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Engineered Bourbon

Stacked Aged alcohol barrels

Under federal law a standard Bourbon consists of distilling a mash that must consist of more than 51% corn, then you take that GNS (grain neutral spirits) and place it in a barrel of American white oak for a minimum of 1 year.  That is the short description, what they do not tell you is that while sitting in a barrel for that year, you have hours and hours of maintenance, such as checking for leaks which then you have to wax them so as not to lose product.  There is the drying out of slats that can cause the angel cut, (fancy word for evaporation), there are devils cut, (another fancy slang for the wood absorbing product), and you hope what comes out after the year is over will taste good, sometimes it does not. Not to mention barrel racks, houses burning down, or natural disasters, so it is a large investment that can sometimes not pan out.

So here at Contraband, we have decided to think outside of the barrel, yes that pun was intended.

Instead of putting the GNS in the barrel, we have found a way to put the barrel in the GNS.  Yes, it sounds strange but by doing it the way we do, and applying some vacuum, along with applying a measured sonic frequency at set times per day, we can cut the aging time from years to weeks.

With this new method, we can age a bourbon the equivalent of 1 year in only 6 weeks, using a fraction of the wood needed, which is more sustainable for the environment and the pocketbook. It’s just the simple method of applying science to tradition, rather than just doing it the same way it’s always been done.

80-proof bourbons

Bottle of Black Hills Spirits Contraband Charred Oak


Using American white oak with a #3 char we have created a taste that will match tradition but taste modern.

Tasting Notes
At first sip, you taste a strong barrel note that consists of rich oak and subtle smoke, which will then transition to a mild sweet with a solid vanilla finish.

Bottle of Black Hills Spirits Contraband Toasted Oak


Instead of charring the American white oak, this wood is baked in a kiln until it reaches a rich brown coloration.

Tasting Notes
It starts with a slightly smokey sweet front taste, that will transition to a rich maple finish and just a small hint of bite.