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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Bower Hill Special Edition #1

As I scoured the shelves of a Bluegrass store, I was looking for something "interesting". While I had noticed this brand before, it was the bottle tag that caught my attention: the bourbon that outscored Pappy 20 years-old at the 2018 Ultimate Beverage Challenge". Now you have my attention ... and my money. Let's take a look at Bower Hill Special Edition No. 1.

The First Civil War Following the American Revolution, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton sought to put the new country on firm financial footing. To do so, he championed the passage of the Whiskey Tax of 1791. Bower Hill bourbon commemorates the Battle of Bower Hill - the first bloodshed of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. In western Pennsylvania, Bower Hill was the name of federal tax inspector General John Neville's home. As 600 angry militia approached the home, they were met by armed slaves and a handful of soldiers Neville had requested for protection. A two-day battle ensued, with several casualties on each side. The uprising was eventually put down when President (and General) George Washington rode in front of 5,000 troops on the field of battle to restore order. To this day, Washington remains the only sitting president to lead troops into battle.

The Tasting Bower Hill is a sourced whiskey with a good backstory. The exact producer and distiller remain elusive, but it does indicate that it is distilled and aged in Louisville. It does not have an age statement, but does indicate it is at least 4 years old. The handsome, tall decanter bears an antiqued label depicting flintlock muskets and early flags of the late 1700s. This bourbon begins with a mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. and is non-chill filtered, leaving more of the natural oils and esters to add additional texture and mouthfeel. The finished product is bottled at 106 proof. Color: Dark amber with several thin legs displayed inside the Glencairn glass. Nose: Vanilla and honey, with light cinnamon and nutmeg spice. Palate: At 106-proof, this is an easy-sipping pour - perhaps a little too easy - and is dripping with vanilla balanced by spice and light oak along with some citrus notes. I thought the non-fill filtration might lead to a creamier or slightly thicker mouthfeel, but this was slightly lacking. Finish: Spice and oak-laden char followed with vanilla to a long, dry finish.

Overall: Many bourbons produced in Ohio and Pennsylvania lend themselves towards a "high rye" mash bill and is a nod to this area's home to rye whiskey. This was very smooth and silky, even with the higher proof. At $65, and an attractive bottle, this is unique bourbon to add to your collection. While I would have loved for the mouthfeel to have a bit more chew, this hit on most, if not all cylinders, nonetheless. Note that Bower Hill distribution is limited to about two dozen states, so don't be surprised if this doesn't make it to your local area. If you're in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I've observed this at numerous locales.

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