Make It Even MORE Cincinnati… Cincinnati Distilling’s New Fountain Reserve Bourbon Takes It To A New Level


Written By: The Gnarly Gnome
Photography By: The Gnarly Gnome

I can only imagine how the conversation went when the team at March First came up with the idea for their ‘Fountain Square Reserve’ Bourbon. The brewery/distillery was looking for a way to celebrate its upcoming seventh anniversary and the opening of its new Fountain Square taproom.

“We need to add more Cincinnati.” I can imagine some slightly buzzed marketing mastermind shouting over the excited discussion around them.

The room gets quiet, and the team looks out their new taproom’s big glass garage doors, and all eyes rest on IT—the fountain.

Okay, that might not have been exactly how things happened, but that’s how I want to think it happened. Regardless of what happened in that room, they’re doing it. They’re infusing a bourbon with the city’s soul in a way that I don’t think anyone thought would happen – but that discussion requires a little backstory before we dive into it.

The Tyler Davidson Fountain

The Tyler Davidson Fountain that we all know and love that sits at the heart of Cincinnati’s Fountain Square was a gift to the city of Cincinnati in 1871 from Henry Probasco to honor the death of his brother-in-law and business partner, Tyler Davidson.

You’ve seen the fountain plenty of times. You’ve hopefully spent countless summer evenings before a baseball game, after dinner, or during a fall walk through the city – always basking in the sounds of the water and the glow of the lights. Have you ever stopped to take it all in, though?

The ‘Genius of Water’ is the figure at the top. A 9-foot-tall heroine with rain streaming from her fingers stands on a beautiful foliage and vine spire. Heading down the fountain, the base showcases the principal uses of water – steam, water power, navigation, and fisheries – and along the edges of the fountain are four figures representing the pleasures of water.

It’s these four figures where the story starts to get interesting for March First. When the statue was gifted to the city, it came with a stipulation from Probasco… the gift came with a stipulation that the city would maintain it in “complete order” and “forever supply the drinking conduits thereof with pure drinking water for the free use of all who may resort thither at any hour of the day or night.”

That’s right… the water that spews from those four figures along the edges of the fountain is perfectly potable drinking water.

Bourbon With A Little More Cincinnati

How do you take Bourbon from here and make it… well… more Cincinnati? You proof it down with water from the fountain. The whiskey that leaves the barrels is a little too boozy to really enjoy as intended, so the distillery has decided to lower the alcohol by adding a little bit of water (a technique called proofing down, which is common with almost all whiskies that aren’t labeled barrel strength) – but this time, they’re using water from the fountain.

The finished bourbon comes out at 96 proof and uses a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% Rye, and 4% malted barley, and since the water is ready to drink right out of the figures on the fountain… it’s not really any different than if they used water from the taps inside their facility right there on the square… except then it wouldn’t be nearly as cool.

Get Your Bottle Of Fountain Square Reserve

This ‘Fountain Square Reserve’ Bourbon will sell out, so don’t miss your chance to snag a bottle of it, even if you’re just buying it for novelty’s sake. You can preorder it right now on the distillery’s website, and it will be released for their anniversary on 3/1/24 from their Fountain Square taproom.

I can promise you’ll hear my thoughts on the bourbon as soon as I get my hands on it… my bottle is preordered, and I’m starting to get pretty antsy to try it!

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