St. Augustine, known to many as America’s oldest city, will make new history when St. Augustine Distillery releases the first barrel-aged bourbon in Florida since prohibition. Created by some of the industry’s best craft distillers, Florida Double Cask Bourbon took several years to perfect and will be released on Friday, Sept. 9.
To begin the bourbon making process, St. Augustine Distillery Co-founder and CEO, Philip McDaniel brought in Jake Norris, founding distiller of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, to develop the mash bill (the mix of grains used to create the bourbon). Next, they had legend Dave Pickerell, former master distiller of Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon and current overseer of acclaimed WhistlePig Rye, come in to design the production facility and guide the final blending.
“We were the first distillery to start producing bourbon in the State of Florida, filling our first barrel in December 2013,” said Mike Diaz, St. Augustine Distillery CFO and co-founder. “It was important for us to hold off on releasing this bourbon until we felt it was absolutely ready and aged to perfection. We believe excellence cannot be rushed.”
While new federal law requires that any statement on a bottle of bourbon be the youngest whiskey of the blend, for Florida Double Cask Bourbon that means 16 to 28 months. However, producers claim the process is locally accelerated, “Florida’s year-round heat and humidity ages our bourbon faster and with greater intensity than anywhere in the country. Our distillers have a running joke that our barrels age in dog years. Florida Double Cask Bourbon is a celebration of the Sunshine State, its agriculture and unique maritime climate,” McDaniel said on its release.
Bottled at 93.8 proof with 46.9 percent alcohol, the unique flavors of Florida’s first barrel-aged bourbon were hand-selected by the team to achieve the desired taste profile distinct to the region. The result, according to the distillery, is a “full-bodied, deep, and complex with notes of caramel, dark fruit, oak and dark chocolate.”
Florida Double Cask Bourbon was a Triple Gold Medal winner in the 2016 MicroLiquor Awards and will be available to purchase in the St. Augustine Distillery gift shop on the release date. On Sunday, Sept. 11, you can sample this new regional blend of bourbon at the Sing Out Loud Festival Backyard Bourbon & BBQ Block Party hosted by the St. Augustine Distillery at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s backyard stage.
The upcoming Florida Double Cask Bourbon will certainly not be the only bourbon release, the distillery plans for specialty releases, such as barrel-finished bourbons. In addition to bourbon, the distillery currently distills Florida Cane Vodka, New World Gin and Pot Distilled Rum. In June, the distillery released two specialty spirits, a sweet red Vermouth Barrel-Aged Gin and a sweet white Vermouth Barrel-Aged Gin.