Bourbon is not necessarily a type of spirit that gets experimented with a lot. While secondary maturations are increasingly more common in whiskey, the stringency of bourbon’s regulations doesn’t allow a ton of leeway. But there are a few exceptions, and in recent years, more and more distilleries have realized the creative possibilities of trying new types of batch marriages or new ways to finish their moonshine. In 2016, Texas-based bourbon maker Garrison Brothers had its first go at joining the likes of Angel’s Envy and TX to finish its bourbon in port wine casks.
Spearheaded by Master Distiller Donnis Todd, Garrison Brothers traded barrels with fellow Texas native Llano Estacado Winery. The distillery used the 20 ex-tawny port casks to rest its signature four-year bourbon, which was eventually bottled as the limited-edition Estacado. After losing the partnership with the winemaker, Todd reached out to wineries in Portugal, acquiring 26 port casks that he would rest the bourbon in for two additional years. The Guadalupe was born, first released in 2021, but selling out within hours.
For the 2022 release of the Guadalupe, which is proofed at 107, Todd has selected 22 former port barrels, each holding 59 gallons. Prior to getting a two-year secondary maturation in the sweet wine casks, Garrison Brothers’ bourbon whiskey was aged for four years in white American oak barrels. The sweetness of the port imparts notes of berries and chocolate, which add to a profile of cinnamon, coffee beans, lavender honey, toasted biscuits, and strawberry butter.
The 2022 Guadalupe debuted at a special event in Texas back in July, but a limited supply has now rolled out for select retailers across the country.