Category Archives: News

🂡 The Bourbon Newsletter #25 – “So Lex Luthor was behind the Pappy heist all along?”

Bourbon Reading List // bourbonveach

This is the short list of books I recommend as further reading. I picked these five books because all of them are still in print and available in bookstores or on Amazon.

I'm visiting Haymarket Whiskey Bar in Louisville with 150 Bourbons. What should I get? // r/bourbon

"Wow, you must have the liver of the gods." – pentOx

From barrels to bourbon: Inside the Brown-Forman Cooperage // insiderlouisville

Each barrel is made out of 33 stakes, alternating between wide and narrow. After charring, the barrels cool before they are encased with the metal hoops.

Bottom-Shelf Bourbon Brackets 2016, Round 1: Very Old Barton 86 vs. Jim Beam White // bourbonguy

Very Old Barton is a product of the Sazerac company produced out of the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, KY.

Four flavor categories

Bourbon Tasting Workout // bourbonr

Bourbon has sixteen major flavor notes. Sixteen flavors seem like a lot, but we’ll break the down to four categories to make it manageable.

Glassware 101: Choose the Best Glassware to Enjoy Your Bourbon // bourbonbanter

For the sake of brevity, today’s discussion will be limited to five types of glassware: Shot, Rocks, Wine, Glencairn and NEAT. I invite you to partake in a little experiment with me and pour a dram into each type of glass.

Lex Luthor drinks Pappy

Lex Luthor Drinks Pappy // r/bourbon

So Lex Luthor was behind the Pappy heist all along? It all makes sense now. – Nillion

Favorite Alcoholic Beverages of U.S. Presidents // bourbonblog

Ulysses S. Grant. Low tolerance. When he entertained guest at the white house the bill was $1,800 for Champagne alone.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Release Cheat Sheet // bourbonr

Since there are several new releases each year, it can be confusing trying to keep track of each release.

⚑ The Bourbon Newsletter #24 – “It’s just really good whisky, don’t church it up”

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” – Haruki Murakami

☞ Bourbon Pursuit Episode 040 – Jackie Zykan, Master Bourbon Specialist for Old Forester // bourbonpursuit

There’s alot of weird myths out there about how Woodford is just overpriced Old Forester. …there’s nothing to hide, it’s just really good whisky. You don’t have to church it up. – Jackie Zykan

☞ Noob Question: Rye vs normal bourbon composition // r/bourbon

If a rye bourbon is 51% rye, is it no longer even considered bourbon? So in the case of Bulleit, Bulleit Rye is not bourbon, but just Bulleit is? As far as taste goes, what’s the difference between a rye and a bourbon (supposing I’m correct in that they are different things)?

☞ The Weller Effect // bourbonr

Weller is great bourbon and I’m glad it’s getting recognized as such. The problem is people are starting to pay $100+ for a bottle of W.L. Weller 12. $100!

☞ It’s Back! 2016 Four Roses SBLE // bourbonr

This is exciting news! OESK is in my top 3, if not my favorite, of theFour Roses 10 mash bills. There’s no mention of proof but I’d guess it to be 105-110 range based on other releases.

☞ Bourbon Mash Bill Explained // bourbonr

There are typically three grains in every bourbon mash bill: Corn, Rye or Wheat, and Malted Barley. Each grain percentage will vary based on distillery but generally, distilleries use three types of mash bills…

☞ Bonded Buck Cocktail Recipe // bourbonbanter

Do you know what the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is? I didn’t, but I did a search and now I do. Ginger beer is brewed and fermented. Ginger ale is carbonated water with ginger flavoring added.

☞ Best Bourbon: The Unbelievable ‘Best Whisky’ Upset in ’16 San Francisco World Spirits Competition // fredminnick

It was Four Roses 2015 Limited Edition Small Batch. Jim Rutledge retired last year, and this was his final creation as Four Roses master distiller. Four Roses also won Best Single Barrel.

