Given its intrinsic connection to American history, bourbon whiskey can sometimes get a little stuffy. Strictly regulated by the government, there’s only so much room for innovation within the space if you want to legally call your product bourbon. One new brand that’s looking to make waves in the American spirit industry is Frank August, which is aiming to reshape the way we think about bourbon.
Frank August has just released its first offering: the Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. As you may have guessed, this is a small-batch bourbon distilled from 10-15 barrels in Kentucky, where it’s also aged and bottled. The hooch clocks in at 50% ABV (100 proof) and it’s essentially bottled in bond — i.e., it follows all of the procedures of a bottled-in-bond whiskey, but because Frank August isn’t allowed to disclose its distiller, the bottle can’t legally be labeled as bottled in bond. The whiskey is filled with notes of vanilla, caramel, and spices throughout, and its high proof is sure to leave a little heat.
If you’re thinking this sounds pretty standard for a decent bourbon — 100 proof, small batch, Kentucky — well, you’re not wrong. So what is Frank August doing differently? For starters, there’s the bottle. A gorgeous minimalist work of glass art with a heavy-weight brass closure, discrete gold decoration, and a clear back label that peels off without leaving any residue, it really makes for an elevated presentation. The goal is for people to reuse the bottle as a decanter, and that forward-thinking attitude is what Frank August is all about: the brand wants to push bourbon into the future by “uniting authenticity with modernity.” The bourbon industry can often be a bit too obsessed with heritage, as not everyone wants to pretend they’re a pioneer on the prairie every time they imbibe.
In the coming months, Frank August looks to release some more daring expressions, including a Single Barrel whiskey and a ‘Case Study’ program that will experiment with different unique finishing techniques, starting with Mizunara (Japanese Oak). For now, the Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is on sale for $70 in a number of states, and you can head over to the Frank August website to find out where you can grab a bottle.