Bourbon Breakdown: Bowman Bourbon

September 28, 2023

Bowman Bourbon is made in Virginia — not Kentucky — which is not so unusual considering all the craft distillers that have exploded on the scene in the past 10-15 years. But one thing that does make it stand out from those craft brands is that the distillery where it’s made — A. Smith Bowman Distillery — was founded in Virginia just after Prohibition ended making it one of the oldest distilleries on the east coast.

Another key point is that Bowman Bourbon is triple-distilled compared to most bourbon which is double-distilled. And if that weren’t enough of a difference, the brand has Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky handle its fermentation and distillation through the high-wines stage for most of its Bowman Bourbon products. (Side note: Sazerac Co. is the parent company for both Buffalo Trace and A. Smith Bowman so that helps this unique set-up.) Then that distillate is transported to Virginia where it passes through its 2,000 gallon pot still which is named Mary.

That resulting distillate is then put into barrels and then aged in the brand’s warehouses in Virginia. While the focus for Bowman Bourbon distribution is on the east, south-east and mid-west parts of the country, the bottles are ones worth seeking out. Below we’ll cover some of the basics for the core Bowman Bourbon portfolio and also provide a brief tasting note to help with your next bourbon purchase.

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon

The Bowman Brothers the label refers to are brothers John, Abraham, Joseph and Isaac who were all Virginia militia officers during the American Revolution.

What to Know:

This triple-distilled bourbon is made with a mash bill recipe of corn, rye and malted barley. The small batches here consist of around 8 barrels per batch. The bourbon is aged between 6-8 years and then is bottled at 90 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Mint, thyme and tobacco accompany the usual vanilla and spice. Then hints of chocolate, ginger and light fruit notes follow.

Avg US Price: $37
ABV: 45%

Bowman Bourbon: Bowman Brothers Small Batch BourbonBowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon /Photo Credit: Bowman Bourbon

Isaac Bowman Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels

The distillery previously released a port-finished bourbon under its Abraham Bowman portfolio which is its experimental bourbon lineup. While these whiskeys are made in limited quantities, the port finish was so popular that the brand decided to release it as a permanent bottling.

What to Know:

This straight bourbon finishes its aging using Virginia port-style wine and true port wine barrels from Portugal. It’s bottled at 92 proof.

Avg US Price: $47
ABV: 46%

Bowman Bourbon: Isaac Bowman Bourbon Finished in Port BarrelsIsaac Bowman Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels /Photo Credit: Bowman Bourbon

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon

This bourbon features select single barrels of some of the oldest bourbon in the A. Smith Bowman warehouses.

What to Know:

Of course as is the nature of single barrels, each barrel will vary slightly in flavor. But each of the barrels are bottled at 100 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Vanilla, toffee and caramel are followed by faint leather and ripe black fig aroma. The finish is full of rich woody notes.

Avg US Price: $62
ABV: 50%

Bowman Bourbon: John J. Bowman Single Barrel BourbonJohn J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon /Photo Credit: Bowman Bourbon

More Bowman Bourbon Bottles to Know:

A. Smith Bowman Cask Strength Bourbon

This new Bowman Bourbon was introduced in June 2021. It is an expected annual, limited-edition bourbon that is bottled at cask strength without chill filtration. This release was bottled after 10 years of aging.

Abraham Bowman Bourbon: Experimental Collection

As we mentioned earlier, A. Smith Bowman has released several rare and limited experimental whiskeys. Some past examples include a Gingerbread Cocoa Finish (using two different stout beer casks from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery); Sweet XVI (featuring a selection of 16-year-old bourbons, but each had a different barrel entry proof); and a Coffee Finished Bourbon (bourbon finished aging in barrels which housed coffee beans) among many others. Catch ’em while you can!

Ready to do your own Bowman Bourbon comparisons?

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