☞ Rapper Drake’s Virginia Black American Whiskey // bourbonblog

A few days ago, Drake’s Instagram showcased what he called a “first look” in the photo above. The bottle reads “Virginia Black American Whiskey” at 40 % ABV / 80 proof.

☞ Review: E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood // bourbonr

Words like “phenomenal” and “best ever” will flow freely. Where do I fall into these two camps? I’m not exactly sure. But, I wanted to try it first before voicing too much of an opinion.

Newsletter #22: Sip, swish, swallow, breathe out

☞ Photos: Large Personal Bourbon Collection // flickr

Kentucky Tavern is a brand we enjoy as our “house bourbon”. It is made by the Buffalo Trace folks now, possibly in Frankfort. For years it was made at the Barton distillery in Bardstown, which Sazerac (Buffalo Trace’s company) purchased in 2009, and it may still be distilled there.

☞ Learning to sip: “Not a man’s man and i need your assistance.” // r/bourbon

Try to (2) breathe in, sip, swish, swallow, breathe out… you can breathe in and out while swishing, you just want to always breathe out after you swallow so any alcohol vapors will be pushed out of your mouth/esophagus after sipping instead of into your lungs, causing you to potentially cough….

☞ Cheap Bourbon // r/bourbon

I’m a college student with a $25 budget to spend on a Saturday Night. What Bourbon do I choose?

☞ Review 83: Lost Prophet 22 Yr /r/bourbon

I’m not sure if this was wheated, but it does remind me of a well aged, but not overoaked wheater in some ways, especially with the rum notes I get and the way the spice stays towards the front of the palate.

☞ The Pappy Van Winkle Timeline // recenteats

1999:  Regular bottles for Van Winkle series changed from (very light) green glass to clear glass.

☞ Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey Review // bourbonbanter

The rye balances out with honey and fades into a smooth finish with vanilla creme notes and milder baking spices. The burn is slow to return but is steady and warm–very enjoyable.

☞ Early access for Kole: A cylinder flask made of steel and wood // nisnasindustries

A beautifully crafted thermal flask that keeps your espresso or whisky stylishly in your vest pocket, soon available on Kickstarter.

☞ We Find the “Jack Daniel’s Is Bourbon” Smoking Gun, Or Do We? // chuckcowdery

So is Jack Daniel’s a bourbon or not? The answer is yes. Jack Daniel’s is not bourbon because it is Tennessee whiskey…

☞ Destruction in Bourbon Country // whiskyadvocate

Bourbon’s troubles weren’t over. One day after the fire, the National Weather Service reported 95 mph winds in the Bardstown area. Microbursts caused severe wind damage to Heaven Hill’s Warehouse O and moderate damage to Warehouse P. O’s roof folded over like a pancake, half dangling over the side, the other half splayed open just feet way.

🌽 The Bourbon Newsletter #21 – What is Barrel Char?

Credit: Herald-Leader Staff

☞ See how bourbon barrels are charred in Louisville in this video. // youtube

Half a dozen casks go in at a time and are subjected to heat up to 1000 degrees per cask. …it’s this firing process, this charring, that imparts this most pronounced flavor into bourbon – the rich, creamy, caramel and vanilla flavors we all know.

☞ Making Barrels – Brad Boswell (Independent Stave Co.) // youtube

“We can take a piece of oak and cook it 150 different ways and each way is going to create a different flavor profile.”

☞ Charring Bourbon Barrels // seguinmoreaunapa

It acts like an activated-carbon filter to adsorb sulfur compounds and it provides a passage for the spirit into the pores of the oak. In the United States a full-depth charring of barrels (i.e., 1/8 inch) used to age American straight whiskey is predicated by law. This is in spite of the fact that over-charring can actually destroy some of the flavors that are needed to develop the finish of the spirit. This is why toasting, or even a light char, may be a better route, but it is illegal in the United States to age straight whiskies, such as bourbon, in any-thing but fully-charred barrels. A medium-depth char is required just to crack the wood, and a heavier char burns up wood compounds that would only be caramelized by a low- or medium-level char. – Bill Owens in the Craft of Whiskey Distilling

Nearly all bourbons you’ll find on the shelf come from barrels with heavy char – level #3 or #4. Most of the barrels used for the bourbons in the chart below are produced by the Independent Stave Company with the exception of the Brown Forman brands. Brown Forman produces their own barrels at the Bluegrass cooperage in Louisville.

