May 4th: Bourbon Independence Day!

Everyone knows that May 4th is synonymous with “Star Wars Day.” This is the day the entire planet celebrates ‘Star Wars’ with gleeful greetings of “May the 4th be with you!” So let me be, if not the first then surely not the last, to provide my respectful offering to you all, “May the 4th be with you!”

As renown as this day has become for ‘Star Wars’ fans worldwide, it also happens to be just as celebrated for those who love bourbon. That’s right, that delicious brown water made right here in the U. S. of A. You see, on May 4th 1964, Congress passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 19, which designated bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States.

Ok, that’s awesome but what does that mean? It means bourbon, from that date forward, has been legally protected by law and can’t be produced in any other country! Other foreign distillers may copy bourbon recipes but they can never call it “bourbon.” Bourbon is strictly an American product…much like our beloved Star Wars!

‘Merica baby!

So my advice to you, on such a momentous day, would be to pour yourself a bourbon, whether neat, on the rocks, with water or ginger ale and turn on your favorite episode of Star Wars. Sip and enjoy!

As for me, the Bourboneer, I will be drinking a dram of Wilderness Trail Bourbon (KSBW) and watching Episode V, “The Empire Strikes Back!”

“May the 4th be with you!”

– The Bourboneer

The Dance of Ice, Stone and Steel

It kind of sounds like a Game of Thrones episode doesn’t it?

But what I am referring to when I say ice, stone and steel is the method in which you chill your favorite glass of bourbon…by using either ice, stone or steel!

Now if you enjoy your brown water “neat” then this article may not be of particular interest to you. However, I truly applaud your purist palate. For me, my bourbon is best served with ice or “on the rocks” as it’s commonly referred. Usually one large cube, never crushed, to really open up the flavor profiles. As the ice melts, it mildly dilutes and softens the burn of the alcohol which in turn enables your taste buds to experience the bourbon’s true flavors. Those wonderful notes of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, honey or chocolate (and so many more). Be careful not to drop the temperature too much, however. I recommend keeping the temperature above 40 degrees, if at all possible. Too much ice will prevent the subtle refinements of your bourbon from coming out. You will lose flavor. So I suggest one maybe two ice cubes depending on the size. I particularly use the large round cubes much like you’ll find in restaurants, but honestly there are silicone molds for almost any fancy. See below.

Yes, that is Han Solo in carbon freeze! Very poetic if you ask me 😄.

I am actually very thirsty now.

Getting back to the matter at hand. I’ve used all three methods to chill my bourbon. And I have to admit that using stone (soapstone cubes) was the most ineffective and my least favorite. After getting past the initial, mildly halting, moment of seeing actual stones in my glass, I found they were no comparison to ice. They lacked staying power when it came to temperature and obviously didn’t provide the desired dilution. Personally, I think there more of a “cool” gimmick. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Steel, on the other hand, retained its temperature much longer than stone. And contrary to some belief, there was no “metallic” taste residue at all. My steel of choice just so happens to be in the shape of rifle bullets. There is nothing that makes a statement, political, patriotic or otherwise, more than silver, steel bullets chilling your American made bourbon.


So you see, when it comes to chilling your bourbon, you have options. I suggest you try all three. For me, an ice cube or two works perfectly. But like anything else in life, it will simply boil down to your own personal preference. Cheers!

-The Bourboneer

Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Blanton’s Single Barrel KSBW. 46.5% ABV (93 proof), NAS. Blanton’s Distilling Company, Frankfurt, KY.

A New Beginning?

Nah! Just time I got back to it!

Happy 2020 to all you bourboneers out there! I’d first like to apologize for my lengthy absence. I had no intention of taking such a hiatus. Life just got in the way I guess. However, the time away did give me the opportunity to broaden, not only my bourbon palette, but my bourbon knowledge as well. Now, I can thankfully add such labels as Cream of Kentucky (KY), Slipknot No. 9 (IA), Walking Dead (Unk), Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style (KY), Rowan’s Creek (KY), St. Augustine Double Cask (FL) and Seacrets Distilling (MD) to my bourbon palette repository, just to name a few. I’d have to say the the Cream of Kentucky was delicious and what I expected from a Jim Rutledge offering. Of course you will pay a bit more for such a fine bourbon (@ $150 per 750ml). I was most surprised by the Walking Dead. It’s distilled from an unknown location, however, Diageo has their hand involved in the production. I was a bit wary of a bourbon semi-associated with the popular long-running television series. But I have to say it wasn’t bad, not bad at all. I’d even recommend trying it if you have the chance.

I added The Bourbon Bartender, The Old Fashioned and The Field Guide to Whisky titles to my ever growing library and would recommend all of them especially the Field Guide to Whisky. It’s incredibly informative, beautifully crafted and eye catching from front cover to back.

But enough about my absence and experiences. I am just happy to be back sharing all things bourbon. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season highlighted by bourbon in its many delicious forms. I look forward to staying in touch throughout 2020. Happy New Year!

BTW, Was Santa good to you this year?

I hope so. I guess I made the “nice” list. Under the tree this year, I found 2 bottles of Blanton’s, a bottle of Basil Hayden, Longbranch, Willett Pot Still Reserve and the coup de grace, a hand selected “Noe Country for Old Men” signature labeled bottle (#4513) of Knob Creek Single Barrel. Special thanks to my daughter, Erica, for cleverly figuring out on getting me such a thoughtful gift!

