Bowman Brothers Small Batch Background
Bowman Brothers Small Batch from A. Smith Bowman Distillery is an interesting operation. They don’t make their own mash. They actually re-distill product from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace parent Sazerac owns the distillery, so the link is logical. The process used at A Smith Bowman means the product is triple distilled before it’s put into casks for aging in Fredericksburg Virginia. It seems like Bowman Brothers use Buffalo Trace #2 Mash, so this sort of extends my series of Bourbons using that mash recipe.
The distillery and Bourbon are named after the Bowman family. John J Bowman settled in Kentucky in 1770’s. His great, great nephew Abraham Smith Bowman operated a farm in northern Virginia in the 1920’s. He took his excess grain and built a distillery in 1933. The A. Smith Bowman Distillery is named after this distillery, although at a different place. A. Smith Bowman Distillery opened in 1988 and began its current distilling in the 1991.
A. Smith Bowman Distillery makes three different Bourbons. There’s the Bowman Brothers Small Batch, John J Bowman Single Barrel, and an annual special release Abraham Bowman.
No Age Statement. Bottled at 90-proof. Buffalo Trace Mash #2 of about 13-15% Rye. Paid $30 @ Michigan State Minimum Price.
Fruity, Apples. Caramel. Corn Cinnamon. Light oak.
Fruity apples, cinnamon and caramel. Sweet and soft. Some maple syrup. A little rye flavor with some of that minty-pine. Some light oak with mild astringency towards the end. A slight spice in the finish warms the mouth. Nicely put together.
This seems delicate. Soft and sweet. Not a lot of power in this one, nor does it finish strong. I’d like to see this at a higher proof because there’s not much harshness in this pour and it could really amp things up with no ill effects. This is pretty nice drinking.
I was curious how this compared to Elmer T Lee. Same mash and same proof, while this bottle has that extra distillation and is aged in a different location. I tasted them side by side and feel they’re pretty darn close. I’d be curious to hear what others think on that. Elmer T Lee I get more rye in the nose and a little more toffee. Bowman Brothers Small Batch seems lighter, sweeter, and less acetone. I’d give Elmer T Lee the edge, but for a few bucks less Bowman Brothers Small Batch seems a good buy. Especially good buy if Elmer T Lee is in short supply.
Bowman Brothers Small Batch Recommendation
Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
Buying Options and Further Research
I classify Bowman Brothers Small Batch a standard bourbon with a moderate rye content. This is a big category with a number of great options around this price. Elmer T Lee, Russell’s Reserve 10 Small Batch, Evan Williams Single Barrel all are I think comparable. If you can’t find Bowman Brothers Small Batch or would like to compare it to something else, that should be a good start.