Bourbon Heritage Month 2018 at Monarch

September 2018 marks the second annual celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month at  Monarch in Wichita, Kansas.

Bourbon Heritage Month was introduced as a result of 2007 resolution by the United States Senate.

The legislation recites that Congress declared Bourbon as “America’s Native Spirit” back in 1964.  The 2007 resolution reinforced that declaration, and further declared September 2007 as Bourbon Heritage Month to “celebrate the history of the Commonwealth, the distilleries and bourbon.”

Normally, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to read the text of the work of our legislature without a glass of whiskey by their side.  So suffice it to say that the resolution isn’t clear whether the month was to be observed as Bourbon Heritage Month in perpetuity.

Where the U.S. Senate left off, Kentucky itself has acted to continue the tradition.

Regardless of any official act by Congress or Kentucky’s legislature, many around the country, including Monarch, celebrate September as Bourbon Heritage Month.

We’ve been working through the bourbon trail passport at Monarch in celebration of our country’s national spirit. Here is a peek at what we have sampled so far:

Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel (14 years old, 107.8 proof)

Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel

We’ve written before about Barrell’s products. A unique company with innovative ideas, this is the closest thing to a mainstream expression that they offer.  This 14 year single barrel is a “Tennessee Bourbon,” which means it is most likely produced by George Dickel (a hidden gem of a distillery, if you ask us).  This particular single barrel is rich in oak and butterscotch flavor, and the minerality that Dickel is famous for.

Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength (119.2 proof)

Bulleit Barrel Strength

Initially released in 2016, this used to be something people could only buy at Bulleit’s gift shop. Starting in 2017, it was distributed nationally, including here in Wichita. People who enjoy Bulleit’s spicy profile will definitely enjoy this one. Great with a little bit of ice, as pictured above, this brings out some nice peppery caramel and strawberry flavors.

Willett Kentucky Vintage (90 proof) 

Willett Kentucky Vintage

Willet has only recently come to Kansas, but is already becoming a staple on shelves in bars and homes across the area.  This 90 proof bourbon is best described as traditional, with vanilla, oak and corn sweetness.  But it also brings to the table some fruit and candied corn notes that creating an interest value bourbon.

Leopold Bros Maryland-Style Rye (86 proof)

Leopold Rye

Leopold Brothers is a distillery in Colorado that is best known for their American whiskey, but also has more recently produced this rye. Marketed as “Maryland style,” this rye is noticeably less spicy/herbal than most other rye whiskeys. It has a mashbill of about 65% rye, 20% malt, and 15% corn. The malt includes chocolate malt. The result is a softer, milk chocolate and fruity taste. A very interesting change of pace from most other rye whiskeys.

Issac Bowman Port Barrel Finish (92 proof)

Isaac Bowman Port Finish

A. Smith Bowman Distillery is located in Virginia.  It is owned by Sazerac, which also owns Buffalo Trace.  This bourbon, along with Bowman’s other products, are actually fermented and distilled first at Buffalo Trace, before being distilled again, barreled and aged in Virginia.  This whiskey is robust with port fruit and earth flavors, along with vanilla and a subtle spice.

Whistlepig Old World Cask Finish Rye (12 years, 86 proof)

Whistlepig Old World

We never get tired of seeing this bottle. We have featured it twice in our tasting events, once in 2016 and again this past August.  It is packed with great rye flavor, with the sweet, spice, and herbal notes all harmoniously combined into each sip. And for a whiskey that is just 86 proof, this is not short on flavor. When adding the cask finish, there is also the left-turn taken in the finish down a Port path. We’re glad this is now available locally, as it’s always a treat.

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