A whiskey adventure for you and me.
Single Barrel Bourbons
Single Barrel Bourbons are just that: the whiskey in each individual bottle comes from a single barrel. There is no blending of different barrels, which is a common practice to achieve a certain style or characteristic. While there is no legal definition of a “Single Barrel Bourbon”, the implication here is that these Bourbons come from choice barrels. These “honey barrels” are selected for the unique nose, palate, and complexity of the bourbon they produce.
Single barrel whiskeys are relatively recent innovations in the whiskey world, making their first appearance in 1984 with Blanton’s from Buffalo Trace. Since then, other distillers have followed suit with their own particular honey barrel Bourbons. Some examples of great Single Barrel Bourbons on the market today include Four Roses Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old from Heaven Hill Distillery, and Eagle Rare from Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Small Batch Bourbons
Small Batch Bourbons are a composite of different bourbon barrels that are mingled together in limited quantities. Distillers combine different barrels at different ages from various locations in their aging facilities (called rickhouses) to achieve a desired structure. Just like with Single Barrel Bourbon’s, there is technically no definition of a Small Batch Bourbon, and a small batch can be anywhere from 2 to 200 200 barrels. To achieve the same quality found in each bottle of Maker’s Mark, the company follows a specific formula that uses “approximately 1,000 gallons or less (20 barrels) from a mash bill of around 200 bushels of grain”.
Makers Mark, Michter’s US #1 Small Batch Bourbon, and Hirsch Small Batch Reserve are three of the best and most widely available Small Batch Bourbons out there. Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Small Batch uses around 50 barrels to get that perfect balance of vanilla and dried fruit, while Jefferson’s uses 200 – 300 barrels for their small batch collection to achieve an unparalleled smoothness.