Whisky Magazine Issue 32
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Lynn Seldon charts the history and success of a bourbon made beyond Kentucky: Virginia Gentleman
Those who think Kentucky has a monopoly on bourbon whiskey in the United States haven't talked to the descendants of Abram Smith Bowman – or tried his bourbon. Founded in 1935 by Bowman and his two sons, Smith and DeLong, A. Smith Bowman Distillery is the oldest family owned bourbon distillery in the United States.
“Though they may not know A. Smith Bowman, everyone in this region knows Virginia Gentleman,” says John ‘Jay' B. Adams, Jr., the company's president and CEO (and Delong Bowman's son-in-law).
“Many men in Virginia and neighbouring states will only drink our bourbon.”
The Bowmans began producing bourbon on their farm in northern Virginia's Fairfax County at the end of Prohibition, and the fabled Virginia Gentleman became the region's hallmark bourbon for decades. Originally created as a ‘small batch' bourbon, the distillery was originally located on Sunset Hills Farm, the Bowman family property in what would eventually become the bustling city of Reston.
Produced today as it was then, Virginia Gentleman became the Bowman Distillery's hallmark brand. Made from the finest corn, rye, and malted barley, it is aged for at least four years in new charred oak barrels.
The 80-proof bourbon was rated four out of five stars (100 per cent recommended) by the website Epinion.com, and has garnered good comments in Whisky Magazine for its consistent flavour.
The sweetish Virginia Gentleman 80 has a big body and tends to be higher in malt and lower in corn than ...