I have a photo reel that I'll occasionally play in my garage bar which is a conglomeration of seven years of shenanigans, parties and randomness that was captured on film since we started our garage bar speakeasy. Some folks have moved, some have passed, and others were just simply passing through. My garage bar has now seen visitors from fourteen different countries and locations throughout the United States. It's interesting to look at the evolution of this amazing space over these past seven years in pictures; what was at first a couple small shelves of varied liquor has evolved into a rather extensive bourbon collection with bottles that I never thought I'd ever sample, let alone own. From Penelope to Pappy, pulling up a stool in front of my carefully curated collection I tend to think is a great spot to be. Despite having as much as I do, I seem to always find new things to try as the world of bourbon is a big one and continues to grow every year. I've had several folks ask me lately, "so, what bottle or bottle's is Bourboneur after these days?" Below, and in no particular order, are the top items on my ever-evolving hit list. My resolution for 2023...get hands on all of these bottles!
Heaven Hill's Select Stock bottling is essentially their experimental line and there's a number of different releases to date. The one I'm most interested in at the moment is finished in new toasted oak barrels utilizing a tapered stave aging process. In this case that essentially means the barrels were tapered on either end making them diamond shaped rather than their typical more familiar form. Other expressions have utilized coffee barrels, cognac barrels, etc. Aged in Parker Beams favorite Rickhouse, Rickhouse Y, a whole 26 barrels were chosen to create the small batch.
Initially finding its way to market in 2021, what was meant to be a super limited one-off product has now had several releases given Wild Turkey's fans quickly snapping these up and demanding more, more, more! The flavor profile has a more expressive fruitiness and aged oak component that come together in a way that few bourbons can match. I had some of this just two weeks ago as a part of a bourbon flight at a local watering hole and I was quite impressed. Enough so that I'll be snagging myself a bottle post haste to include in the garage bar lineup.
Given I have a garage bar speakeasy, it shouldn't be a terrible surprise that a bourbon that happens to have a connection to the roaring 20's and comes in a really cool art deco bottle within a folding display box is on my hit list. A house brand from MGP of Indiana's Ross and Squibb Distillery in Lawrenceburg, the Gatsby Reserve is a 15-year-old bourbon that may be the apex of the Remus lineup. It's of course an ultra-limited expression, meaning I'm going to have to pay up to get it, but I do love cask strength bourbon and the word on the street suggests this juice is worth the squeeze.
Booker's in 2018 moved to named batches with several offerings coming out each year. I'm currently trying to drink through some of mine to make room on the shelf before buying more. The 2022-02 batch, named "The Lumberyard Batch" is a standout in the litany of Booker's releases because it delivers a very unique among Booker's palate which is quite sweet with a great burnt toffee note before delivering that typical Booker's "jet-A" style heat. If you like the heat, check out our post on Best High Proof Bourbons of 2022 to find some other acclaimed bottles that deliver on the heat!
If you've not heard of this brand don't beat yourself up, as it's been flying under the radar for many people. With an odd movie theme, it was founded by a couple dudes who unsurprisingly had a passion for Hollywood. The brand draws its name from the famous "Stage Seven" where a number of big-name movies were made. The brownwater is rumored to be from Barton, but its source is undisclosed, so just a rumor, though likely a true one as a number of others source from there. I think my draw to this bottle is the nuance of it and to put my own taste buds to work and see how it stacks up compared to known Barton sourced bourbons like Calumet Farms or Kentucky Owl.
While some of these will be easier than others to get hands on, if you're into bourbon you know that there's nothing better than the hunt and then cracking open a new bottle amongst friends and sharing in an experience. Keep tabs on us here at Bourboneur to share in that experience by making sure to navigate to our main blog page and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you don't miss a beat. Join over a thousand other Bourboneur's and like and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok. Thinking about nabbing some of these bottles for yourself? Make sure you don't overpay and visit the Bourbon Blue Book so you know what these are running on the secondary market.