Eleven notable spirits experts entered the Punch Room at the London Edition earlier this fall and blindly tasted through hundreds of liquor brands, broken down by dozens of categories. This wasn’t just some random grouping of industry specialists. It was, in fact, the Global Spirits Masters. And every autumn, they assemble like a certain set of Marvel superheroes. Only instead of fighting inter-dimensional villains, they pinpoint the very best booze on shelves at this very moment. Right now, we’re going to reveal what they landed on for the best bourbon. Because it’s quite the controversial pick, indeed.
Their final list of medalists from American whiskey entries included six bottlings. And we’ll get into all of them in a moment. But only one gold medal went out to a bourbon, specifically. It was for Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon. If you’re from the U.S., there’s a good chance that you’ve never even heard of this particular brand. That’s because it bills itself as an “English take on the American dream.”
The American whiskey sector is one of strength and resilience, and its brands are increasingly popular overseas. Our annual taste test showed the depth of choice that consumers can enjoy from the category.
Over the past two decades, US spirits exports have almost quadrupled. Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) showed the value of spirits shipped overseas rose from US$551 million in 2002 to US$2.1 billion in 2022, when 42 states exported abroad.
Perennially popular across the pond, Brits are quickly developing a thirst for bourbon. Though intrinsically linked to the “Bluegrass State’ of Kentucky” – where 95% of the world’s supply is produced – unlike scotch whisky, there are no geographical restrictions as to where bourbon can be made, with new distilleries cropping up across America every year.
While you can invest in rare releases from the likes of George T. Stagg, Eagle Rare and William Larue Weller, there are a lot of exceptional options at a more affordable price point if you’re planning on experimenting with bourbon-based cocktails or seeking a weeknight sipper.
Many a Bourbon distillery has found favour with the public through the stories they tell.
And considering that many of those distilleries are located in Kentucky, it’s unsurprising that those stories often involved a horse.
But when you combine bourbon, a horse and a sea journey across the Atlantic to the UK, there is only one distillery that can tell that particular story, and that’s Never Say Die.
England has its own version of “Kentucky bourbon,” Never Say Die, and the brand recently expanded its collection with a new small batch bourbon.
A statement from the brand notes that each batch will feature a unique blend of Never Say Die recipe barrels. The distiller said this spirit was designed as an “every occasion bourbon” with a lower ABV and mellowed spice from the high-rye grain content.
Kentucky Bourbon has launched its second expression of Never Say Die. The new blend, distributed by N10 Bourbons, has a lower ABV (47.5%) and mellow spice from the high rye grain content. There are 2,750 bottles per small batch, with four initial batches planned for 2023. The spirit can be used for sipping and in highballs and cocktails.
Nascent Bourbon brand Never Say Die has set its sights on UK on-premise expansion, having signed its first major distribution deal in the country.
The deal, signed with Enotria & Coe, will give the transatlantic brand access to restaurants, bars and hotels in the UK, having previously only been available through specialist e-commerce and physical retailers including The Whisky Exchange and World of Whisky.
England’s own Kentucky Bourbon, Never Say Die has expanded its collection with a new small-batch Bourbon.
Each batch will feature a blend of Never Say Die recipe barrels and has been designed for every occasion, with a lower-abv (47.5%) and mellowed spice from the high rye grain content.
England’s own Kentucky Bourbon, Never Say Die has expanded its collection with a new Small-Batch Bourbon.
Each batch will feature a unique and balanced blend of Never Say Die recipe barrels. It has been designed as an ‘every occasion Bourbon’ with a lower-abv (47.5%) and mellowed spice from the high rye grain content. It is complex enough for sipping, whilst also holding up in highballs and cocktails.
Never Say Die Bourbon Whiskey
Does you dad love an Old Fashioned? Then this will make an extra special Father’s Day gift. A real treat, this whiskey is as spicy as it is lively with notes of vanilla and caramel. Cheers to Dad!
UK Kentucky Bourbon brand Never Say Die has expanded its ‘every occasion Bourbon’ with a new small batch release.
With just 2750 bottles per small batch, the brand has planned four initial batches or 2023, available in both the UK and the US.
With a lower abv, and mellowed spice from the high rye grain content, the brand believes the expressions are complex enough for sipping, whilst also holding up in highballs and cocktails.
Never Say Die Small-Batch Bourbon
USP: The producer of “England’s own Kentucky Bourbon” has released its second expression with 2750 bottles available of the small batch launch. The brand launched in 2022 with its “world-first” Kentucky Bourbon that is both ocean-aged and then further matured in England at Derbyshire’s White Peak Distillery.
England’s own Kentucky Bourbon, Never Say Die has expanded its collection with a new Small-Batch Bourbon (RRP £59.95, 70cl, 47.5% ABV).
Each batch will feature a unique and balanced blend of Never Say Die recipe barrels. It has been designed as an ‘every occasion Bourbon’ with a lower-abv and mellowed spice from the high rye grain content. It is complex enough for sipping, whilst also holding up in highballs and cocktails.
Blazing a Trail
PROUD WINNER OF THE MASTERS AWARD
at the DB & SB Spring Blind Tasting 2023
England’s Own Kentucky Bourbon
Introducing Never Say Die. Distilled in Kentucky, aged over the Atlantic, matured in England and a story as unique as it tastes.
Never Say Due Barrel Strength Bourbon – Master (American whiskey – bourbon)
Never Say Die Bourbon
In the American Whiskey – Bourbon round, a Master medal was awarded to Never Say Die Barrel Strength Bourbon. The judges celebrated the “warmth and power on the nose”, and noted the Bourbon’s “brilliant integration considering the higher ABV”.
