Okay sure, it’s one of those quasi-pretend holidays (holimonths?) that may seem dubiously marketing-steeped, but bourbon has more cultural clout than some of us remember.
When bourbon production laws were laid down in 1964, Congress called this particular potable “America’s Native Spirit.” Back when each fledgeling state was minting its own individual currency, corn-based American bourbon was both more transferrable and more market-reliable than any paper or coin in circulation. So Congress chimed in again in 2007 to designate that September “National Bourbon Heritage Month,” celebrating over 250 years of American families and farmers honoring the distilling tradition that remained largely unchanged in all that time.
While not a government-sanctioned holiday since that September of 2007, the quality and cultural impact of bourbon in the US have only grown deeper. In some cases a sort of culty collectable, more artisanal, craft, and small-batch bourbons are cropping up all the time. Bourbon’s heritage has expanded beyond the Bluegrass State, and the modern spread of quality, creativity, and diversity is something to celebrate, federally recognized or no.
And while Kentucky bourbon holds a sweet spot in our hearts, we want to take this month to highlight some exciting bourbon (and whiskey!) developments going down a little closer to home.
Crooked Water | Private Barrel Lost Lake Straight Whiskey
Talk about a whiskey with a point of view! Crooked Water’s owner, Heather Manley, has always been about high proof distills that showcase the beautiful ingredients and aging behind her spirits. In the case of Lost Lake, a single-barrel ephemera aged over two years each in American oak and Spanish sherry casks (that’s 4+ years’ aging, folks!), the 115 proof finished bourbon shows unique richness and depth from each vessel. Considered a ‘high rye’ mash, it has intense aromas of maple, vanilla, and creme brûlée — a desserty decadence tempered on the palate by that extended hang time in barrel into what Heather calls, “the ultimate breakfast bourbon.”
As big fans of Heather’s innovative and unafraid approach to spirits, we couldn’t be more excited over this single-barrel collab. It’s a story of Local Loves Local, which Heather notes as key to the ability of craft brands like Crooked Water to go after the creative projects that turn into truly special products. If you’re looking for a Who’s Who Among Minnesota Bourbons, we found the Crooked Water barrel to champion Heather’s mission to “make the North a highly regarded bourbon community.” Sip neat or stir up some Old Fashioned’s for a salute to our own growing bourbon heritage!
J. Carver | Straight Wheat Whiskey Select
Raise a glass to all things barrel-aged! Top Ten Liquors is very proud to celebrate this month with our friends and partners at J. Carver Distillery, whose release of J. Carver Wheat Whiskey Private Barrel #772 puts them over the 1,800 barrel mark of distilling grain-to-glass spirits in Waconia, Minnesota — cheers indeed!
J. Carver Wheat Whiskey Private Barrel #772 is an incredibly special 100 proof wheat whiskey, hand-selected by Top Ten Liquors spirits specialists on a recent mission to Waconia. With a mash bill of 71% local MN winter wheat, 20% MN corn, 9% malted barley, and over 4 years aging in Minnesota-coopered charred oak barrels, our team fell hard for the rich, robust winter wheat flavors and sophisticated profile. Worthy of a spot in any whiskey aficionado’s collection, our team was drawn to this barrel’s particular ability to age into its beautiful layers even further.
Like their namesake Minnesota pioneer, Jonathan Carver, the J. Carver Distilling team makes a practice of pushing boundaries in their distilling practices to best highlight the character of local grains, fruits, and botanicals — a bounty that is constantly inspiring creativity and innovation in their team. After seven years of championing farm-to-glass spirits produced entirely on-site, J. Carver is a bastion of hospitality and craft character in the growing heritage of Minnesota spirits.
Top Ten Liquors is delighted to present these select, single-barrel whiskeys in celebration of all that Minnesota craft distilling has to offer. Come on by for a bottle!
-Written by Aimee Hutchinson, Wine Manager Top Ten Liquors.