The bourbon world is increasingly breaking tradition, particularly in following the Scottish path of experimenting with different barrel aging and finishes. Ray Walker, of Holt, California has been tinkering with winemaking for years. Walker moved to the Burgundy region of France, and founded Mason Ilan, a Micro-negociant. Walker embellishes being the first American to make a Gran cru wine, doing so with no formal experience.
The Mason Ilan experiment has concluded, and Walker has returned to the States to found Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon, an American whiskey brand producing “micro-scale” limited batches. Batch One is in the books, distilled in 2016, and released into a limited 3000 bottles in March 2019. Saint Cloud seeks to showcase traditional distilling techniques; using a pot column hybrid still, using an undisclosed proprietary mash bill, and aged exclusively in French limousin white oak barrels, a homage to both Ray’s Kentucky roots, and winemaking background.