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John J Bowman Single Barrel: Unveiling the Bourbon’s Rich Flavor Profile

thewhiskylady - 2023-05-03
George Dickel Bottled in Bond is the Old Fashioned
Wild Turkey Father and Son Old Fashioned
Bourbon Whiskey

As a whiskey enthusiast, I can’t help but get excited when talking about the John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon. This exquisite bourbon pays tribute to the great, great uncle of Abram Bowman, who founded the renowned A. Smith Bowman Distillery. With a rich history and a dedication to quality, the distillery has hand-selected some of the oldest barrels in the warehouse to create a single barrel bourbon that truly stands out.

As I sip on this award-winning bourbon, I can’t help but appreciate the complex flavors that come through with each taste. Hints of toffee, leather, figs, and almonds intermingle, creating a delightful experience for any whiskey connoisseur. The John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon has even been recognized as the World’s Best Bourbon in 2017, solidifying its place in the world of fine spirits.

Having been aged for up to ten years, it comes as no surprise that this bourbon boasts a high score of 96 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2014. Made by the Sazerac Company and distilled at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery, this sophisticated bourbon is an incredible testament to expert craftsmanship and attention to detail.

John J Bowman Single Barrel Overview

Product History

As a bourbon enthusiast, I couldn’t help but dive into the history of John J Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon. This drink commemorates the great, great uncle of Abram S. Bowman, the founder of A. Smith Bowman Distillery. The distillery itself was established in 1988 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, about 60 miles from the original site. Interestingly, Colonel John J. Bowman was the first military commander and governor of Kentucky County.

Price Range

In my search for this remarkable bourbon, I found out that it has garnered numerous awards over the years, including the prestigious title of World’s Best Bourbon in 2017. This makes it quite sought after and can affect its price range. Typically, a bottle of John J. Bowman Single Barrel can be found for around $50-$70 depending on availability and location.

When sampling John J. Bowman Single Barrel, I quickly discovered why it has gained such recognition. This bourbon is made from hand-selected barrels in the warehouse, some of the oldest being used to create this unique flavor profile. It contains hints of:

  • Toffee
  • Leather
  • Figs
  • Almonds

The bourbon has 100 proof, offering a full-bodied finish and complexity to appreciate.

It’s important to note that this bourbon is distilled three times, adding to its refinement and quality. The mash bill consists of corn, rye, and malted barley, giving it a rich character. Aging in oak imparts vanilla and spice notes to the overall experience.

As someone who loves to learn about distilleries, I discovered that A. Smith Bowman offers distillery tours. Their visitor experience includes a guided tour, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the bourbon-making process, and a chance to visit their gift shop. The knowledge of their operations supervisor and tour guides makes for an engaging and educational outing.

In conclusion, John J. Bowman Single Barrel is an exceptional bourbon that holds a special place in Virginia’s spirits history. As a fan, I am pleased to share its story and the unique characteristics that make it stand out in the world of bourbon.

John J Bowman Single Barrel Overviewphoto source: asmithbowman.com

Tasting Notes


Upon nosing the John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon, I was greeted with a delightful combination of caramel, cinnamon muffins, and vanilla. Subtle hints of dark fruit, eggnog, oak, and dried apples also made themselves present, creating an inviting and complex aroma.


The first sip allowed me to appreciate the flavors this bourbon has to offer truly. The palate was rich with oak, dark fruit, and a complex medley of baking spices. As I continued to savor the taste, notes of toffee, orange peels, vanilla, and even a touch of herbal essence emerged, making for a well-rounded and enjoyable experience.


The finish was medium-long, leaving lingering flavors of oak, dark fruit, eggnog spice, and char on my tongue. I found this to be quite pleasant and it left me eager for another sip.


  • Aroma: 4/5
  • Flavor: 4.5/5
  • Finish: 4/5

My personal rating for the John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon can be summarized as follows:

Aroma: 4/5 Flavor: 4.5/5 Finish: 4/5

Overall, I found this single barrel bourbon to be an excellent and rewarding experience. The combination of flavors and aromas offered a complex yet well-balanced profile that would certainly have me reaching for another glass.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

In my experience with John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon, I’ve found that certain mixers complement its unique flavor profile. Some of the best mixers include:

  • Ginger Ale: The spicy and sweet flavor of ginger ale adds a nice kick to the bourbon, enhancing its natural complexity.
  • Club Soda: For a lighter and refreshing option, club soda helps to bring out the bourbon’s more subtle flavors without overpowering it.
  • Orange Juice: The acidity and sweetness of orange juice can bring out different fruity notes in the bourbon, creating a delicious and unexpected combination.

Cocktail Suggestions

Here are a few cocktail suggestions that I’ve enjoyed using John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon:

John J. Bowman Single Barrel is the Kentucky Mulephoto source: Shutterstock.com

One of my favorite cocktails to make with John J. Bowman Single Barrel is the Kentucky Mule. Combine 2 oz of bourbon, 0.5 oz of lime juice, and ginger ale in a copper mug filled with ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of mint.

Bowman Sourphoto source: Shutterstock.com

Another excellent choice is the Bowman Sour. Shake 2 oz of bourbon, 0.75 oz of lemon juice, 0.75 oz simple syrup, and one egg white with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a cherry and a lemon twist.

Food Pairings

I’ve found that certain foods can accentuate the flavors and aromas of John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon. Here are some suggested food pairings:

  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate complements the caramel and vanilla notes in the bourbon, while also bringing out its fruity character.
  • Smoked Meats: Rich, smoky barbecued meats, like brisket or pulled pork, pair well with the bourbon’s oaky and complex flavors.
  • Cheeses: Bold, aged cheeses like Gouda, Cheddar, or Blue Cheese can stand up to the bourbon’s intensity and create an interesting contrast with its fruity and spicy notes.

By trying different mixers, cocktails, and food pairings, I’ve been able to discover and appreciate the versatility and complexity of John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon. Enjoy experimenting to find your own favorite combinations!


I have to admit, my experience with John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon has been impressive. In comparison to other single barrel offerings, it stands out for its unique flavor profile and balance. The nose offers hints of toffee, leather, figs, and almonds which add an interesting element to my sipping experience.

During my tasting, I appreciated the bourbon’s calm, gentle, yet tasty characteristics. It did seem to lack that extra richness that could propel it to “top-shelf” status, but it remained a thoroughly enjoyable bourbon. I found a delightful mix of sweet bakeshop and rustic woodsy qualities, reminiscent of a French bakery nestled in the woods.

While its $50 price point places it among tough competition, like Blanton’s, E.H Taylor Single Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Knob Creek Single Barrel, I believe John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon holds its own. It may not be the most memorable option among them, but it certainly has a uniqueness that is worth exploring for bourbon enthusiasts.

In summary, I can confidently recommend giving John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon a try. Its award-winning status (World’s Best Bourbon in 2017) is well-deserved, and I found the overall experience both engaging and satisfying. So, the next time you’re searching for a new bourbon to indulge in, don’t hesitate to consider this flavorful and balanced option.

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