Sonoma County Distilling Co.'s West of Kentucky Bourbon is a nod to the bourbon pioneers, paying homage to the spirit's traditions while also employing a distinctly Californian approach. Founded in 2010 in the heart of Sonoma County by California native and veteran distiller, Adam Spiegel, they use 16th century techniques to re-imagine what a bourbon can be, creating a smooth, flavorful experience that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite bourbon cocktail. Each year a new batch with a unique mash bill is released in very limited amounts.
2015's release is a wheated bourbon combining yellow corn, malted barley, both grown in the heartland of America, and winter wheat from Canada. From here, they use the same methods used by distillers in the 16th century, mashing and fermenting with native Californian yeasts, and double-distilling in their pot still over an open fire. This technique requires a lot of attention, but provides high flavor and highlights the depth of their specially selected grains.
The new make spirit is first barreled in small casks, to achieve caramel and oak notes, then transferred to used barrels to soften and round out the spirit. Their rack house provides a variety of climates, with lots of marine influence, as well as the extremes of southern California's weather. By moving the casks around the rack house, all of the barrels benefits from the extremes in climate, producing a bold, but extremely smooth bourbon.
TIP OF THE TONGUE
Whoever said instant gratification was a bad thing clearly hasn't had a julep: Simply muddle some mint with sugar in the bottom of a copper mug and top with crushed ice and a big glug of bourbon. Ah, the good life.
49% alcohol by volume. Comes in a 750ml bottle.