This is a quick review that I was spurred to write after tasting a sample of Abraham Bowman Pioneer Spirit Virginia Whiskey. Whew, that’s a doozy of a name, but in short this is a rye whiskey first distilled by Buffalo Trace before being re-distilled at the A. Smith Bowman distillery in Virginia. This particular one was a single barrel bottled for The Party Source, a wine and spirits store in Kentucky. It was distilled on March 14, 2001 and bottled on February 1, 2011. This is from Barrel #1 and it’s a whopping 68.2 abv or 136.4 proof.
Think of this one as a nearly 4 year older (10-ish years vs. 6 years) version of Buffalo Trace’s other cask strength rye – Thomas H. Handy Rye Whiskey. While I’ve not done a review of Handy, I feel it and the George T. Stagg from the 2010 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) were the 2 stars of last years BTAC releases.
This is the first I’ve been able to get a hold of this whiskey. However, thanks to Steve Ury, otherwise known as Sku, from Sku’s Recent Eats, I was able to try a sample. Steve is a gem of a guy, one of the best whiskey writers on the internet and has one of the more entertaining blogs as well. Check out his site when you can.
Enough blabbering, let’s get into this review…..
Abraham Bowman Rye Whiskey, 68.2% abv (136.4 Proof), $70
What a massive pour of whiskey. Abraham Bowman Rye is mahogany hued and drinks just like it looks – intense. The nose blasts you with rye grain and spice, is calmed ever so slightly with toffee and brown sugar syrup, then fistfulls of mint, licorice, and Kirsch. The palate is just enormous (there’s a theme here and it’s big!) with an oily texture that coats anything it comes in contact with. However, even at 136 proof, this is not too hot to sip neat if you take it slow. Syrupy toffee sauce, black pepper, mint, eucalyptus, menthol, and cherry cough syrup are delivered in layers on the palate. The finish is long and lingers for days with cherry, cola, peppery spice, and a gentle bitter quality that is a welcomed respite from the intense flavors that preceded it. Abraham Bowman Rye Whiskey is an absolute stunner and a must try for those that love big barrel proof whiskeys.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: (9.5 Superb/Outstanding)