The Bourbon industry in Kentucky rang up $8.6 billion in economic output last year according to the Kentucky Distillers Association. Kentucky’s spirits distilling industry supports over 20,000 jobs and the Bluegrass State produces (and ages) most of the Bourbon sold around the world.
Bourbon was born in Kentucky which has seen its favourite drink mature, leave home and span the globe to the point where, at 68, the number of distilleries producing it has risen by over 250% in the last 10 years to meet demand.
It reached the point where the total Bourbon stock in January 2018 comprised 7.5 million barrels, the highest Bourbon inventory since 1972.
These Bourbon barrels, quietly aging in warehouses in Kentucky, number twice the population of the state itself and they were tax-assessed at a value of $3 billion last year, up $456 million on 2017.
American whiskeys have proved increasingly popular in the EU where January to June value figures for 2018 showed a 33% increase in exports to around $360 million over the 2017 H1 figure.
But Bourbon’s gallop has been curtailed somewhat of late thanks to the impact of retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey imports imposed by the EU when it placed a 25% tariff on them on June 22nd last year.
The result has been that 2018’s July to December figures were down 13.4% to around $340 million on the same period in 2017.
Nevertheless, it seems that premium small batch and single barrel brands are driving this Bourbon renaissance that’s witnessed an increase in production of over 275% since 1999.
Bourbon in Ireland/Irish demand
The IWSR has predicted increasing demand for premium Bourbon here, encouraged by the emergence of new brands.
“This growth will be maintained throughout the forecast period [2016 to 2021] as the consumer seeks out character, taste and desire to find a brand that ‘represents them’,” states IWSR, before pointing out that, “The potential of premium US whiskey segments will be held back by the dominance of Irish whiskey, which is the leader in this space and currently performing very healthily”.
Despite that, provisional figures from market researcher Euromonitor suggest that Bourbon sales are on the up here in Ireland.
On-trade sales of Bourbon/Other US Whiskeys will be worth €16.5 million this year, predicts Euromonitor, up 4% as on-trade volumes rise 3% to 13,100 nine-litre cases with off-trade sales worth €14 million, up 5%, with volumes up 3% to 33,641 cases.
Euromonitor predicts that by 2022 the on-trade market for Bourbon/American Whiskeys here will be worth €18.44 million, up 12%, while that for the off-trade will be up 14% to €15.9 million.
Volumes will also be up considerably, predicts Euromonitor, by 9% in the on-trade to 14,326 nine-litre cases and in the off-trade volumes will grow 9% to 36,578 cases.
Jack Daniel’s Old No 7
Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 is charcoal mellowed drop-by-drop, then allowed to age in our own handcrafted barrels. Our Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey is ready only when our tasters say so. We use our senses, just like Jack Daniel himself did. In fact more than a century later our Tennessee Whiskey is still judged the same way: by the way it looks, smells and of course by the way it tastes.
Gentleman Jack is the only whiskey in the world to be charcoal mellowed twice, once before going into the barrel and again after reaching maturity, giving it ultimate smoothness. Full-bodied with fruit and spices, Gentleman Jack’s finish is silky, warm and pleasant.
Nose: Vanilla, caramel character.
Taste: Flavour forward in the mouth with a warm, short finish. Absence of Oak due to the second mellowing.
50ml Gentleman Jack stirred with Martini sweet Vermouth and a dash of Orange bitters finished with a light spray of Ardbeg 10-year Scotch and Orange twist.
Once our whiskey has been mellowed through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal it begins its journey towards maturation, resting in our hand-made charred American white Oak barrels. After time and careful tasting by our Master Tasting Panel, only the very best barrels are put to one side and highlighted as single barrels as they show signs of a unique flavour.
They must mature in the upper reaches of the barrelhouse which we call the Angel’s Roost. Here they experience the largest temperature changes – where the heat of the Tennessee Summers, combined with the chill of the cold Winters, causes the pores of the wood to expand and contract allowing the whiskey to be drawn in and out of the barrels, lending it that robust colour and intense flavour.
Each barrel is unique due to its location in the barrelhouse and the personality of the wood. As a result each has its own individual flavour and character. Never blended with another barrel, the whiskey in your bottle is one of 149 bottles available hence the unique neck-strip with the date, bottle number and even where it was rested in the cellar!
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Woodford Reserve is handcrafted in small batches. This artisanal process allows us to craft it at all five sources of Bourbon flavour, giving it its distinct taste and crisp clean finish.
35ml Woodford Reserve Bourbon served with Ginger Beer, 4-5 Mint leaves and 2 squeezed Lime wedges over cubed ice.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Representative of more traditional Kentucky Rye, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey showcases the five sources of flavour with emphasis on spice to deliver a long sweetly spiced finish.
Whiskey aficionados seek additional unique and authentic cocktail experiences, choosing rye for occasions to be savoured and creating a one-of-a-kind experience. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye satisfies this indulgence with a premium, sweetly-spiced taste taking classic cocktails to a new level.
Best Enjoyed: On the Rocks
Cocktail Serve: Rye-So Sour
50ml Woodford Reserve Rye shaken with 25ml Lemon juice, 10ml Ginger-infused sugar syrup, 10ml Benedictine liqueur and a touch of egg-white. Serve over cubed ice in a small tumbler glass.
Treat your customers to something extra special with Jefferson’s ‘ridiculously small-batch’ Bourbon.
Jefferson’s carefully selects small, esoteric lots of aged Bourbon in barrels of various ages, then skilfully blends them to achieve a perfectly balanced taste. The barrels are chosen for their quality, age and taste profile.
Distributed by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, the exquisite range includes:
Jefferson’s Very Small Batch, a smooth full-bodied bourbon, big enough for the bourbon connoisseur yet approachable for the new premium Bourbon drinker
Jefferson’s Reserve, a big sophisticated complex Bourbon with front-loaded flavour and a deep wonderful finish, a marriage of four different bourbons aged up to 18 years
Jefferson’s Ocean, aged for eight years on land and a further six months at sea – during the voyage the Bourbon touches five continents, reaches 30 ports and crosses the equator four times.
The Jefferson’s Groth Reserve Cask Finish, said to have first been aged in new American Oak for six years before finishing in Groth Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for a further nine months. Groth is a well-respected winery out of California’s Napa Valley and its Cabernet in particular is considered an awesome wine in its grape varietal category.