Despite featuring in the American Whiskey – Bourbon category, Never Say Die is also believed to be the first English Bourbon, having been ocean-aged on a transatlantic voyage from the US to England
Try this classic Bourbon-based in a frosted glass to kick off your evening.
50ml Never Say Die Bourbon
10ml Simple sugar syrup
8-10 Mint leaves
3 Mint sprigs (for garnish)
Gently muddle the mint and sugar syrup. Fill the glass with crushed ice, add the Never Say Die Bourbon, and stir well until the glass is frosted. Garnish with mint sprigs
As spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, we put a selection of spirits on the market to the test. These are the top-quality products that passed the rigorous taste test.
In the UK, the clocks have jumped forward and it is officially British Summer Time. Thankfully, the weather also seems to have received the memo, and the final cold spell of winter feels well and truly behind us – spring has officially sprung.
We’ve rounded up 10 recipes for classic cocktails and innovative concoctions you should be sipping in April.
From an acclaimed Cuban serve to a Royal Gin and Tonic in anticipation of the King’s coronation, brands stepped up to the plate to suggest the cocktails that drinkers should be crafting at home this month.
Blazing a trail: A voyage of discovery that is steeped in history: following the journey of the racehorse named Never Say Die
Sometimes in life we come across a piece of information that is far too intriguing to simply digest and move on from; towards the end of last year, Never Say Die Bourbon had that very effect on me. A Kentucky straight bourbon that was matured in the UK? One moment, can you explain that to me again?
In a first for the category, Never Say Die Bourbon finished its maturation in England after six weeks of sailing across the Atlantic from Kentucky in the US.
Never Say Die was distilled and matured in the US state before its journey to be aged in Derbyshire in the UK. It was created by Bourbon distillers Pat Heist and Shane Baker, alongside a transatlantic team of founders.
Introducing England’s First Bourbon: Never Say Die
Q: What world-first whiskey is born in the USA, but matured in Britain, and has a story taking in a Derby-winning horse and the Beatles?
A: NEVER SAY DIE. Beating the odds (and Donald Trump) to become England’s first-ever bourbon.
Every year, English whisky gets better and better, just like its wine.
The county of Derbyshire has just launched what is believed to be the first English Bourbon, aged on a transatlantic voyage. “Never Say Die” is named not after the James Bond film but the first American-bred colt to win the Epsom Derby in seventy-three years. That was in 1954.
It’s a first for BarLifeUK to be offered an American Whiskey trip and find ourselves on a train to a misty Derbyshire. Never Say Die is a Bourbon with a difference, and we were about to spend the day finding out all about it.
Described as “England’s first Bourbon”, this whiskey takes its name from the Kentucky-born winner of the Epsom Derby, the bottle features magenta and scarlet to represent the silks that jockey Lester Piggot wore when he won the race.
David Wild from the UK and Kentucky native Pat Madden have launched what they say is “England’s first Bourbon”.
The whiskey – named Never Say Die after a horse owned by Madden’s father – has a higher rye content than most other Bourbons, made with 25% rye, 71% corn, 4% malted barley.
Never Say Die Bourbon is inspired by the legendary tale of the namesake racehorse and is believed to be the first bourbon to be distilled and matured in barrels in Derbyshire to give it a unique British finish.
Described as “England’s first Bourbon”, Never Say Die is a celebration of horse racing, The Beatles and the end of tariffs – and its unique flavour comes from its transatlantic voyage.
Northerner David Wild and Kentucky native Pat Madden first met at Queens’ College, Cambridge, but it wasn’t until 30 years later at a reunion dinner that their idea to create a spirit that brings the US and UK together started to take shape.
Sometimes it takes a racehorse, a sea voyage and a reduction in tariffs to create the perfect Bourbon Whiskey.
Never Say Die, the world-first Bourbon inspired by the legendary tale of the namesake racehorse, is launching its flagship product today for the UK market.
A deal to lift trans-Atlantic tariffs on a wide variety of exports has been celebrated by a UK bourbon firm.
Never Say Die was set up in 2017 to ship supplies of the liquor from Kentucky to Derbyshire to be matured and then sold.
From today, UK steel and aluminium exporters can get back to exporting to our largest trading partner.
Following the resolution of the S232 tariff dispute earlier this year, from 1 June UK steel and aluminium exporters are free to start exporting tariff free up to a specified volume to our largest trading partner for the first time since 2018.
Washington concerned that London’s threats to override Northern Ireland protocol will undermine peace in region.
The model impressed by the horse Lestor Piggott rode to victory in 1954 begins its maiden trans-Atlantic voyage with its first Whiskey anticipated within the UK in July
The Bourbon Alliance is calling on the hospitality sector to pledge support on their website, engage on social media, and join the fight to Free the Spirit.
A new bourbon brand – Never Say Die, has gone into production with plans to launch in the UK following its US debut.
An exciting new brand – Never Say Die Bourbon – goes into production today. The brand is inspired by Kentucky’s own Never Say Die, the first American racehorse since 1881 to win the English Derby in 1954.
This also means lifting our rebalancing measures on products like US whiskies, Harley Davidsons and Levi’s 🥃🏍️👖
as they launch England’s first bourbon whiskey drink.
Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Brown-Forman have joined with The Bourbon Alliance – an army of distillers, restaurants and pubs, retailers, wholesalers, and US Whiskey fans – to urge the British Government to remove the 25% tariff on imported US Whiskey caused by a trade dispute over steel. The campaign is calling on the hospitality sector to sign up to the campaign and to help Free the Spirit from tariffs.
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Initially only available as Single Barrels and bottled at Cask Strength