June 13, 2023 – Bourbon should have the title of America’s national drink. After all, the first rule of making bourbon is that it is made in America. More rules follow: It must be at least 51% corn. The balance can be made up of wheat, rye and barley. It must be aged in new charred oak barrels, usually white oak, for two years. No additives or coloring allowed. Distillation proof can be no higher than 160; it must be no higher than 125 proof when barreled; it must 80 proof minimum when bottled. Remember that the next time someone tells you there’s no difference between whiskey and bourbon. Finish victoriously with the famous quote “All bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon”.
If you were a devotee of The Vampire Diaries, you’ll remember stars Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, two handsome hunks, who played bourbon-swilling brothers in the series. However, that’s neither here nor there apart from the fact they are very famous and remain great friends who decided to act on their mutual enjoyment of bourbon creating Brother’s Bond Straight Bourbon. Perhaps they had their youthful demographic in mind because it is a very pleasant, easy-drinking bourbon. Sometimes, something that tastes good and easy-going is what we all want whether it’s whiskey, wine or gin. Apparently the judges at numerous national and international spirits competitions agree: Platinum & Best in Show at the 2023 TAG Awards, Double Gold at the 2023 International Wine & Spirits Competition, 90 Points & Gold at the 2023 London Spirits Competition, Double Gold & Gold at the 2023 New York World Spirits Competition Gold and 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition respectively. MSRP $39.99
New Brother’s Bond Releases
With the enormous success of their first entry into the marketplace in 2021, the Bros justifiably feel they have established their credentials and intend to cement their position as serious players in the distilling industry with the release of Brother’s Bond Original Cask Strength Bourbon and Brother’s Bond American Blended RyeWhiskey.
I have tasted the Cask Strength courtesy of the brand, but not the Blended Rye. The Cask Strength Bourbon is definitely positioned to appeal to the serious bourbon drinker. Rich and complex, it is a blend of 70 barrels, unfiltered and uncut. The mash bill is 65% corn and 22% rye. Bottled at 115.1 proof, it is a bit of a shock to the palate but once past the heat, flavors influenced by the barrel emerge such as capsicum, dried fruit, toasty caramel, a hint of smokiness and the sweetness of bourbon. The flavors move to the back of the palate and linger for a long, long finish. MSRP $84.99
Brother’s Bond American Blended Rye is a four grain whiskey comprising 77% rye, 16% corn and 7% wheat and barley. Since it is a combination of bourbon and rye, it cannot be labeled as Straight Rye. It is 95 proof, 47.5 ABV. It is described as complex , robust and nostalgic with an extra long finish. Two consumer reviews on Total Wine & More gave it five stars. MSRP $49.99
. . . And One More
At risk of causing an international incident, because we are talking about National Bourbon Day, and I did start by extolling Made in America, let me tell you about another bottle that might save the day for you if you haven’t shopped yet for Dad. It’s Keeper’s Heart Irish + Bourbon Whiskey.
Well, about half of it was made in America and they do use American spelling for whiskey (not whisky).
Keeper’s Heart comes from O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co. in Minneapolis. They were fortunate enough to snag world-renowned master distiller Brian Nation who had been at the helm of several of Ireland’s famous whiskeys – Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, Spot and Powers Irish Whiskey. Brian was intrigued with the offer to come to America and lead the creation of some very innovative products with the O’Shaughnessy family.
Irish + Bourbon is certainly a creative success. It is the perfect marriage of elegance coupled with silky smoothness. The creaminess of the Irish whiskey combines with the sweetness of bourbon to produce a lovely butterscotch flavor and hints of vanilla. The finish is smooth and lingering. The Irish whiskey component tames the bourbon component and this might not be the choice of hardcore bourbon drinkers but It is a perfectly lovely whiskey for a sophisticated palate and with an MSRP of $35.00 it is a very good buy. Buy one for Dad and one for yourself.