Bourbon Zeppelin
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Written for bourbon fans, by bourbon fans!

This Month's Bourbon Zeppelin Feature Article
A Look Into of One of the Most Controversial Aspects of Whiskey Collecting

Behind the Scenes of the Secondary Bourbon Market by Steve Akley
Most buy their whiskey from a liquor store or supermarket. It's a simple  transaction that mirrors everyday household goods purchases. With the seemingly infinite interest in whiskey, in particular bourbon in the United States, simple supply and demand combined with the scarcity of certain aged products leads to certain distillery offerings becoming extremely difficult to locate in the marketplace.

Not wanting to miss out on these difficult-to-find gems, some people turn to the secondary market to purchase these unicorns (bottles so difficult to find they become almost mythical creatures). The sky is the limit when it comes to pricing once you leave the retail world and turn to the secondary market. It's not unusual to find retail price multipliers of 5 or 10 times being tacked onto the bottles most in demand.

There really isn't a regulation on this, though, distributors often serve as the police with retailers when it comes to the topic of the secondary market. Distilleries want to get their product in the hands of their customers at the supply chain price (wholesale to distributors, markup for the distributor who then sell to the retailers who also mark it up and then sell to the final end user... in theory). This keeps the machine moving. Customers are happy and everyone gets their predetermined share of profit along the way.

Some say the distilleries are behind the demand outstripping supply phenomenon we've witnessed by creating a false sense of scarcity as a means of marketing (touting the scarcity of a product which creates more demand, which in-turn creates more publicity for the distillery, which then creates more demand, etc.). No matter how it actually happens, it's often the most loyal customers to brands whom get left out of the picture when a product becomes a hot secondary market item. Retailers will hold product back to sell to those with the most money, or individuals/organization buy up all of the supply to resell it leaving the consumer shopping stores looking to pay retail price out of the picture.

When customers start complaining, the distilleries will then tighten up on the distributors who then attempt to force the hand of the retailers to not mark up their products to secondary prices by not offering them the most limited releases. The scarcest offerings are typically allocated to stores based on loyalty, total purchases and those following directives from the distillery like not selling above the suggested retail prices.

The stakes are so high, many retailers are willing to risk a rocky distributor relationship to make a quick profit. One St. Louis liquor store owner, who asked to remain anonymous when interviewed for this article, summed it up best when he said, "We are supposed to sell Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old at $149. We got one bottle. That's it. This was our allocation for the entire year. I could have sold it at $149, but I had an executive for a local company calling me to ask if I had it a few weeks leading up to the release. When it came in, he called and when I informed him I had a bottle he told me he would send his driver over to pick it up. He never even asked the price. The driver just came by and picked it up paying for it with a company credit card."

How much for the bottle he should have sold for $149?


That's right, he netted an extra $1,651 in pure profit on one perfectly legal, though heavily frowned upon by the distributor and distiller, transaction.

With profit potential like the Pappy example, it's hard to argue against selling to the highest bidder. Running a liquor store is a highly competitive business that requires owners to carry an expensive inventory. A few of these transactions a year represents an opportunity to make some much-needed extra cash.

Wanting to know more, I reached out to Matt Saunds, a retailer and secondary market seller of bourbon, whiskey, wine and other distilled spirits. Matt works as the store supervisor for Village Wine and Spirits in Sleepy Hollow, New York. I met Matt through Instagram (@vwinespirits) after he had contacted me to gauge my interested in buying rare whiskies via the secondary market. While I prefer the thrill of the challenge in bourbon hunting, his role is intrigued me. After all, it's an activity that is equally revered by those who want help locating those difficult to find offerings and despised by those who feel a secondary market cripples their ability to find and buy their booze at reasonable prices.

Matt's involvement in the business came about when he went to work at a store that was in the process of changing hands after the longtime owner was retiring. Village Wine and Spirits had opened in 1970. The back of the store contained a stockpile of unorganized bottles. Some were simply trash that needed to be discarded, but, as Matt looked a little deeper, he discovered some of the inventory selling for top dollar on the secondary market. His boss gave him the freedom to determine the value of these old bottles and find buyers for them. He turned to the internet (sites like BottleSpot) and social media to find buyers in addition to marketing in the store.

The profits allowed Village Wine to expand its inventory. Of course, once you start selling on the secondary market, people begin asking you to either buy their valuable whiskey, help them sell it, or assist them in locating something they are looking for. While Matt couldn't do these transactions through the store, he started doing them himself on the side with the blessing of his boss. He typically charges 10% for an assisted transaction (helping a buyer or a seller).

