While around 95% of all bourbon whiskey in the country comes from Kentucky, there’s no law that states that it’s required to originate in the Bluegrass State itself, let alone Bourbon County. Bourbon does, however, have to come from somewhere in the United States according to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits.
Call it a loophole, but a distillery across the pond called Never Say Die is billing itself as England’s first bourbon. Made from a high-rye mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley and bottled at barrel proof, the expression was distilled and aged for four years in new American charred oak barrels (as per law) in Kentucky. It was then sent on a transatlantic voyage to the U.K. where it continued to age in the barrel the whole time, imparting unique notes from both the oceanic air and the non-typical climate in England.
Perhaps of equal notoriety is the source of the distillery’s name. Never Say Die was an American-born horse that nearly passed away at birth until it was revived by a shot of whiskey. Some years later in 1954, that horse won the Epsom Derby — the first from the U.S. to do so in 70 years — in front of a crowd that included Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill.
Never Say Die is expected to release a standard-proof Straight Bourbon and a Rye Whiskey (also from Kentucky) in the near future. However, its debut Barrel Proof Bourbon is available now through select retailers.