You ever met someone and known immediately that you’re going to be life-long friends? Like, you get a flash of your life 30 years in the future, and you see you and this new friend playing shuffleboard and wearing black socks. Together. Forever. I’m not talking about a romantic relationship here. This is something deeper than that. This is true platonic friendship. Like minds, taking on the world together. Laverne and Shirley. Butch and Sundance. In the parlance of our times, BFF.
That’s exactly how I felt after the first sip of Abraham Bowman, Pioneer Spirit. It’s as if I met my platonic soul mate. My BFF. I saw us growing old and wearing black socks together. Me and this beautiful bourbon from Fredericksburg, Va.
It’s a burly whiskey. 100 proof, but somehow still completely enjoyable neat. A. Smith Bowman Distillery took a 12-year-old bourbon and finished it in port barrels, borrowed from a local winery. There’s a little knife’s edge of saltiness, along with the expected big notes of vanilla and a spiciness that comes with that much time in wood. Finishing the bourbon in port adds a layer of dark, stone fruit—a different kind of sweetness altogether. A little bit of ice in this dark liquor, and it was all over. I had visions of me and Abraham hitting ball games together, celebrating after long hikes. Going on epic road trips. Together. I’m not sure about the legality of this, but I’d like for Abraham to be the godfather to my children. BFF.
For whatever reason, if you make a bourbon these days, you have to name it after a Revolutionary War figure. Abraham Bowman was a Virginia-born war hero. I assume that’s him in the ghost-like picture on the back of the bottle. But this booze doesn’t need some trumped up backstory. You could put it in a plastic bottle and call it “Hooch,” and I’d still go out of my way to hang out with this bourbon.
It’s true—I fall in love with whiskies on a fairly regular basis, but I really think that this is something different. Something meaningful. Me and Abraham. BFF.
– Graham Averill is a longtime B.R.O. contributor and hosts his own blog called Daddy-Drinks.