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The subject of this article appears in the Metro 2033 novel. The subject of this article appears in the Metro 2033 video game. The subject of this article appears in the Metro Last Light video game. The subject of this article appears in the Chronicles Pack DLC for Metro Last Light. The subject of this article appears in the Metro Exodus video game.

Some people call these demons, I call them bitches.

— Bourbon talking about Demons

Bourbon (Russian: Бурбон) is a trader, drifter, survivor, criminal, and adventurer, all rolled into one man. He was a seasoned professional who had seen what the metro and surface has to offer, then lived to tell the tale.


Official concept art of Bourbon for the Metro 2033 video game

Bourbon as seen in Metro 2033 Redux

Artyom and Bourbon first met in Riga, which was on security lockdown due to a recent anomaly and a particularly large infestation of nosalises in the tunnels nearby. Bourbon was the stereotypical bastard with a heart of gold. He owed a lot of money to a lot of people, clearly having a history with a group of Bandits, and knew how to handle himself in a fight.

In a sense, he came across as someone who ran with the brigands and tried become legitimate; his supportive nature  toward Artyom and his attempts to tell Artyom about the various threats they faced, seemed to stem from  how Bourbon tried to show Artyom the ropes. While this may initially be dismissed as self-interest on Bourbon's part, the truth of the matter becomes more apparent as you progress through the game; Bourbon was genuinely impressed with Artyom's ability to handle himself and his will to survive.

Bourbon did, indeed, make good on his original deal to give Artyom his AK-74 at Dry Station - if you turn around in the duct, the weapon will be waiting for Artyom to collect if he wants it. Even in the end, as Bourbon faced off against the bandit leader, his first instinct was to protect Artyom, indicating that he genuinely cared for him.

He was referred to by the bandits as "Bourbon the Huckster", which implies that he was a trader of low quality, high quantity goods - a form of wholesaler for shoddy merchandise, and that he has done business with them before, which was possibly why he may have become in debt with this particular group of bandits.

Khan also appeared to know of Bourbon. He refers to Bourbon's death as "Sad but not unexpected" indicating that while he suspected this would be Bourbon's fate, he saw the decency in the man's final moments.

Regardless, Bourbon was a character who is a major driving force for a majority of the game, and revealed himself to be good-hearted, if shady, and with a clearly gritty past. The advice he gave Artyom is sagacious and served him the entire game - and beyond.

Metro 2033[]

Artyom following Bourbon

Bourbon and Artyom form an unsteady alliance; whilst Artyom ponders Bourbon's true motives, Bourbon, in a surprising turn of events, turns out to be quite on the level. The deal is simple: if Artyom helps Bourbon get to Dry Station to pay back an old friend of his, then Bourbon will give Artyom his Kalash. Bourbon's true motives and actual name remain unknown. Bourbon does not believe in the supernatural and dismisses ghosts and psychic phenomenon as "Bullshit".

Entering the Market

The two cover a lot of ground, from Riga to Market Station, and through the frozen wastes of downtown Moscow, during which Artyom and Bourbon face down many obstacles, including a nest full of bandits that ambushed a convoy headed for Hansa, a psychic phenomenon, watchers, and demons. Throughout all of this, Bourbon, despite his coarse demeanor, constant cynicism, and sordid past, takes a paternal and guiding attitude with Artyom, teaching him the basics of stealth assaults, avoiding traps, seeking out ranger supply caches, the dangers of water on the surface, and of methods for circumventing foes. The two become separated for a time, but Bourbon waits at a checkpoint for Artyom. He is later surprised when Artyom arrives, the trek having taken Artyom quite a while and Bourbon fearing the worst.

Eventually, the pair, fleeing watchers and demons, arrive in Dry Station, where Bourbon quietly stashes his gear with Artyom and goes to meet with his old friend in Dry himself. Unfortunately, Bourbon's friend - the old boss of the bandits - has been replaced with one of his former subordinates - one who holds a serious grudge against Bourbon. Bourbon is beaten and dragged off by the brigands.