Unlike in the Midwest, where distributors try to stop stores from selling above retail, the distributors in his area Matt resides in are fine with the approach they take at Village Wine to sell their product. The Pappy they get immediately is priced at secondary market prices. Matt quickly points out that while a bottle of Pappy 12 Year Old, for instance, is marked at $450, (with a suggested retail price of $59.99),  these prices are always negotiable.

So what's a guy like Matt like? The person. The real guy.

Well, he's awesome. He's just a guy doing a job. There isn't anything bad about him, nor is he doing anything wrong. He's matching up the product he has with customers who want it for a price they can pay.

What about the person on a budget? Is this fair?

Hey, bourbon hunting is fun. There is not thrill like walking in a store, or getting a call from a favorite retailer, or your name pulled in a lottery to tell you that you got that special bottle everyone is after. This wouldn't exist without a secondary market. Plus, everyone talks price. For instance, I was lucky enough to have my favorite liquor store sell me a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood. Like everyone else who bought it,  even though I would never sell it and bought it simply to enjoy, I do like to note it's a $375 bottle of bourbon (secondary market prices) I bought for $70. Again, this doesn't exist without guys like Matt out there selling.

The bottom line is that profit potential is too large for the secondary market to go away. If you are a collector on a budget, embrace it. Enjoy the scores when you get them, and simply become more motivated when you hear about a bottle you missed out on going for a high price.

You have to do this. Because once you start collecting bourbon, not matter what your budget is, it's not like you are going to stop!

The photo montage of this Bourbon Zeppelin Special Report. Clockwise from left: A bottle of 23 year old Pappy Steve recently "found out in the wild." It could be yours for only $2,000. Steve's buddy/secondary market authority Matt Saunds. The official seal of Sleepy Hollow, New York, home to Village Wine and Spirits (Is that not the coolest name/best seal for a town ever?). "Tough to find" to "unicorns" ("impossible to find") are one of the most frustrating, and rewarding, aspects of whiskey collecting.
In this issue...
Welcome to the second issue of Bourbon Zeppelin! Feedback to our first issue was off the charts and I'm pleased to bring you and even bigger and better issue this month. Things have been evolving here so quickly at BZ Headquarters, I'm pleased to announce Hasse Berg, who has been helping with all rapid ramping up we have been doing, will now be serving as my associate editor starting with this issue. I also want to sincerely recognize all of the great contributors you see in this publication. We're all working hard to deliver something we would simply want to read ourselves. We truly live by our mission statement of a publication "written for bourbon fans by bourbon fans!"

We've got some great new regular features debuting in this edition. Aaron Cave brings his detailed approach to reviews in his "From the Cave" column where he has a laser focus to reviews in that he'll be honing in on single barrel/high proof offerings. Elizabeth Jones joins us a field reporter where we'll have an insider coverage to bourbon happenings (she lives right in the midst of bourbon country). Evan Haskill brings us some fun as only he can with his Bourbon PSA series. Remember, the "more you know, the more you can enjoy bourbon." Also, my buddy from Instagram, Corey Chandler, kicks off his new column in the perfect issue. With our feature article being all about the secondary bourbon market, Corey shares his bourbon hunting tips to help you find those elusive selections without having to pay a premium price.

I couldn't be happier to have these new regular features added to Bourbon Zeppelin.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as the B.Z. team had putting it together for you!

Bourbon Zeppelin
Reviews of Unique Bourbon Offerings by Steve and Four Bourbon Zeppelin Team Members

This month we take a look at:

Pappy Van Winkle
20 Years Old

A cornerstone of Bourbon Zeppelin are the Steve + 4 Reviews. In this regular feature, Steve and four of the B.Z. team members will rate and score a bourbon. Knowing that there is something intrinsically wrong with any scoring system, BZ attempts to smooth out the human factor in three ways:

1). Right out of the gate, having five evaluators automatically adds legitimacy to this type of system which is typically completed by one person.

2). Steve + 4 helps remove personal bias by removing the top and bottom scores are tossed out leaving only the three scores in the middle as the ones that count.

3). The three scores that are left are then averaged giving us the final score for the monthly selection.

All final scores are tallied and kept at the bottom of BZ allowing us to have a growing comparative database.

