In With the Old

Back in 2016, a small group of Bourbon & Banter members met in St. Louis to attend Whiskey In the Winter. Following a wonderful evening gathered around Pops' dining room table sipping pre-prohibition whiskey and other mid-century dusties, the actual show itself was largely forgettable - save for one large exception. In Seminar Room C, Luke Castle and I were blown away by the magnetism,...

A Barrel Full of Roses

If there is one thing about bourbon I haven't gotten bored with over the years, it's selecting a private barrel. Every so often, a truly special one stands out from the others. Such was the case when, earlier this year, we got this incredible short barrel OESF for Mike Bridges at Jack's in Fremont, Nebraska. It's the "Bitch Wolf Barrel" we named after Ruthie from the show 'Ozark.' Bottle from...

Review of Starlight Single Barrel Rye (21 Kings x #Greg’s Pick Private Selection)

The words ‘Distilled In Indiana’ on a whiskey label used to automatically mean one thing: This whiskey was sourced by Midwest Grain Products (MGP). Well, not anymore. THE HISTORY OF STARLIGHT DISTILLERY The Starlight Distillery Rickhouse Starlight Distillery may seem to have burst onto the scene like another hot craft whiskey start-up, but it is actually part of a now...

Be Smarter Buying Private Barrel Picks

Last year, I was in one of my favorite distillery’s rickhouses doing one of my favorite things with some of my favorite people. Picking a private barrel of bourbon is still exciting for me, even after doing it many, many times. On this particular occasion, we tasted through three barrels of bourbon and collectively decided we weren’t going to take any of them. Noticing the visible shock on...

Review of Four Roses 2020 Small Batch Limited Edition

Once a year, Four Roses releases its Small Batch Limited Edition (SmBLE) bourbon, a unique blend orchestrated by Master Distiller Brent Elliott. You won’t see a bottle sitting on a shelf unless the store is asking over $400 for it, and even then you might not see one. The reason is simple: These are consistently among the strongest whiskey releases of the year. Among the many reasons Four...

Review of Wilderness Trail Settler’s Select Rye

One of my absolute favorite Kentucky traditions is our barrel picking group’s “hotel room double blind tasting” the night before our annual fall charity event. Each year, Brian Gomolka outdoes himself and I find myself searching for a new favorite bottle. This past November, the stars all aligned like never before. In a field of what ended up being six rye whiskies, two stood out above...

Book Review of ‘The Whiskey Rebellion’ by William Hogeland

William Hogeland’s The Whiskey Rebellion was published in 2006, well before the Bourbon Boom, and well before Lin Manuel Miranda had children rapping about Alexander Hamilton as a hero. Brilliant though Hamilton was, he was tone deaf and out of touch with the people. He was also conniving, manipulative and unscrupulous in the pursuit of what he believed to be loftier objectives.  History...

How The Bourbon Crusaders Determined the Best Bourbons on the Shelf

On Monday, November 5 2018, the Bourbon world was abuzz about a little charity event that raised over $340,000 for the American Cancer Society over the weekend. For more about the auction itself, Fred Minnick’s excellent Forbes piece captures it beautifully. What may have been overshadowed by the shocking and magical live auction at “Willett To Be Cured” was the months-long, massive blind...