Bourbonomics

Mark Twain wrote that Tom Sawyer “had discovered a great law of human action, namely that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” That was true nearly 150 years ago, when whiskey was anything but coveted, referred to by popular nicknames like “coffin varnish” and “strychnine.”  Today’s Tom Sawyer would be running the...

Gordy Hue and the Greatest Bourbon Story You’ve Never Heard

If you're a fan of Bourbon, then you’ve likely heard of Pappy Van Winkle.  And if you’ve heard of Pappy Van Winkle then know it’s coveted by everyone from aficionados to the people who cut their hair. I’ve even seen annual releases of Pappy advertised as “The Holy Grail of Bourbons.” However, seasoned Bourbon drinkers or collectors with an interest in history have...

Taste More, Listen Less

In a Louisville hotel room overlooking the Haymarket whiskey bar, my friend Brian had arranged something special. As I entered the room, I instantly spotted three rows of semi-filled glasses, each row dead-ending at an amber bottle marked with the letters ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. “Oh, hell yes!” I giddily exclaimed. Nothing brings a room of whiskey ‘experts’ back down to earth like...

Review of Kentucky Owl Rye Batch #1

From the press release: “This unique offering is produced from a collection of barrels blended and brought to proof to accentuate both the delicate profile and the full-flavored body of the whiskey. Master Blender, Dixon Dedman, crafted the small batch rye with the same passion and high quality that goes into his family's award-winning bourbon. On the heels of a seven-market release of...

You Need to Meet… Ed Bley from Cork ‘N Bottle

He’s been called “The Nicest Guy In Whiskey,” and my very first experience with Ed Bley, Spirits and Beer Manager for Kentucky’s Cork ‘N Bottle (CNB), certainly supports that title. Last year, Ed reached out to send a few samples of CNB’s barrel picks for me to try. Not only did I receive several large sample bottles, but he also tossed in a full bottle of his latest Four Roses pick!...

Book Review of ‘Barrel Strength Bourbon’ by Carla Harris Carlton

Like Bourbon itself, new books on the topic continue to be released all the time. Some people try and read everything they can (guilty), some people want just an overview, and some people just want a book for their coffee table or bar. Then comes a book like Barrel Strength Bourbon that works for everyone. You may know her as “The Bourbon Babe” on the Internet, but Carla is an...

The Big Blind Bourbon Tasting

Last year, we gathered 22 whiskey fans in the tasting room at Omaha’s Spirit World for the Ultimate Blind Rye Tasting and learned that a sub-$30 shelf rye can hold its own against a seldom-seen $100 bottle. For that tasting, we strategically grouped those ryes into specific pairings for purposes of direct comparisons. This year, Andy and I presented Laurie and Alzuri with a new idea: We wanted...

You Need to Meet… Michael Myers at Distillery 291

“Everything happens for a reason.”  It’s hard to draw any other conclusion after hearing Michael Myers’ incredible journey from New York photographer to founder of one of the most decorated craft distillers in the world, Colorado Springs’ Distillery 291. All along the way, the signs guided him toward his calling- not merely as a producer of whiskey, but as a true artist of flavor....

Book Review of ‘The Big Man of Jim Beam’ by Jim Kokoris

My deep dive into bourbon began in earnest with Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s. They were the first premium small batch bourbons released and their mastermind was Booker Noe. At the time of their release, Booker’s legendary career was pretty much over, and I had no idea who he was. Today, the Bourbon Trail is like Disneyland for adults, whiskey festivals draw crowds of thousands, and they all...

This One Is Different

Beam Suntory has completed its trilogy of controversial 2016 announcements, as it confirmed late last week it would be raising the price of Booker’s from $59.99 to $99.99, and also reducing output from six batches to four. Earlier this year, Beam released 3 batches of Knob Creek 2001, a 14-year version of its 100 proof bourbon at a suggested price of $129.99, as well as a one-time-only (we are...