Long Road partners with Blandford Nature Center on bourbon release

Courtesy Long Road Distillers

A pair of West Side institutions are partnering on a maple bourbon that will be released this week.

Long Road Distillers said Friday, Dec. 10, it again partnered with Blandford Nature Center to produce Long Road Blandford Maple Bourbon. Batch No. 2 of this limited-release spirit will be available at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, exclusively at Long Road Distillers’ tasting room at 537 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids.

It is available for preorder now for Blandford Nature Center members and Long Road Distillers Wayfarer’s Guild members.

Less than 150 bottles of the collaborative spirit were produced. Last year, Batch No. 1 sold out in the members presale.

This spirit is years in the making and required constant collaboration between the two organizations, Long Road said. It began with Long Road providing a used whiskey barrel for Blandford to take and age some of its famous maple syrup, made onsite in an old-fashioned sugarhouse.

“This collaborative, barrel-aged version of our maple syrup is a huge hit with our members and supporters,” said Jack Woller, president and CEO of Blandford Nature Center. “Sending the barrel back to Long Road for aging a whiskey is such a great way to extend this partnership to create something truly unique and amazing.”

Once the barrel was emptied of syrup, it went back to Long Road, where the distillers filled it with bourbon whiskey that was already over two years old from a charred, new American Oak barrel. The final rest in the maple syrup barrel lasted nearly a year, contributing a rich mouth feel and subtle sweetness.

The partnership goes deeper than creating a unique product, though, said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road.

“The amazing outdoor natural space at Blandford is something we love to explore with our families, and we’re grateful to have them as a West Side neighbor,” O’Connor said. “By collaborating with them on maple bourbon, we not only get to make an exceptional and unique whiskey, but we also get to financially support Blandford Nature Center during these challenging times.”

A portion of the proceeds from the Long Road Blandford Maple Bourbon will go to the nature center.

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