Let's see how this month's selection fared:

Reviewer #1
Evan Haskill - 94.0*
Aroma - Wood oak + toasted oak & sweet candy (butterscotch)
Taste - Wood, oak, toasted oak, sweet, buttery, caramel, grain, sweet, wheat
Final Evaluation - Great bourbon. Sweet, light, delicate. WOW factor. Loses points on packaging (old guy smoking a cigar is not my favorite). 4/3 points on value at $149.99. Back up the truck!

*Evan's final score reflects a point deduction since he gave a 4/3 on value!

Reviewer #2
Steve Akley - 96.5
Aroma - Caramel, oak, licorice
Taste - Cake, butter, caramel, toffee
Final Evaluation - Smooth drinking. Maybe not worth the crazy secondary market prices, but worthy of its lofty retail price.

Reviewer #3
Robin Ricca - 90.0

Aroma - Malt, caramel, honey, oak, orange, brown sugar and vanilla
Taste -  Clove, butterscotch, oak, orange and maple
Final Evaluation - The aroma is a parade of the flavors above (light on the oak). On the palate this is definitely the smoothest one I have tasted so far. Balanced with just a beguiling hint of burn. The orange and butterscotch linger almost forever - at least a very long time.

Tossed Reviews

The Bearded Sipper - 98
Aroma - Slight burn at first sniff. Big bold caramel, vanilla, cedar, baking spices. Completely inviting.
Taste - Oh my goodness this is delicious it’s all rounded off with its flavors nothing sharp or overpowering and everything working in complete harmony. Luscious caramel but with that leather and something that tastes like age.
Final Evaluation - This is everything bourbon should be.

The Shy Consultant- 77.5
Aroma - After the bourbon opened up, I picked up on sweet dark fruit, like cherries with almost a raisin quality, overall sweet with a slight hint of cooked sugar. Definitely all flavors came through with an oak quality.
Taste - Flavors that came out for me were again fruity, sweet, buttery with an interesting almost honey chocolate combination. Peculiar mix flavors that were not overpowered by the burn and with a nice balanced finish that lingered just the right amount of time.  
Final Evaluation - With all of the hype around this bourbon, I can say it’s a bit perplexing. It definitely has characteristics that gives it that “extra something” and is enjoyable because of the complexity. This bourbon shows up quite a bit differently than others, making it obvious as to why it has become so elusive for people to find. The mixture of the flavors was definitely something to pour and savor over a long conversation. (Maybe a conversation one would have over how they were lucky enough to “score a bottle.") 

Combined Score
The final score for Pappy Van Winkley 20 Year Old Bourbon is...
This score ranks this one #1 in our all-time Steve+4 Rankings.
The Bouron Lifestyle
A look at products for bourbon fans

UpcycledAshley, an Etsy shop owned by artist Ashley Ommen, is making jewelry (earrings, necklaces and key chains) from recycled beer bottle caps. Why is this of interest to bourbon fans? Let's not forget many of the hottest brews being offered today are aged in bourbon barrels. In fact, you can win a pair of Lexington Brewing earrings made by Ashley in this month's free contest. Look for details below. If you would like to check out Ashley's Etsy shop, click here!

. . . . . . . . . . 

Kentucky Knows has a product line of coffees aged in bourbon barrels. Their Kentucky Barrel has been aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels and has notes of caramel and spice in addition to a hint of bourbon. They offer caffeinated as well as decaf offerrings of this product as well as their other bourbon barrel aged coffees including: Bourbon Ball (chocolate and pecan), Caramelled, Cowboy (smoky cigar and leather) as well as a mocha version. Check out Kentucky Knows coffees by clicking here!
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Last month Wyoming Whiskey's Small Batch Bourbon was reviewed. It turns out Wyoming Whiskey isn't just a stellar producer of some awesome hooch, they have some great gear as well.

Our Own Steve Akley recently got one of their hats and hasn't stopped wearing it since. Steve reports what he likes about this particular hat is the fact it has a mesh back but it doesn't sit on your head like a bucket as he reports most trucker hats do.

To visit Wyoming Whiskey's "Gear and Goods" store, click here

. . . . . . . . . .

Moonshine University has been utilized by many distillery owners as they get started in the distilled spirits business. Their introductory courses don't just appeal to business owners, though, they also being utilize by the bourbon fans as well. The curriculum helps those interested in bourbon including a thorough analysis of the individual components of the distillate and the production process, as well as an examination of history, context, standards of identity and bourbon's relationship with other whiskeys. You can check out the courses offered via Moonshine University by clicking here!