Artyom attempts a rescue, aided in secret by Khan, who quietly snipes several enemies in the bandit hideout. When he arrives in the Leader's room, Bourbon is being interrogated. Bourbon takes advantage of the chaos to throw the leader backwards, and to protect Artyom, he fires a revolver on the Bandit leader, hitting him in the neck. The bandit leader, however, at the same time, grabs a Kalash and shoots at Bourbon, piercing his abdomen. Artyom laments his death in the following chapter, when heading through the tunnels with Khan.

Metro: Last Light[]

When Pavel is in Venice, two bandits can be overheard talking about how a "new gang" had wiped out Dry station and Bourbon was the only survivor. The two bandits also say that as he was the first to go that he was probably believed to be dead and as such was not considered a threat to the unknown attacker. 

Metro Exodus[]

Bourbon briefly appears in the Eternal Voyage ending. After Artyom passes away from radiation poisoning, he wakes up aboard a darker version of the Aurora. As soon as he leaves his room, Artyom is greeted by Bourbon, who is drinking in a manner similar to how they first met. Bourbon casually points out that dying despite fighting and struggling is just the way the world works. Bourbon suggests to Artyom to take a walk around the Aurora and that he'll still be there if he needs him, telling Artyom that they now have more than enough time to talk about everything. Bourbon's appearance on the Aurora would imply that Bourbon has indeed died, but this could just be Artyom's hallucination, with Bourbon being included in his vision due to Artyom believing Bourbon to be dead.

In the Novel[]

After rescuing his crew from the pipes' gas, Artyom encounters Bourbon at the Prospect Mira station. The man asks Artyom to aid him during his trip along the Sucharevska line. Bourbon explains that since Artyom seems to be immune to the strange gas, he would be able to save him if anything happened on the way. Seeing a possible opportunity to get to Polis, Artyom agrees. When Bourbon asks for the price Artyom specifies it to be 2 magazines (60) worth of ammo and food supplies. Before they enter the tunnel Bourbon pledges his weapon to Artyom, just in case.

Unfortunately, during the way both Artyom and Bourbon start to act weirdly: Artyom becomes very talkative while Bourbon starts to chant a very odd text, which later in the novel turns out to be an excerpt from one of the books that Polis' Brahmins are searching for, finishing the speech with "I've died, there is no more me," then dropping to the ground - lifeless. Artyom tries to drag the man's body to the nearest station but to no avail. When Artyom is about to lose himself, Khan comes to the rescue, taking Bourbon's backpack and convincing Artyom to follow him, leaving the other man's body behind.

After taking a short nap, Artyom tries to get back to the tunnel where he left Bourbon's body to bury him properly. He couldn't shake off the bitterness that he wasn't able to help the man. Khan assures him that he already took care of that matter.

Later that day Artyom learns, when he was scavenging through the man's belongings, that Bourbon wasn't going to pay him. Khan advises him to take his belongings as a payment, and Artyom reluctantly agrees to take Bourbon's Kalash in exchange. Another of Bourbon's belongings turned out to be the "Guide" - a map of the Metro which is known to have semi-magical properties - seeing the discovery Khan voiced his desire to exchange this "artifact" for a normal map of the metro (assuring Artyom that he wouldn't be able to read it properly anyway) Artyom gladly accepts the offer and is visibly relieved when Khan says the "burden" is taken from him.


In the Metro 2033 Novel[]

  • In the novel, Bourbon is only a bit older than Artyom.
  • In the novel, Bourbon's death is significantly different. It had no relation to bandits or hostile humans, but occured through a supernatural phenomenon that is never explained. Moments before his death, Bourbon starts a speech with "I am dead". He then became weaker, and finally collapsed and died, leaving Artyom alone to be rescued by Khan.
  • In the novel, Bourbon did not have a weapon and complains about Artyom's old machine gun (most likely an AK-47, as evidenced by the 7.62mm ammo). He finally obtained an AKS-74u when they reached Market Station, but he did not last long enough to use it.
  • It's most likely that once the deal was complete with Artyom, Bourbon would have shot him. As it states in the book "It wasn't clear how Bourbon was planning to pay Artyom. Artyom thought about and came to the conclusion that it maybe that Bourbon hadn't been planning to give him a thing, but having past through the dangerous part. He would sling a shot into the back of Artyom's head. And throw him down a shaft and think no more of it. And if anyone had asked him about Artyom whereabouts, then he would have any number of answers. Anything can happen in the metro and well, the boy [Arytom] agreed himself to come along."