Char #1 Char #2 Char #3 Char #4
Very Old Barton, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, Kentucky Gentleman All Jim Beam bourbons, Old Crow, Old Taylor, Knob Creek, Booker’s Old Grandad, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek Rye
Brown-Forman Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Early Times, Jack Daniels Buffalo Trace, White Dog, Old Charter, Eagle Rare, Colonel E.H. Taylor, George T. Stagg, Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Blanton’s
Four Roses, Single Barrel, Small Batch Everything Weller, Pappy Van Winkle, Sazerac, Bowman Rye, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye
Heaven Hill, Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, Parker’s Heritage, Old Fitzgerald, Bernheim Original, Mellow Corn Wild Turkey, Russell’s Reserve, Wild Turkey Rye
Maker’s Mark

Source: StraightBourbon Whiskey Tree and Independent Stave Company

The Bourbon Newsletter #20 – What is Cask Strength?  …and Olfo BIB!

☞ 2015 Bourbon Release Calendar // breakingbourbon

E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof (127.2 Proof) and WhistlePig Old World (86 Proof)

☞ Smoked Americans // whiskyadvocate

“American whiskey has been great, but it’s been like going to Baskin & Robbins and getting 31 flavors of chocolate and vanilla,” says Paul Tomaszewski, distiller and founder of MB Roland distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky. “There’s only been two kinds of American whiskey for a long time.”

☞ Review: Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon // /r/bourbon

Nice long finish on this one with hints of leather, tobacco, oak, and pepper.

☞ Whisky Buzzwords: What is Cask Strength? // craveonline

Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Greg Davis explains what exactly it is.

☞ OBSV and OESK? An Infographic Breakdown of Four Roses Recipes // fourrosesbourbon

Four Roses is the only distillery that uses two mashbills and five proprietary yeast strains to produce 10 distinct bourbon recipes, each of these 10 bourbon recipes has its own unique recipe.

☞ Bottles You Regret Buying? // straightbourbon/forum

Willet Pot Still Reserve is one of the most inconsistent bottlings a I’ve encountered.

☞ 1897 Bottled in Bond – Old Forester Whiskey Row Series // youtube

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond, the second in our Old Forester Whiskey Row Series, is crafted to honor a watershed moment in bourbon history – the U.S. Bottled-in-bond Act of 1897.

☞ History of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection // bourbonr

Currently, the BTAC is made up of 3 bourbons and 2 rye whiskies (George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac 18 and Thomas H. Handy) however that was not always the lineup for the BTAC.

☞ Quality Liquor Store // bourbonandoak

Trying to track down rare or hard to find whiskey and spirits can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be. You can shop online at Quality Liquor Store.

☞ From Grain to Glass: An American Craft Spirits Renaissance // youtube

Go to a visit a winery, there are some tanks, you look around and there’s nothing. You go to visit a brewery and there’s total confusion. Come see a distillery, there’s romance, it’s in there DNA, those guys have the religion. And I remember the first time I went to Belgium; a guy drove me five miles out into the country to show me the dirt. Here’s our dirt. He’s so proud of the dirt. – Bill Owens, President and Founder, American Distilling Institute

The Bourbon Newsletter #19 – E.H. Taylor Cured Oak Reviews

☞ Why the Best Bourbons Start with Wheat, Not Rye // mensjournal

But more flavor isn’t always better. A good way to think about whiskey is to compare it to bread. On one side you have rye: a savory, spicy grain with a lot of history. On the other you have wheat: a cleaner, more subtle note — and one more people enjoy.

