SMALL BATCH BRANDS
The term “small batch” was coined by the
late Jim Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe
in 1992 to introduce four boutique bour-
bons, now known as Beam’s Small Batch
portfolio (Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s,
Booker’s, Baker’s). This segment grew the
fastest in 2012, up roughly 12% over the
previous year, led by Bulleit (+27%) and
Woodford Reserve (+23%). Yet another
coup for small-batch brands: Michter’s
was named Distiller of the Year by
Wine
Enthusiast
in 2012. There are dozens upon
dozens of these often hard-to-find, higher-
priced bourbons. Here are a few highlights,
arranged alphabetically:
1792 RIDGEMONT RESERVE
[HIGH RYE]
Celebrating the year in which Kentucky
received its statehood, this bourbon is
made on the site of the historic 1879 Tom
Moore Distillery, which was named after a
nearby spring from which it still draws its
waters today.
ANGEL’S ENVY
[ HIGH RYE ]
Former Brown-Forman Master Distiller
Lincoln Henderson was talked out of
retirement by his son to create Angel’s
Envy, which debuted in 2010. Henderson
originally wanted to be a doctor, but says
“the whiskey business is a much better
form of medicine.” They are building a
new distillery on downtown Louisville’s
“Whiskey Row.”
BAKER’S
[ TRADITIONAL ]
Part of Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Col-
lection and named after Baker Beam, Jim
Beam’s grandnephew, Baker’s uses a spe-
cial strain of jug yeast that has been in the
family for over 60 years.
BASIL HAYDEN’S
[ HIGH RYE ]
The higher rye recipe dates back to 1796
and was developed by Basil Hayden,
who became associated with this style of
bourbon. As part of Beam’s Small Batch
Bourbon Collection, a similar recipe was
used to launch the brand in Hayden’s
honor in 1988.
BOOKER’S
[ TRADITIONAL ]
Beam Distiller Booker Noe bottled his own
signature bourbon in 1987 and gave to
friends as a holiday gift. It became so popu-
lar he decided to launch it to the public in
1992 as part of his Small Batch Collection.
The label, in Booker’s own handwriting,
actually contains a small error.
BUFFALO TRACE
[ HIGH RYE ]
The distillery site dates back to 1870, when
it was named O.F.C. Distillery. Then in
1878, former wholesaler George T. Stagg
purchased it and it became the George T.
Stagg Distillery. Sazerac took ownership In
1992 and changed the named to Buffalo
Trace in 1999, simultaneously launching a
bourbon brand of the same name. Over a
dozen spirits are produced at the distillery,
including acclaimed small batch bourbons
W.L. Weller, Eagle Rare, Elmer T. Lee,
George T. Stagg, Blanton’s and E.H. Taylor.
BULLEIT
[ HIGH RYE ]
In the 1930s, Louisville tavern keeper Au-
gustus Bulleit disappeared while transport-
ing barrels of his namesake whiskey to New
Orleans. Still a mystery to this day, his
great-great grandson Tom Bulleit brought
the brand back to life in 1987. The original
recipe of two-thirds rye and one-third corn
would not qualify as a bourbon today.
ELIJAH CRAIG
[ TRADITIONAL ]
Created at Heaven Hill in 1986 by Parker
Beam and Max Shapira. They were inspired
by Reverend Elijah Craig, who is credited
with accidently coming up with the idea of
charring oak after he stored some whiskey
in barrels damaged by a fire.
FOUR ROSES
[ HIGH RYE ]
The brand Four Roses was trademarked by
Paul Jones Jr. in 1888 and was immense-
ly popular from the end of Prohibition
through the 1950s. Seagram took over the
BOURBON
Story of
Emblematic of bourbon’s
resurgence, Brown-Forman’s
Woodford Reserve has a backstory
dating to 1780 but it is thoroughly
modern, having been revived as a
brand in the 1990s and grown at
double-digit rates ever since.
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se l ec t i ons
BOURBON
Small Batch
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