Photo by yoppy/Flickr CC
Bourbon may be "America's native spirit" (as mandated by Congress in 1964), but it has devoted following overseas as well, particularly in East Asia. Until recently, some major American distilleries, like Kentucky Bourbon Distillers and award-winning Four Roses, have done a majority of their business abroad. For a bourbon devotee like myself, this makes travel to East Asia (not necessarily by me) especially exciting. I keep a wish list of export-only bourbons, just in case someone I know is headed to Seoul or Bangkok or points between.
On the rare occasions I make it over myself, I set aside several hours for scouring liquor stores and duty-free shops. Last September I was passing through Singapore when I found something unexpected: Jim Beam with Port.
In the United States, Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace have experimented with bourbon finished in wine barrels, a la many scotch expressions, to mixed success. (Woodford failed miserably; Buffalo Trace produced a fantastic bourbon finished in cabernet franc barrels). But this was something different and completely unheard of: the unlikely and, to an American palate, unwise blending of two dissimilar beverages. I had to try it.