and looking to step up to something straight, and of a higher quality, without being scared off.
At a time when “small batch” can seemingly be slapped on anything and potentially used to mask deficiencies in the spirit itself, Bowman Brothers offers a smooth, quality product.
Bowman Brothers small batch bourbon has a suggested retail price of $29.99