Leather & Bourbon: Our Love Story

April 26, 2016

Leather & Bourbon: Our Love Story

Okay, we’ll admit it.

We have a thing for bourbon.

You might even call it a bit of a problem, but you won’t find any apologies here.

There’s just something about the rich, malted flavors of peat and oak warming your insides that pairs well with the earthy aromas of naturally tanned leather. It’s kind of the Willy+Wade way. We’re Bourbon Blooded, after all.

So here’s a fun experiment; let’s take a look at how each of our rich brown shades of Horween leather pair with classic bourbon to evoke all that’s wild, natural, rugged, earthy, smoked, and free.

Natural Brown

Starting with the lightness of natural brown leather, we think the whiskey “wheaters” are the best pairing here. Wheated bourbons replace the rye with wheat and come out with a lighter, sweeter flavor that brings to mind caramel and vanilla flavors. Fits with our blonde leather, right?

Saddle Brown

With a slightly more red tint to the tanning color of this leather, it brings to mind the spicier bourbons that have a high rye content in the mashbill. Something like Jim Beam Small Batch or Old Grand Dad fit well into this “spicy rye” category alongside the fiery appeal of saddle brown leather.


Well, come on, this shade is actually called Bourbon brown! Despite the no-brainer, it should be noted that this rich reddish brown leather has a distinct smell, making us fit it in with some of the choicest bourbon like the rich, red full flavor of the rare George T. Stagg. Let’s not skimp on bourbons when we’re naming the leather after the brew, after all.

Dark Brown

The dark brown leather brings with it a sense of earthiness and wood, perfect for evoking the sense combos associated with sweet high-corn bourbons like Buffalo Trace’s Old Charter or the “baby bourbon” from Tuthilltown Spirits. The sweeter flavor and the darker brown just fit for us.


Of course, the black leather has all kinds of darker associations and really calls to the strongest and toughest of the bourbon family. Single barrel brews and cask strength proofs deserve pairing with stiff, strong black leather. It’s a grit your teeth kind of pairing.

It may seem strange to pair leather with bourbon but, hey, when those are your two favorite indulgences in life, who can judge?

If you’re bourbon blooded and look for something rugged and stylish for your wardrobe, check out Willy+Wade’s line of handmade leather accessories and send us a photo of you sipping on your favorite bourbon.

Until then, Cheers!