Maker: A. Smith Bowman, Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA (Sazerac)
Proof: 90 (45% ABV)
Note: First distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky, then redistilled in a pot still and aged in Fredericksburg.
Appearance: Bright shiny copper with a thick, voluptuous robe.
Nose: Oak, heirloom apple, alcohol, charred sweet corn.
On the palate: Full-bodied. Caramel apple upon entry, sweet cinnamon, leather.
Finish: Light, but still apple-y. Caramel, then fading into a ticklish tingle all over the mouth and lips. Lingers for a very long tim.
Parting words: For many years, Bowman was a one-brand distillery. Virginia Gentleman was that brand and it came in 80 proof and 90 proof versions. There were other brands here and there, Bowman, Fairfax County and others but in the years before Sazerac bought the distillery, VG was about it.
I was a pretty big fan of “The Fox” as the 90 proofer was called. The label was a scene of a fox hunt and the logo for that version had a little fox head on it. I didn’t love it because it was great bourbon. I loved it because it seemed to be the perfect summertime sipping whiskey. It was light and refreshing with some nice cinnamon notes but otherwise unassuming. When it was announced that the Fox was being discontinued (the 80 proof version is still made) and replaced with a 100 proof single barrel John J. Bowman Bourbon and a 90 proof Bowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon, I had mixed feelings. It was great that Bowman was doing new things, but my beloved Fox would be gone!
After finishing a bottle of Bowman Brothers Small Batch, I don’t miss The Fox anymore. This has the same refreshing qualities of its ancestor, but with much more depth and weight. The sweetness, spice and fruitiness of Bowman Brothers makes it the perfect autumn sipper. Refreshing but complex enough to keep things interesting. I actually prefer it to the single barrel, at least the bottle I had of it. And in fantastic news, Bowman Brothers is now on the Michigan state liquor list which means we should be seeing it on shelves in a few months. Saints be praised! At any rate, enough fanboy gushing. Bowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey is highly recommended.