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Best of the Best 2013: Spirits: Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskey Port-Finished Bourbon

Richard Carleton Hacker

Big things frequently come from small distilleries. Such is the case with the Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskey Port-Finished Bourbon (www​.asmithbowman.com, $70), a smooth-sipping potable with a finish as long as its name. Made by the privately owned A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Va., this 100-proof limited edition receives its flavor from bourbon and port. The story begins not so much with the whiskey but with the wood. After aging for four years in new charred white-oak barrels, the bourbon is emptied and the barrels are shipped to a winery in Potomac Point, Va., where they are filled with ruby port, aged for two years, and emptied again. The barrels are then shipped back to the distillery and refilled with A. Smith Bowman’s 7-year-old small-batch bourbon, which ages for nine months. This is a full-bodied bourbon brimming with candied cherries, cinnamon, chocolate, and vanilla.