The SOMM Journal

October / November 2016

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Page 38 of 132

38 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 { fine spirits } THE DESIGN OF A GREAT BOURBON bottle represents a story within a story. On the outside, it's the look and appeal that makes you want to pick it up. While on the inside, it's the quality of the contents that makes the brand your friend for life. Although his family has been making premium wines in Sonoma since 1904, August Sebastiani took these factors to heart five years ago when he began toying with the idea of starting a new venture in the spirits industry that eventually led to the establishment of Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey in late 2014, one of several artisanal spirits in the portfolio of his Sonoma-based wine and spirits firm, 3 Badge Beverage Corporation. As luck would have it, the journey started when Sebastiani took on the task of escort - ing his wife and her close girlfriends to a night at the bars on the historic Sonoma Plaza. While taking drink orders from the group, he realized that beyond wanting beers and local wines, many of the friends leaned towards ordering specific spirits and stylish cocktails. "At that moment, I realized that con - sumer recognition is what really sells customized spirits to people looking for emerging new brands they can count on, and small-batch bourbon is no exception" says Sebastiani, during his exclusive inter - view with The Somm Journal at the new 3 Badge headquarters in the Old Firehouse in Sonoma. Granted, the development of fine bour- bon is not an easy task. For starters, the ingredients used in making the mashbill can vary con- siderably. Some are hot, dry, smokey and spicy, while oth- ers are more refined and ele- gant. In each case, there were very unique uses of corn, rye, malted barley, sweetness, proofs and charred oak that set each profile apart from the rest. Thus, to develop their own distinctive flavor profile to create and procure, Sebastiani and his team traveled around the nation asking the opinions of respected retailers, bar - tenders, beverage managers and distributors what types of bourbons and spirits they felt would succeed in the marketplace. It was during this same period that they began to fill different spaces in the 3 Badge portfolio with the release of other specialty brands that include Masterson's Rye Whiskey, Uncle Val's Botanical Gin and Kirk & Sweeney Rum before they discov - ered a great source for barrel-aged bour- bon from Tennessee, which is the backbone of the Bib & Tucker style. In the Wild West, "bib and tucker" was country slang for fine men's apparel. So to put their best foot forward, 3 Badge developed the program around the use of American oak and adjusted the proof level to create a spicy style. To check each step, the team tested the depth of flavors and the impact of the spices when served neat, with water or ice, at room temperature and mixed in cocktails. The end result was an amiable rich and complex style with lofty aromas of fine leather, roasted nuts, barley and toasted rye; deep flavors of caramel, dried fruits, Exploring the Style of Bib & Tucker Best-Dressed Brand Bourbon's by Christopher Sawyer / photos by Paula Watts The Bib & Tucker Manhattan at The Whiskey House in San Deigo, CA.

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