In the Metro 2033 Game[]

  • Bourbon referred to his Kalash as an AK (AK-74M), this would be the only time in the game someone referred to the Kalash as an "Avtomat Kalashnikova". Even though its clearly an AK-74M, everywhere else it is always referred to as a "Kalash" (It was renamed due to copyright).
  • On "Dead City 1", if the player runs ahead and tries to jump across the ledge with the car on it, he will hit an invisible barrier and fall into irradiated water.
  • In the game, Bourbon is more sympathetic than he is in the book (in the book it is implied that he planned to kill Artyom after passing through the dangerous tunnels, rather than paying him).
  • If Artyom does not have enough gas mask filters in Market station, Bourbon will give him some. Along with Miller, he is the only NPC who will give Artyom spare filters.
  • In the chapter "Dry", when the bandit is beating up Bourbon, he makes the same "pain sound" like the main characters from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise.
  • In Exhibition, there is a man who looks very similar to Bourbon and has the same voice. He has a different jacket on, although he wears a similar black beanie. He is located in the market section of the station, across from the weapons vendor. He is sitting at a table talking to a man about how he prefers to travel alone, or with one other person. The man then says, however, that he would want many others with him when he went in the tunnel between Dry Station and Cursed Station. This set of similarities is quite likely to be intentional as in the novel, Bourbon tells Artyom this same tale nearly word for word.
  • Bourbon is one of two friendly characters who uses a gas mask similar to the one Artyom uses. The other one is Vladimir.
  • In the chapter "Lost Tunnels", if the player shoots at the rats scampering across the ground, Bourbon will joke about Artyom's fear of rats.
  • Bourbon, along with Miller, Pavel, Ulman, and Khan, is considered one of the main companions in the game Metro 2033.
  • At the bar in Riga, while Artyom is being congratulated by the other survivors from Exhibition after fending off the nosalises, Bourbon can be seen sitting at the bar counter. He walks out during the second toast, glancing briefly at Artyom as he passes.
  • In the Russian dub, Bourbon uses a heavy mixture of Russian criminal, jail, and obscene slangs while singing out "Vladimirsky Central", a chanson song about a criminal sent to Vladimir Central Prison. A different couplet of it is sung by a drunken bandit on the "Lost Tunnels" level. In the English dub, he sings "Soldatushki", an old Russian soldier's song.
  • In Market Station, while walking with Artyom, Bourbon states "We'd be lucky if they let us shovel shit for the rest of our days". This is likely a reference to the novel, where Artyom loses a wager in a rat race, and must shovel human detritus for a year. Luckily, Artyom escapes.
  • In the loading screen for "Lost Catacombs", Bourbon can be seen wearing an ushanka similar to Vladimir, but in the final game he wears a beanie.

Metro: Last Light[]

  • At the end of the "Pavel" level, two bandits talk about Bourbon being the sole survivor of a Riga-based bandit gang. He took a bullet and the attackers thought he was dead. It’s unclear who wiped out Bourbon's gang, with the men stating that if it was the work of one of the Metro’s major parties (Rangers, Reds, Nazis, or Hansa) they would have made it public.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey (a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn). Bourbon mentions this in the novel when asked by Artyom what kind of name is "Bourbon".


  • In Riga Station, Bourbon's automatic shotgun has a bayonet and at Dry Station it disappears. The bayonet may be seen in Dead City 1 and 2 as well.
  • During the level "Lost Tunnel", if the player silently kills the bandits they first encounter instead of Bourbon, Bourbon will still act like he killed him.
  • There is a bug with Bourbon upon arrival at the Market. It's unknown what causes it, but sometimes he will freeze and won't speak to the player, leaving the game unable to progress. It could possibly be due to running ahead of Bourbon to the market before he's finished talking and giving the player money to purchase gas mask filters.

Voice Actor[]

  • Sven Holmbergj