– The Bourboneer

Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Willett “Pot Still” Reserve KSBW. 94 proof (47%ABV), Aged 8 – 10 years. Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY.

Fall is in the…glass

Fall is here and there is no better time to get creative with your bourbon. Nothing will warm you up better on a crisp autumn day like the four offerings I’ve listed below. Apple, maple syrup and honey are the prominent seasonal flavors in these drinks. Try one out and enjoy!


Black Walnut Old Fashioned

  •      2 oz. bourbon (High Rye is preferable – Bulleit)
  •      1/2 oz. walnut liqueur
  •      3 dashes Angostura bitters
  •      Orange peel twist


hot pants

Hot Pants

  •      8 oz. apple cider
  •      3/4 oz lemon juice
  •      2 oz. maple bourbon (Knob Creek Smoked maple bourbon)
  •      1/4 oz. amaro nonino
  •      3/4 oz. salted caramel sauce
  •      dash of nutmeg
  •      cinnamon stick



Apple Bottom

  •      2 oz. bourbon (Jim Beam)
  •      3/4 oz. maple syrup
  •      3/4 oz. lemon juice
  •      Gala apples


brown derby

Brown Derby

  •      1.5 oz. bourbon (Woodford Reserve)
  •      1 oz. grapefruit juice
  •      1.2 oz. honey syrup
  •      grapefruit peel twist


If none of these offerings meet your fancy or sound just too time consuming to make, then just do what I do. Pour a glass of your favorite bourbon and add a few drops of your preferred cinnamon whiskey (Jim Beam Kentucky Fire or Fireball) or maybe even a few ounces of apple cider like Angry Orchard or Bold Rock. It’s like fall in a glass! Cheers!


-The Bourboneer



Gettin’ “Wiggly” With It


My friend “Neebs” recently returned from a long weekend get-away in “The Pine Tree State.” Yes, that would be Maine…York, Maine to be more precise. His wife surprised him with a trip just for two, sans children. Can’t deny that I am envious of this fact, but I digress.

During their cozy stay in the quaint, yet well known resort town, a visit/tour of the Wiggly Bridge Distillery ended up being one of their stops. Lucky for me! Named after the smallest pedestrian suspension bridge in the country, the Wiggly Bridge Distillery was founded in 2013 and has been producing an impressive line of spirits, including several award winners, since that time. Their selection includes small batch dry gin, vodka, white rum, award winning small barrel rum, white whisky and small barrel bourbon. Naturally, the small barrel bourbon is what stirred my interest. And graciously enough Neebs picked up a bottle for me to sample. Thanks Neebs!

Here’s The Bourboneer’s review:

The Wiggly Bridge small barrel bourbon is a high-rye offering with a mash-bill of 57% corn, 38% rye and 5% malted barley. It’s bottled at 96 proof (or 48% ABV). Along with the high rye content the 96 proof accentuates the nice, smooth, cinnamon tingle finish.

The bourbon is a “small barrel” offering which generally means the aging process is sped up as compared to the traditional size barrel method. This process also allows the distillery to have their product out to the market sooner (cha-ching $$$).

The age statement on the bottle says the spirit was aged less than 4 years, however, according to the distillery, it has actually been aged “for 10 months.” Anything aged less than 2 years does not qualify as a “straight” bourbon and therefore cannot say so on the bottle. But remember, the process of aging in small barrels accelerates the aging process which in turn gives the Wiggly Bridge bourbon that nice burnt caramel or amber color. Normally such coloration is not achieved for several years in the larger, traditional size barrels.

The nose of the bourbon certainly provides hints of dark fruit and wood, even leather to a degree. However, sweet tobacco seems to be the most prominent note. And if I am not mistaken, I pick up occasional whiffs of agave (tequila) which I’ve never quite experienced in a bourbon. I did not detect the usual vanilla tones found in many bourbons, but there is certainly an overture of caramel oakyness to the palate followed by a finale of ever-present sweet tobacco. And much like in the nose, I sense what I believe to be highlights of agave sweetness rather than the more common notes of honey. The finish doesn’t stray far from the company’s description on their website, “dry long and pleasant with cinnamon and clove.” That’s right on the money!

All in all, I enjoyed my first Wiggly Bridge bourbon experience. Due to its prevalent tobacco and fruit notes, this bourbon drinks much better standing on its own, with ice or with a little water to accentuate the complexity of the flavors. Personally, I don’t think it would blend well in most bourbon cocktails. Anyhow, a young bourbon with an award winning pedigree such as this should honestly be enjoyed for its own merits and not interfered with in a mixer.

I want to thank Neebs for supplying me a bottle of the Wiggly Bridge small barrel bourbon. I am very appreciative. I know Wiggly Bridge has only been made available outside the state of Maine for a few years now, but unfortunately I will still have to wait a bit longer before this hand crafted whisky graces the shelves in my local liquor establishments here in Maryland. Boo!

If you can get your hands on a bottle of Wiggly Bridge small barrel bourbon, I wouldn’t think twice before buying it. Cheers and enjoy!


The Bourboneer


Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Wiggly Bridge Small Barrel Bourbon Whisky, 48% ABV or 96 proof (aged 10 months), Wiggly Bridge Distillery, York, Ma.

References: Wiggly Bridge Distillery website (, “Wiggly Bridge”, Wikipedia.