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John J. Bowman Single Barrel - The Buffalo Trace you never knew

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    John J. Bowman Single Barrel - The Buffalo Trace you never knew

    If you’ve been on these forums long enough, you probably know I am not a Buffalo Trace fan. My unpopular hot take is Blanton’s is overrated (although I know many on here agree with me). Now, don’t get me wrong, Buffalo Trace makes good bourbon. In fact Stagg Jr is excellent....if you can find it. As for Blanton’s and Buffalo Trace, the hype doesn’t match what you are getting IMHO, so I don’t bother searching for it and, honestly, when I see a bottle of Blanton’s I usually pass it up for something better. Here in my state, whenever anything Buffalo Trace hits the shelves, every Tom, Dick, and Harry hurries to the store and scoops them up them up before lunch. It’s quite silly, really. Again, it doesn’t affect me because there is better bourbon to be enjoyed.

    Enter John J Bowman Single Barrell. Bowman Distillery is a small distillery in Fredericksburg, VA. You’ve probably seen their bottles in stores but passed them up because you have never heard of them before. In fact you may have ignored their bourbon as you were itching to buy that fancy bottle of Blanton’s. Well, guess what? Bowman doesn’t produce their own distillate. They source it. Well, guess where their distillate comes from? Glad you asked. It comes from Buffalo Trace. Buffalo Trace distills a custom mashbill for Bowman - some say it’s a mix of mashbills #1 and #2 (both higher rye mashbills - one has 9% rye and the other has 12% rye) but can’t get 100% confirmation on that. Anyway, the it’s distilled twice at BT before it is shipped to Fredericksburg, VA. When the folks in Virginia get it, they distill it a 3rd time in a copper pot still (which isn’t as “efficient” as a column still but provides more flavor). After distilling, the white dog is barreled in new charred oak barrels and stacked in the warehouse vertically. The barrels that go into Bowman Single Barrel are rumored to be aged 10 years and are considered the “honey” barrels. They get bottled in Fredericksburg, from what I understand while the other barrels are sent to Baltimore for bottling ther other products (small batch, etc). At least that is what I have read from multiple sources.

    Bowman Single Barrell is an 8-10 year bourbon bottle at 100 proof and costs around $50 here in VA. What about taste? Well, it’s every bit worth it’s price and is a lot better than Blanton’s. The taste is bakery sweet, oakey, and oh so smooth. This one’s a winner folks. Next time you go on a hunt for Blanton’s or any other Buffalo Trace product, go get yourself some Bowman Single Barrel and save a few bucks on a better bourbon. It just might become your new Buffalo Trace favorite. And it’s more available too.

    Click image for larger version

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    #2
    Friends and I went to the Bowman distillery several years ago. It was a neat trip although we didn't get to taste the top o' the line stuff.

    I'm not into the hard stuff, but I do believe their single barrel won top honors at either the US or world championships a few years ago, (see - I told ya I was not into that stuff ).
    Last edited by RonB; August 1, 2020, 10:54 AM.

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      #3
      How did you know I needed to restock bourbon??

      Comment


        #4
        I'll try that out. I've been a big fan of a lot of the Buffalo trace stuff.
        Weller 12 year is a staple.
        Elmer T Lee is fantastic.

        Comment


        • Bkhuna
          Bkhuna commented
          Editing a comment
          Elmer T. Lee is my all time favorite. My liquor store gets 4 bottles a year. One is reserved for me.

          Weller is no longer available in my area. It's entire allotment is apportioned for one liquor store chain and it hasn't been in stock for at least 5 years. I should say, it's never been on the shelf. I'm not one of the lucky ones to schmooze with the manager.

        • BFlynn
          BFlynn commented
          Editing a comment
          I've been lucky to make a connection with a liquor store owner in Dallas that gets a lot of Buffalo trace allocated stuff.
          I do a monthly trek to restock

        #5
        No age statement on the bottle but their press material says 9-10 years old. It is also reported that they source their distillate from Buffalo Trace.

        Comment


          #6
          Well, add this to the list of adult beverages that NM distributors cannot (or are unwilling to) get - whatever "none of our distributors carry that" means. Regardless, I was intrigued by your write-up and was going to get some of this for a gift. Thank you for that!

          Alas, NM remains somewhat of a black-hole for liquor/beer distribution.
          Last edited by Arsenlael; August 3, 2020, 11:29 AM.

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          • barelfly
            barelfly commented
            Editing a comment
            Or the stores get them, but only a few bottles and never let them hit the shelf. it is a challenge to get some of these good bottles. There are a few places though, Cedar Crest has a spot that gets some usually, but now it’s harder with the quarantine.

          #7
          Thanks for the share. Will have to see what I can find on that. But Buffalo Trace is a different price point, at least here. $21-24 isn’t bad. Blanton’s I will pass on though, too expensive for what you get. I have a bottle boxed up in the cabinet, but my go to is a BT product, in that I really enjoy Weller.

          But, I’ll have to find this product. I do have a source in New Mexico that seems to get a better stock of these types of finds compared to Albuquerque.

          And I sure do enjoy your write ups on the various bourbons you come across! Thank you!

          Comment


            #8
            Thanks for the write up. I am a fan of Buffalo Trace (it isn't that expensive here either - around 22 bucks), but lately it is hard to find, so I moved on the Larceny as my daily go to. I'll take a look for this though.

            Comment


              #9
              I've also seen it as "Bowman Brothers". Which is the current name, do you know? Anyway, I'll watch for it, thanks.

              I agree Blanton's is a bit overrated considering its price and the fact that stores that do have it jack the price up even further making me turn my head further. But I think Buffalo Trace itself, for its price, is great. My personal favorite is EH Taylor, I just can't hardly every find it either. Can't wait to try this one.

              EDIT: I figured it out. Bowman Brothers is their small batch (blended), John J. Bowman is the single barrel, and Isaac Bowman is the port finished. Thanks again!

              Comment


              • barelfly
                barelfly commented
                Editing a comment
                Huskee have you had the Isaac Bowman?

              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                barelfly I have not. You?

              • barelfly
                barelfly commented
                Editing a comment
                No I haven’t. Will let you know if I am able to find it. The port finish interests me though. I like the profile that provides to bourbon. Perhaps next week I’ll find this at my go to shop a few hours away from home!

              #10
              Thanks for sharing...... I'll have to search this one out. I too am one of the few that thinks Blanton's is over rated and often reach for Eagle Rare instead. I do however think BT is a fine bourbon, but that is why they make chocolate and vanilla, we all have a choice.

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