. . . . . . . . . .

FarmHouse Fresh's Bourbon Body Scrub is a popular item for men and women in spas across the United States. Brown sugar and bourbon combine in this rich gingersnap and pecan scented fine body scrub. It leaves your skin feeling soft with no greasy residue. You can pick up a jar of the Bourbon Body Scrub by clicking here!

A Rare Eagle
Submitted by Suttree Stan

- 2 ounces stout beer
- 1 1/2 ounces Eagle Rare Bourbon
- Mix it
- Drink it

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ginger Julep
Submitted by Rebel Yell

- 2 ounces Rebel Yell Ginger Bourbon Whiskey
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 5 springs of fresh mint
- Muddle fresh mint at the bottom of a derby glass.
- Build the drink by adding crushed ice, simple syrup and ginger bourbon whiskey.
- Stir until very cold.
- Garnish with more fresh mint and serve.

Look at what showed up at B.Z. Headquarters:

Heritage Distilling Brown Sugar Bourbon
This actually caused us to have two questions:
1. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
2. More importantly, why did WE think of a bourbon infused with brown sugar?
This will be reviewed by a couple B.Z. reviewers in upcoming editions (hint, it's delicious). In the meantime, Steve Akley created a quick cocktail with it:

The Kodiak
- 1 1/2 ounces Heritage Distilling Brown Sugar Bourbon
- 5 ounces iced tea
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice
- Shake well
- Strain into a copper mug
- Top off mug with crushed ice
- Drizzle a small amount of honey across top of crushed ice

This one is nice and refreshing on a hot day.

News About Bourbon the B.Z. Team has Heard
With the popularity of bourbon at an all-time high, the rumor mill is probably also at an all-time high as well. So much so, Buffalo Trace recently released a statement which addresses some of the many rumors they have heard about their company and products. Here's a summary of what they said:

--The Elmer T. Lee and Weller 12 brands are not being discontinued. - There were rumors about Elmer T. Lee taking the secret mashbill to his grave and his heirs suing to discountinue production of Elmer T. Lee...all FALSE!
--Eagle Rare is not losing it's age statement. The 10 year age statement had been on the neck band on the front but will remain on the back. This isn't a transition like we have seen with other brands. Furthermore, Buffalo Trace has stated they are not removing the age statement from any of it's brands.
--Buffalo Trace brands have become hard to find because it's being shipped to China, Japan and other markets overseas. This is also false... mostly. A limited amount is sold internationally but the bulk of Buffalo Trace's products are still sold in the United States. The increasing popularity of the Buffalo Trace products means the company continues to allocate it's products to ensure all states get a share of what they are able to produce....

One thing Buffalo Trace is currently doing to meet the growing demand is to allocate 200 million dollars over the next seven years to expand operations. All of these dollars are going to operations to expand production and distribution...

Speaking of Buffalo Trace, they are known for their experimental releases. Tinkering with different mash formulas, non-traditional grains, different ways of aging their products, etc. It all began in 1984, under the tutelage and direction of legendary Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee (oh how we love Elmer T. Lee at Bourbon Zeppelin). Lee, along with then Distillery Supervisor Harlen Wheatley, turned the historic distillery into a science lab with their unique approaches to distilling. Fast forward to today, some 32 years later... Would you like to guess how many experiments now Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley has in the works?

Oh, we bet you would. To keep it a little fun, we have the answer at the bottom of this month's newsletter (right below Hasse Berg's column). Be sure to take a guess first before scrolling down!...

Journeyman Distillery has released the fourth batch of their Kissing Cousins brand which takes their Featherbone Bourbon and finishes it for six months n used wine barrels from Wyncroft Winery.


The Bourbon Virgin Tries...

Wild Turkey 101
(101 proof)

For my second taste test, I was given Wild Turkey 101. I had been pumping myself up all week for this go-around and felt like this was going to be it; the moment I say goodbye to my college drinking habits and hello to adulthood. I had a perfect setting; beautiful 75-degree weather, nice comfy chair on the deck, and good company. I even busted out an old bar cup I had that helped make the drink look fancy and mature. I put some ice in it, swirled it around a bit, and sat back in my chair. And boy, not even seconds after the first sip of the turkey syrup, I shot up straight in my chair!


