Because there was so much agricultural heritage in Florida, Philip McDaniel and Mike Diaz wanted to make their bourbon there. Not only did they want to make their bourbon in Florida, they wanted to make it in St Augustine, The Nation’s Oldest City. They discovered an abandoned ice plant (the oldest in Florida) and commenced to restore that building to its historic splendor. While Phil and Mike were convinced that Florida’s heat and humidity and St Augustine’s maritime climate would make spectacular bourbon, they were businessmen, not distillers. Never satisfied with “good enough,” they set out to hire the best experts they could to assist in their dream. The team hired Dave Pickerell, former Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark, to consult on the distillery design and processes. Jake Norris, former Founding Distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, developed the mash bill for the bourbon. Brendan Wheatley distilled the spirit and developed our barrel program. Dave Pickerell returned to lead the team’s final blending of this first bourbon release.
St. Augustine Distillery is proud to present Florida Double Cask Bourbon. This bourbon is made from a mash bill of 60% regional corn, 22% malted barley and 18% regional wheat. The grains are milled and mashed on site, and fermented with proprietary yeast strains in closed-top fermenters. The mash is distilled in a Vendome 750-gallon stripping still, and the spent grains are sent to local farmers for cattle feed – eliminating any waste from the process. The resulting low wines are then distilled to final proof in a Vendome 550-gallon spirit still. The Double Cask Bourbon was barreled at 125 proof in 25-gallon, new oak barrels using several different char profiles. Due to Florida’s heat and humidity, the decision was made to move a portion of the spirit into 53-gallon barrels to continue aging while preventing over-extraction. This first release is a combination of barrels ranging from 16 to 28 months of age. To really round out the spirit, the team decided to finish 7% of the spirit in port barrels. The resulting blend is round, fruity and well-balanced. After extensive bench trialing, the bourbon was bottled at 93.8 proof to best present the spirit’s true flavor.
The resulting malted bourbon achieves the team’s goal – it is approachable, full-flavored sipping bourbon. The corn provides the traditional bourbon sweetness while the relatively high barley content adds chocolate and malty notes. The wheat adds creaminess and mouth feel while allowing the sweetness of the corn and vanilla to show through. This dark amber spirit has a deep, warm nose with notes of caramel, dark fruit, oak and dark chocolate. The taste is full-bodied, deep and complex with spice at first, followed by toffee and dark winter fruit. The lingering finish is warm, pleasant and full of caramel and dark chocolate.
The beautiful bottle highlights the historic structure in which the spirit was distilled and bottled. Enjoy this first step in St Augustine Distillery’s journey to produce spectacular bourbon in Florida.