Hillsboro, Oregon is just a stonesthrow away from Portland, and not a suspecting place to find a distillery of this caliber. Equally surprising is the name Big Bottom, which arose from a political battle in Washington D.C. to protect over 100,000 acres of land on and around Mt. Hood, through the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act which was signed into law by President Obama. This act is protecting Big Bottom area as a wilderness habitat and old growth forest. Named after this conservation area, Ted Pappas opened the distillery in 2010, which now pushes out a variety of spirits including: Gin, Brandy, Whiskey, Rye, and Bourbon.
The thing I love the most about this distillery, is their focus on finishing their products using wine and port barrels. Especially notable is their warehouse series (sold out, sorry folks) which they used barrels ranging from Syrah, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, and Rhône casks to age their spirits. Relying on the wine industry for fresh barrels, which I imagine can be a logistical nightmare depending on the season, gives Big Bottom a unique branding and business model.
The Lead Distiller, Travis Schoney, comes from a whiskey background and once worked for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in Utah. He was once the Assistant Distiller at High West Distillery, which you may remember from my Weekly Whiskey article about their Bourye.
The 111 proof variation is "Gone but not Forgotten" on their website, so if you're lucky enough to see a bottle on a shelf somewhere, please please please try this before it really is gone.
I was lucky enough to find the exact specs of this from a comment Ted himself left on Breaking Bourbon Whiskey Blog:
The bourbon used was a 2006 bourbon bottled in 2014 so it was a few months shy of 8 years old. The group of barrels used for our 111 came from an allotment that we got in 2011 and had a rye content of 36%. During the time we had it, there was a summer of hot temps and two of somewhat typical of Oregon - mild for the most part but the temp in our storage was elevated enough and overall gave the barrels a good experience of all four seasons.
Aged over 6 years in new white oak, the next generation of bourbon showcases the bold flavors that come with a 111 proof whiskey. The higher proof pronounces the traits of vanilla, caramel, cloves, allspice and honeysuckle on the palate resulting in a long, robust finish. This product was recently awarded a Gold Medal at the 2014 Great American Distillers Festival.