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Veteran Vices: American Freedom Distillery

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American. Freedom. Distillery. Those words, and some kick-ass pictures, should be all we post for this round of Veteran Vices. But then we would run the risk of short-changing the truly historic foundations of this Florida-based bourbon brand. American Freedom Distillery is helmed by former Green Beret Scott Neil. A veteran of 5th Special Forces Group, Neil and his team were among the very first US Soldiers to hit the ground in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. His team was one of those that was forced to fight counterinsurgency off of horseback, due to the lack of support infrastructure and the particularly hostile terrain of the Hindu Kush, which was unmanageable for large military vehicles. The movie “12 Strong” is based on this story, and the birth of the American Freedom brand is tied deeply to this movie and to the team’s 9/11 roots. AF Distillery 3 Their flagship product, Horse Soldier, is a wheated bourbon whiskey. They were kind enough to send us a bottle of the barrel strength version and, while the author is not a particular fan of wheated bourbons, this one is a cut above his past experiences. The mash bill is 70% corn, 20% wheat, 10% barley and it’s bottled at barrel strength. Not only is the bourbon itself smooth, with a hint of buttery caramel on the back end, but the bottle itself is pressed in a mold made of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. In addition to Horse Soldier, American Freedom Distillery also produces Rekker Rum which, according to their website, is made in the French tradition of rum production. (As yours truly is a die-hard bourbon guy, he’s not 100% sure what exactly the French tradition entails. But it sounds worth a few mojitos for research purposes.) AF Distillery 1 We recently had the chance to speak with Mr. Neil at SHOT Show last month, in a Facebook live that you can find below. We chit chat a little about the history of the brand and about some of their new offerings.


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