A Smith Bowman used to have their Headquarters operation in the Bowman family homestead in Reston Virginia, but owing to the 'gentrification" of Reston they could no longer pay their taxes and had to move. The storage houses were largely torn down and the business building was turned into a halfway house for drug addicts. A sad day for Virginia as they moved to Fredericksburg. Bowman liquors then sank to lower shelf "buy it by the half gallon" liquors. Virginia Gentleman became a shadow of its former self and fell off my list of drinkers.
I saw the John J.Bowman "Pioneer Spirit" Virginia single barrel bourbon in a local ABC store here and was intrigued enough to give it another try. (Like Virginia wine, I try to support Virginia distilling as much as possible.) Despite the price tag, I took a chance. They also make a Bowman Brothers small batch bourbon, which I have not tried.
I had a friend over last weekend for a tasting. The JJB is complex and has a heavier taste than charcoal filtered bourbons. Nice feel in the back of the throat, not to pungent. On par with Buffalo Trace or Weller Antique (my everyday drinker), but at the price, I would save it for special tastings or occasions.
Bowman is also making a limited edition Abraham Bowman Virginia whiskey, George Bowman dark Colonial style rum, Deep Run hand crafted Vodka, and Sunset Hills (the name of the Bowman family estate, now a busy thoroughfare in Reston Gin.
“Sure I eat what I advertise. Sure I eat Wheaties for breakfast. A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can't be beat.” -- Dizzy Dean