Movin’, movin’, movin’, keep them barrels movin’. Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon travels aboard a ship and crosses the equator at least twice, O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey rides in barges along the Mississippi River and now, Brad Paisley’s ‘American Highway Reserve Bourbon’ travels across the U.S. in the back of an 18-wheel rolling rickhouse.
There is a tale as old as time that says one of the ways that bourbon got its name was it traveled from Bourbon County, Kentucky down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. As bar patrons started to ask for that whiskey again and again they reportedly would request that whiskey from Bourbon County or that Bourbon Street whiskey. And eventually they would just ask for Bourbon. Truth is, no one definitively knows where the name came from but part of that story leads people to think that the bourbon of old was really good because of the time it spent rolling in the barrels as it rode down the river and helped to bring out the best tasting bourbon whiskey. Now, a traveling musician is trying to recapture some of this folklore with his new bourbon.
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Country superstar Brad Paisley has announced the launch of “American Highway Reserve” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The new make bourbon was distilled in 2019 by Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky, then poured into 53-gallon barrels and placed inside one of Paisley’s 53’ long traveling semi-trailers to slosh around the United States. Altogether, Paisley’s American Highway bourbon traveled 7,314 miles across 25 states, from coast to coast before being blended with other more mature bourbons.
The fluctuating climate of the barrels’ journey expanded and contracted their staves, imparting oak and char that cultivate the characteristics flavors of America. This well-traveled batch, just like the ones of old that sloshed down the river, was then blended with three-year, 13-year and 15-year-old Kentucky bourbons to create the final product.
American Highway Reserve Bourbon Whiskey Blend Mash Bill
American Highway Bourbon is a blend of four different high rye bourbons of various ages. Here is a complete breakdown of the percentage used for the blend along with their ages and mash bills.
|Percent of Blend||Age||Corn||Rye||Wheat||Malted Barley|
|28%||3 Years Old||71||21||0||9|
|25%||3 Years Old||60||36||0||4|
|24%||13 Years Old||74||18||0||8|
|23%||15 Years Old||78.5||13||0||8.5|
Paisley sums up the creative process that derived his bourbon: “It’s so similar to what goes into a great guitar. The right woods, the right craftsmanship, the right alchemy that makes this intangible, magical thing, and that’s what makes this so great to me.”
American Highway’s literal path-to-market wasn’t the only unique aspect of its creation: Rather than just sourcing whiskey and lending a celebrity name to it, Paisley worked closely with Bardstown Bourbon Company to create the final blend. Bardstown Bourbon Co. creates custom whiskey, bourbon and rye for more than 30 different brand-owners worldwide.
Paisley collaborated with a team of experts at Bardstown, including VP of New Product Development Dan Callaway. “You don’t get to see many celebrities that have such a technical palate,” shared Callaway. “It was a super collaboration that resulted in a travelled bourbon in an exemplary expression.”
Callaway describes the bourbon as “A blend of four rye-forward bourbons ranging in age from 3 to 15 years. The flavor profile is incredibly unique. Subtle, complex, spicy, well-traveled. As we like to say, it was, ‘born in Kentucky, aged across America’.”
American Highway Straight Bourbon Whiskey was bottled at 96 proof (48% ABV). The 2021 release netted out 30,000 bottles and will be offered with a suggested retail price of $99.99 per 750ml bottle. It will be available in AL, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MS, NC, NV, NY, OH, TN, TX, WI and WV and online exclusively through Seelbachs.com.
The next batch, to be released in 2022, was aged on the Rolling Rickhouse during Paisley’s 2021 tour.