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The Art of Picking the Perfect Single Barrel Bourbon

04/18/2016 | Jonathan Maisano

I have been traveling to Kentucky every few months for the past year and a half hand-selecting single barrel Bourbon from numerous distilleries.  Every trip and distillery visit is a unique experience and deepens my love for America's spirit, Bourbon. 

It is amazing to visit both large and small distilleries stand in a rick house and be surrounded by barrels of liquid gold in every direction.  I have been very fortunate to spend time with some of our country's greatest Master Distillers.  I hand selected 7 barrels last year and I have already begun tasting and selecting barrels for my customers again this year.  I plan to offer over a dozen selections throughout the year in 2016. 

As I taste through a variety of barrels blind at each distillery I look for a balance of alcohol, wood, spice and fruit flavors that can be found in Bourbon.  I also try to match up flavor profiles for the time of year that each barrel will be arriving.  In spring / summer I search for barrels that offer more fruit / floral notes with a lighter flavor profile and in fall / winter I look for rich, deep, earthy flavors with more mouthfeel and a lingering finish. 

If you have not had an opportunity to enjoy some of my hand select barrels, be sure to follow Maisano's online and remember that each barrel is very unique and available in limited quantity as each barrel yields around 160 bottles.