Review: A. Smith Bowman Isaac Bowman Port-Barrel Finished Bourbon
Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman seems to have no shortage of relatives under whom it can bottle whiskey. Abraham, John, “Bowman Brothers”… they all have spirits made in their honor. Now it’s Isaac’s turn, with a bourbon finished in Port casks.
Officially known as Isaac Bowman Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels, this is a NAS bourbon (the same base spirit used in its core line) that spends between three to six months in Port-style casks brought in from Portugal and “from across Virginia.” The finishing time is dependent on the particular cask.
The whiskey joins a prior Port-finished bottling (though quite a bit different in production) that was released under the Abraham Bowman line and which hit the market in 2013.
Let’s give this new expression a shot.
The nose is quite a delight, chocolatey and raisin-heavy, without the dominating wood profile of the 2013 Abraham Bowman bottling referenced above. The traditional popcorn notes of bourbon take on more of a caramel corn character, with some mint overtones evident. The palate is largely in line with what’s come before the mint and chocolate really taking the full focus of the experience, with a melange of character picking up on the back end — cloves, honey, and an amaro-like bitterness that takes the finish into a surprising (and welcome) slightly brooding territory.
Fun stuff, and at just $40 a bottle, it’s an excellent value worth picking up immediately.