Well. I’ve decided I don't think I'm quite ready to let go of my Bud Light and cherry bombs. Maybe there can be a cherry bourbon made? Maybe there already is? I wouldn’t have a clue, I’m the virgin here lol! Wild Turkey tastes like someone took a turkey, ran it over with big truck tires like 20 times, soaked it in gasoline and then squeezed it like an orange to get all the liquid out. Maybe not the best description, so let’s just say it tastes like death.


The fun thing about drinking it is, I think if I had a flame I could barely breathe on it and I'd have an amazing blow torch. Yes! I’d walk around the neighborhood asking people if they would like me to start up their grills or bonfires!


The positive thing about drinking bourbon is it definitely won't take me much to get a pretty damn good buzz! Another positive to this evening’s taste test, is I had a nice, cold Bud Light to chase it down with.

And, yet another positive, I actually took five swigs of the drink compared to my one from the first taste test. See! Progression!

About The Bourbon Virgin
Amanda Hoppes, the Bourbon Virgin, is a poet/author from Iowa (she has never lived on a farm, owned a cow, nor does she constantly have one of those long pieces of straw hanging from her mouth). With the exception of some experimentation in college with Jim Beam, Amanda's drinking has pretty much kept to Bud Light and cherry bombs. Bourbon Zeppelin is going to try to redefine her palate by introducing her to bourbon. We'll see what happens each month as she tries something new! Follow her on Instagram (@abhoppes) and Twitter (@shehoppes). Her book of poetry, From Midnight to Moonlight, is available on Amazon by clicking here!

By Hasse Berg

Everyone who knows me has very often here me complaining about the bourbon selection and the high prices in Denmark. Statements like; “The bourbon hunt sucks big time in the rotten State of Denmark” or “Damn those stealing bastards over at the customs service,” are phrases that you are all getting familiar with from me.

But how bad is it really?

If you take all things into consideration, I’m already pumped up and angry as hell... ready to write "REALLY EFFING BAD." But, let me calm down, and we'll take a look at it in a sober gentleman’s perspective, shall we buddy? Take a deep breath. That’s more like it laddy!

From my perspective, being the bourbon addictive maniac as I am, I am not on top of its game compared to the American standard. But then again, off course it isn’t. Do I really think that tiny inconsiderable Denmark with a population at 5.7 millions people can make so much noise that the bourbon producing country itself, would go on a branding spree, getting the good citizens in Denmark to open there eyes for bourbon and actually starting buying it so the selection would expand?

I really don’t think so! But... maybe they should. Because I have been doing something that I really despise and that my dear reader is… drum roll please … I have been looking a statistics. That’s right! That’s just the great guy I am. Boring? Hell, yeah! But my mom always told me, no half measures son! So please go and blame my mother and not me. By the way if you want to file a complaint, her email address can be found in the bottom of this article. The recent statistics shows that the Danes, on a yearly basic consume 45 million liters of alcohol. That’s 11,000,000 gallons to you sir... and they imported 3,000,000 gallons alcohol last year alone and the interesting part is that 21% of that number was whisky, which makes whisky the Danes preferred alcoholic beverage. We actually like whisky so much, that some of the biggest Scotch distilleries are making limited edition bottles, strictly for the Danish whisky drinkers.

Are you paying attention here Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill and all your brothers and sisters in the bourbon distilling business? That was whisky without an E. Don’t you want in on some of that action? Mr. Barack Obama has spoken of the Danes as being an American ally and shook hands with our prime minister. I know that our guy looks like a drunken lacy pitbull, which he is. Still, I’m pretty sure, if you want to take on Denmark that you are able to cut a deal with him, so you don’t have to pay the Danish taxes. Hell, I mean if McDonald's and Coca-Cola can get a tax free stay in Denmark, you should definitely have the same privilege.

All in all, if I have to find some light in the darkness, bourbon has actually doubled in sales last year. There isn’t any statistics saying how many bottles of bourbon was sold in Denmark, but the text states; The American whiskey has doubled rather moderate sales numbers in Denmark. Well, Hallelujah Bourbon Jesus, that sure sounds mighty great. Then, I just have to wait 10 – 15 years and by that time, if we are lucky, we will start seeing a wider selection of the limited releases, BIB, small batch and barrel proof offerings coming into Denmark. At that point, maybe if the bourbon gods are willing, we will once again see some bottles from Buffalo Antique collection or one of the Pappy Van Winkle releases actually in a whiskey store. Right now, the few bottles that are coming in every year, go straight to the whiskey bars. So it’s not a matter of luck or money, buying some of those, is simply impossible.