☞ Bourbon Salon at Oxmoor Farm: The Art of the Bourbon Cocktail // filsonhistorical

With the recent influx of distilleries in downtown Louisville and the rise in popularity of cocktail bars, it’s no longer acceptable for establishments to serve boring cocktails.

☞ Easily Cut Your Bourbon Bottles // bourbonoftheday

The Kinkajou Bottle Cutter is a cheap, safe, and easy to use tool that creates perfect cuts every time.

☞ Bourbon Review: Col. E.H. Taylor Cured Oak // bourbonr

 Caramel, woody sweet, bananas and dried orange peel. Sweet and fruity taste with a sweet tea finish. Much improved over the first time I tasted it but there’s still a little harshness on the finish.

☞ Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bourbon Review // bourbonbanter

Master’s Keep is just one of three new releases coming from Wild Turkey later this summer. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to explore this one I’m really looking forward to Russell’s Reserve 1998 and Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye. Also, see Fred Minnick’s review

☞ Make No Little Plans, Kentucky, Even If That Goes Against Every Instinct You Have // chuckcowdery

I lived in Kentucky for nine years, from 1978 to 1987, and have spent a lot of time there since. I love Kentucky. It’s a unique place with many wonderful qualities but one particularly bad one. I call it ‘small timer syndrome.’

☞ Buffalo Trace Distillery Mash Bills Chart // bourbonr

By simply aging in a different warehouse two, bourbons that entered the barrel with the same mash bill and same proof can have a completely different taste and proof.

☞ Learn Craft Distilling in the Heart of Bourbon Country // chuckcowdery

As craft distilling has gained steam, so have the educational opportunities. One good choice is Moonshine University in Louisville. Right downtown, you get hands-on instruction in distilling while enjoying everything else Louisville has to offer.

☞ Heaven Hill Announces Release of New 6 year old, 110 Proof Pikesville Rye // /r/bourbon

 We’ve created a Pikesville Rye with a high proof and a rich, spicy and sophisticated rye flavor. For those interested in exploring the spiciness and stories of rye whiskey, Pikesville is an excellent choice. Keep your eyes open for Pikesville beginning this September.

Bourbon Newsletter #18 – Whiskey Castles and Holy Grail Bourbon

Brown-Forman Investing $50m to Build New Irish Whiskey Distillery at Historic Slane Castle in Ireland // distillerytrail

Brown-Forman has a long history of bringing great whiskey to the world, such as Woodford Reserve, which we introduced in 1996 and has since grown to become one of the world’s leading super premium bourbon brands.

My Kentucky Bourbon Affair (AKA, Whiskey Nerd Fantasy Camp) // thewhiskeywash

…the man did shortly later dump a nearly full bottle of Booker’s Bourbon onto a barbecue full of cooking meat to help things along…

New Jim Beam Kentucky Dram Blends Scotch, Bourbon // thewhiskeywash

Hybrid Whiskey… Jim Beam Kentucky Dram is, as the name implies, a premium bourbon infused with “a touch of peaty” Highland Scotch whisky (the latter reportedly is pulled from Ardmore distillery stock).

Barton 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon Whiskey Unveiled // bourbonbuzz

1792 Sweet Wheat was bottled at 91.2 proof. Bottles are expected to hit stores this summer at the suggested retail price of $32.99.

Drone video of the Old Taylor Distillery // youtube

In fact, the light-filled castle building holds the fermenting tanks — 21 of them — along with the grain bins and most of the other machinery probably installed by National after World War II, when the distillery was used for industrial alcohol production for the war effort. More on the restoration project

How can I start liking this stuff? // /r/bourbon

I have a buddy who is in love with this stuff, and he has an aggressive yet friendly nature. He always insist and pours me a glass for fun, however it taste like straight up rubbing alcohol. Just gross. Even on the rocks it has a powerful taste.

