The inspiration came from a microdistillery/winery in Oregon called Ransom that ages some of their gin in their own Pinot Noir barrels.
After tasting that spirit, Watershed owners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo wanted to come up with their own experimental combination, so they bought some used bourbon barrels (which can legally only be used once for bourbon) from Kentucky and let it sit for about a year.
They’ve been testing it along the way and say the resulting flavor is amazing.
“The deeper color and richer flavor [of the boubon] mellowed out the gin and it really picked up some of the caramels and vanillas of the bourbon,” said Greg.
To the best of Greg’s knowledge (and my Googling abilities), Watershed is the first distillery to age gin in bourbon barrels. Watershed will release their own bourbon later this year, and intend to use those barrels to age future Bouron Barrel Gin batches.
Watershed will host a small launch party to give customers a chance to own one of the first (and few) bottles of Bourbon Barrel Gin. On Friday, August 31 you can head to Watershed Distillery in Grandview at 11pm to grab a bite from The Cheesy Truck, play a game of Hammerschlagen (after signing a waiver, of course), and wait in line to buy a bottle at midnight. They will also have custom cocktail recipes for the bourbon barrel gin available so you know what to do with it.
“There’s no bourbon barrel aged gin category, there’s not even really an aged gin category, so we’re really interested to see if it’s going to take on gin drinks mostly or is it going to go after bourbon drinks – how will that play out with the bartenders and mixologists around town?” said Greg.
You can look for Watershed’s Bourbon Barrel Gin after September 1 at Weiland’s, Huffman’s, Europia, Campus Liquor, Kroger in German Village and Short North and Giant eagle in Dublin ($39.95).