Captive Spirits Bourbon Barreled Big Gin

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I bought this gin a couple of years ago when I first heard of bourbon barreled gins.  I like gin and love bourbon, so this was something I had to try. Captive Spirits produces the gin and then put it into a used bourbon barrel to finish.  I believe they can’t say that it is aged in bourbon barrels because gin is not an aged spirit.  That is why the label says barrel finished, barrel rested, or just mentions the word barrel.

The barrel aging process gives this gin another dimension to complement that juniper berry and spice taste.  The gin I tasted is bottle number 418 from barrel number 16-19.  The bottle I bought almost a year ago was also from barrel 16-19.  This gin doesn’t appear to be a fast seller, which is too bad. I have to say that I have enjoyed this gin and plan to keep a bottle on the back bar.

Bourbon Barrel Gin

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This gin uses a plain, shouldered bottle with a synthetic cork stopper. The label is printed in black and gold, which complements the light yellow, straw color of the gin. This color is picked up from the barrel during aging. Because the color is so light, the gin probably spent less than a year finishing in the bourbon barrel.

The smell is mostly the juniper berry with some sweet caramel notes and a bourbon smell in the background. The first sip is smooth in the front and middle of the mouth, but has a little burn at the back of the mouth. A spicy, juniper taste dominates at first in the front of the mouth.  As the liquid passes to the mid mouth, the nice, rich caramel taste takes over. The mouth is filled with a smooth, silky vanilla caramel and lingering bourbon with chard oak.  All of this takes place as the liquid moves through the mouth and to the throat.  It is a wonderful flavor and sensation to be enjoyed.

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Since this spirit has elements of gin and bourbon, I like to use the elements from a Manhattan and a Martini.  So this one I call it a Manhatini.


  • 2 oz Bourbon Barreled Big Gin
  • 1/2 Vermouth
  • 1 Marciano Cherry

Shake the gin and vermouth with ice until chilled.  Pour into a martini glass and garnish with one or two cherries. This is a gin martini I enjoy every time.

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Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye

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This bottle of Rye Whiskey joined the whiskey collection of the 12 Bar Blues Bar in late December 2015.  It was gift I received at a job interview.  This was my introduction into the world of Craft Distilling. This is my favorite Rye Whiskey and in the interest of full discloser Smooth Ambler is a customer of ours. They are located in West Virginia and I am not sure how wide their distribution is but here is Smooth Amblers web site for more information.

Smooth Ambler Distillery

It is called Old Scout because it was not distilled by Smooth Ambler.  Instead they collected barrels of of rye whiskey from other distilleries and blended to create a fine example of rye whiskey called Old Scout. This is a common practice among distillers and something a young distillery would need to do if they wanted to sell a very good whiskey without waiting years for their own stock to mature. Buying and blending whiskeys is an art just as important as distilling.

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The bottle I am tasting today is aged for seven years and is from batch 14 bottled on May 28th 2013. It is 99 proof or 49.5 ABV. The bottle is a nice clear shoulder bottle with a cork stopper. The colors on the label are purple and gold just like my high school colors.  Maybe this is why I love this whiskey.

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The spirit is a deep amber color like honey with a nice viscus cling to the glass indicating a good body. The alcohol does hit the nose along with a nice spice as you would expect from a rye whiskey. The spice smells somewhere between clove and allspice with hints of caramel and vanilla. The taste lives up to the aroma.  The front and back are smooth with a little bite in the middle.  Of course this describes where in the mouth the burn happens.  The front being the tip of the tongue then the middle and back of the mouth. Do not be afraid to drink this whiskey neat.  With ice the sweetness and oak from the barrels starts to come through more. It is a very hard to put down this rye whiskey.

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This whiskey is great to sip neat or with a couple of ice cubes. Today I will use it to make a Manhattan.

  • 2 oz Old Scout Rye
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Mix whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice until chilled then strain into a martini glass.  Add a cherry and enjoy.

FYI this made the best Manhattan I have ever had.  Using good spirits make all the difference.