Bourbon Pursuit Podcast Episode 17 // bourbonpursuit

Ewan Morgan, National Director for the Diageo Masters of Whiskey, joins us from DC to talk about the Orphan Barrel releases.


Experience Bourbon. 4 Weeks. Downtown.

Photo by marimich03

Studio Neat Clear Ice Kit // studioneat

Use the ice mold, chisel, muddler, and Lewis bag to create a variety of different ice types, each tailored to a specific drink or cocktail. $60

Buffalo Trace Farm Growing Crops For Future Estate Bourbon // thewhiskeywash

…18 acres of the larger 282 acquired to plant non-GMO corn, which it started seeding last month, as well as rye and barley as part of a so-called “Single Estate” experience. The planted corn is said to be “from the same strain used at the distillery by Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. in 1870.”

New Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable Released // bourbonr

“It was Dad’s tradition to gather friends around his kitchen table to taste and select the next batch of Booker’s Bourbon, and I’m proud to honor his legacy with this first Roundtable selection of 2015,” said Fred Noe. “This batch gives Booker’s Bourbon fans a look at the man behind the bourbon. A man who enjoyed the simple things in life, including a strong, robust bourbon, a juicy center cut of meat, and family and friends to enjoy it with.”

How Pappy Van Winkle Became King: A Timeline // drambox

…but nobody has a greater foodie influence on the general public than Anthony Bourdain, who drinks Pappy on his show No Reservations and calls it “the most glorious bourbon on the face of the planet”

Buffalo Trace Continues to Lead: Update on the Single Oak Project // whiskyadvocate

Release #80 was the clear winner: what was it? Surprisingly close to the distillery flagship, Buffalo Trace! It was the rye bourbon mashbill, aged in a barrel from the bottom half of the tree (the bottom half bottlings did better overall), at a 125 entry proof.

Issue #16 – Weekly Reader

☞ Video Bourbon Bait and Switch: What’s Really in Your Glass? // bloomberg

The vaunted Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old? Surprisingly similar to Weller’s 12-year-old bourbon, as it’s made from the same grain recipe in the same distillery. Chuck Cowdery’s thoughts on NDPs

Maker’s Mark to build $4 million visitors’ experience for fans of Maker’s 46 // kentucky

The Maker’s 46 experience will be on top of a new visitors center already under construction.

About That Barrel Shortage // whiskyadvocate

Boswell says the smaller distillers are caught in the gap and are making the “great amount of noise regarding their shortage of new barrels.”

☞ Review W. L. Weller Special Reserve and Old Weller Antique 107 // r/bourbon

Nose: Apple. Seriously, the sweet and crisp, clean way it hit. Sweet, soft, not much burn. I am hesitant to say cherry, but another sweet like this is there somewhere.

Episode 15 of the Bourbon Pursuit Podcast // bourbonpursuit

Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer of Mint Julep Tours, talks about the array of tours they offer.

☞ Review Wild Turkey Master’s Keep 17-Year-Old // fredminnick

Color is an examination of how the bourbon faired in the new charred oak. The deeper the color, normally, the more rich and vibrant the character, while light color typically indicates a poor nose and palate.

Owner and Injured Distiller Sue Still Maker Over Deadly Silver Trail Explosion // chuckcowdery

There was a catastrophic failure of the still, which caused the still to be catapulted through the building and into the gravel driveway of the facility.

Vatting Bourbon // r/bourbon

vat•ting. n. The Blending of Malt or grain whiskies from different distilleries. More on vatting from bourbonr. For example: Oak Bomb”: 1 part Elijah Craig 12, 1 part Old Blowhard, 1 part EHT Barrel Proof

Japanese booze takes over Jim Beam // pbrnews

With the addition of Jim Beam, Suntory not only had a ticket out of the Japanese market but also had access to one of the most prolific American bourbon brands in the world.

