By Richard Thomas
Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery is best known these days for its prolific releases of experimental and one-shot whiskeys. So, it’s eye-catching when they make a permanent addition to the line, as with the new Isaac Bowman Port-Finished Bourbon.
Isaac Bowman Bourbon builds on the success of one of those one-shot releases from last year, which was popular enough to bring it on permanently. Permanent version is made following the same procedure the original,with the finishing being done in Port barrels from both Portugal and the local Virginia wine industry, these being made from American oak in French oak. It was bottled 92 proof.
In the glass, this Port-finished Bourbon has a light amber coloring. A swish and coat of the glass reveals just a few the legs.
Taking a sniff, I got thick vanilla, cherry jam, nuttiness, toasted graham crackers, old wine. The flavors folder, and this reduces some of the complexity of the nose. It’s wood driven in the main, and quite spicy, but rounded out by light caramel and tawny wine.The finish runs on a nutty note that lingers quite a while.
Isaac Bowman Port-Finished Bourbon is priced at $39.99. Although not as good as Angel’s Envy (in particular, it lacks that dry, distinguished character that makes Angel’s Envy stand out), at that price point it is a bit cheaper. So, it offers an alternative for Port-finished Bourbon with different flavor profile and for less money.