Cheapest bourbon to drink neat? // r/bourbon

Heaven hill bib, Old Grand-Dad 114, Old Forester Signature, Ezra brooks 101, Evan Williams Black

Issue #15 – Weekly Reader

Bourbon Security: making theft more difficult // whiskyadvocate

Sometimes whiskey still in the barrel is stolen, but there has never been anything like the recently exposed ring that stole barrels and finished goods worth more than $100,000 from two distilleries over a period of several years.

New Financial Instrument for Booming Bourbon Market // businesswire

The main appeal of such a market is that consumers can pay less for bourbon futures now than for a finished spirit later,” Federowicz said. “All the bourbon community needs now is a stable, online marketplace.

Does Whiskey Need an Age Stamp to be Good? // eater

“To my taste, when it gets to about 14 years old, the wood is just about taking over,” he says. “Once you get past that age, it gets so damn woody.” – Fred Noe

Recipe: Bourbon Ball Milkshake from Sidebar // courier-journal

The Bourbon Ball Milkshake is a decadent dessert made with vanilla ice cream, fudge and 30-proof Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream (or your choice of bourbon and an Irish cream). It’s blended and topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and candied pecans.

Eagle Rare Mashbill recon in the bourbon subreddit // reddit

…Eagle Rare is assigned to Rye Mash Bourbon #1 but given the relative similarity of the two recipes we sometimes come across barrels made using Rye Mash Bourbon #2…

Wild Turkey Summer Releases // gobourbon

…fans of its whiskey should be very surprised to learn two new limited Bourbons and a new Rye will be available for them to imbibe with.

10th Bourbon Thief Nabbed In Unraveling Conspiracy Tied To Pappy Van Winkle Heist // huffpo

NPR had noted the troubling possibility that despite recovering some of the hooch intact, law enforcement may be required to destroy the stolen goods.

Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel for Rye Whiskey and Bourbon // woodfordreserve

Using a flavor wheel or a whiskey tasting journal will help you expand your bourbon tasting vocabulary.

World Whisky Day on May 16, 2015 // bourbonblog

Even superstar, and Haig Club ambassador, David Beckham got in on the act appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in celebration of World Whisky Day and taking an ‘ugly selfie’ which went viral.

‘Bourbon Empire’ Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey // npr

Do your own tasting. But while shopping for bottles, Reid Mitenbuler advises watching out for these marketing claims.

Scoring: Blade & Bow 22-year-old, Booker’s Dot’s Batch, Temperance Trader & Michter’s Rye // fredminnick

…it’s the mouthfeel of this bourbon that’s special, all encompassing, surrounding the palate from top to bottom with a mouthcoating dripping presence.

Our Friends at the Bourbon Pursuit Podcast Released Episode 14 // bourbonpursuit

Adam Johnson, Director of the KY Bourbon Trail & Bourbon Affair, discussing the Kentucky Bourbon Affair – June 3rd-7th 2015.

Issue #12 – Weekly Reader

America’s Best Bourbon Bars   // gobourbon

The Bourbon Review magazine has compiled a list of the best bourbon bars by region. See if your favorite local watering hole made the list.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival  // usatoday

USA Today has a nice piece on this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Trailer Carrying Bourbon Buckles on U.S. 60  // lexingtonheraldleader

Say it ain’t so!!! The bourbon that broke the trailer’s back.

Moonshine University Offers Bourbon Making Classes  // louisville

Moonshine University is offering many opportunities to learn about the bourbon making process from start to finish. Click to see upcoming classes. Be warned, they sell out quick.

Product Launch – US:Beam Suntory’s Jim Beam Signature Craft Range  // just-drinks

Jim Beam to launch several new additions to its Signature Craft Bourbon Line, including grain expressions including Rolled Oat, Triticale, High Rye and Six Row Barley.

What Will Kill the Bourbon Boom?  // bourbonr

In the past five years whiskey sales have increased by 40% in the US and exports have nearly tripled within the last 10 years.