So, I think that I have made my point pretty clear. Bourbon is in general hard to find on Danish soil. Denmark is a scotch drinking nation when it comes to whisky. The demand for bourbon is limited, and so is the selection. The standard Jim Beam and Jack D. is sold everywhere, but if you are looking for something more, you are bound to go hunting. My hometown is among the 10 largest cities in Denmark. Number 6 actually, with 61.000 people living here. If I was to go out and buy all the different bourbons my town has to offer, let’s say if I’m lucky, I’m able to find 10 or 12 different ones. If you order the bourbon straight from the Danish whisky importers, the selections expands. Which means that almost all the bourbons I am buying are special ordered. These come from either from online whisky stores or from my allied friends in Holland. Which again means, that I, in general, have to pay around 16 – 23 USD alone to cover the shipping fee. So you might ask yourself, "Are there any benefits to hunting bourbon in Denmark?"

There actually are, thank you very much for asking. Over the years, I have manage to score some pretty sweet bottles at retail prices that I bet the Americans often would have to pay a lot of money to secure. But then again, the Danish retail prices are much higher than the Americans because of our tax system. So there’s that!  But how can this be? There’s actually a pretty simple answer to that one. A lot of Danish whisky stores have tried their luck selling bourbon and they brought a wide selection, and the better part of these bottles has (maybe except for stores located in the two largest cities) just been sitting on the shelves. So, discontinued bottles that almost certainly would have been sold out in America, has just been waiting for their new owner and that’s where I come into the picture. Shouting it out to the world , though, would probably make it go right down the drain as well. So let's keep that our little secret. 

(Editor's Note: See Hasse Berg's World at the bottom this publication. Hasse shares the tale of chasing down some really rare bourbon in Denmark.)

Let’s take a look at what I am able to scrape up, from this drained bourbon town of mine.

Let’s get our shopping tour planed out for the day:

We have 4 stores in my home town Randers that specialize in wine and alcohol. (One of them is an online based store, but you are able to pay them a visit as well). But I think that I would visit them, last on my tour de bourbon, because I am most lightly to score there, Right?

So let’s hit the supermarkets, shall we?

Okay! Here’s the deal as it went down. After paying a visit to 11 different supermarket chains in my town, if I’m not mistaken, there are a total of 14 different ones in Denmark. I was able to find a variation of Jim Beam’s different labels and Jack Daniels Old no. 7, not included Beam produced bourbons under other names and the Bulleit Bourbon NAS Bottle. And that’s it folks! Except for one supermarket that stood out of the crowd. To my surprise they where holding: Knob Creek Single Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel, Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Rittenhouse Rye, Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 years old and Bulleit Bourbon.

What was going on here? Compared to the other supermarkets, I had paid a visited, this was actually not a bad selection. I needed some kind of explanations to this strange phenomenon, so I asked if I could speak to the manager. A very sweet lady approached me and I started to fire away. The manager was able, in very few words, to bring me up to speed. No, they almost didn’t sell any bourbon and if there customers where buying, the bought Jack Daniels Old no. 7 and Jim Beam White Label. But the store is located next to our towns biggest concert hall and they where brining in bands from America. “Can you see where this is going?” The concert hall had made a deal with the supermarket, to supply them with bourbon, whenever they needed it for their bands. “Right! Thank you so much for your time ma’am”. “Steve Akley sends his love”. Who? “Never mind dear!”  

I pulled out my car from the parking lot and headed downtown.

The first store I visited are specializing in wines, but they also have a small, but solid selection of Scotch, Irish and Japanese Whisky. The real question was, where they going to have any bourbon or maybe some rye? Yes, there were two bottles! No that wasn’t a typo. You read it correct. Two bottles, as in 2.  No Jack… no Jim, but Benchmark Old no. 8 and Bulleit.

What is up with Bulleit Bourbon anyway? It seems wherever I turn, there’s a Bulleit waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. I only had one question to the store owner. How many bourbons do you sell per year? “To tell you the truth, I really can’t sell any bourbon, except to you” she replied with a smile. “If you really want to know, I would say around 2 or 3 a year and that’s why I only have 2 bottles left”. “When they are gone, I’m not getting any new ones”.

To anyone who is interested, I visited one more store. To cut things short, this was their selection: Blanton’s Original Single Barrel. Eagle Rare 10. E.H. Taylor. Single Barrel. E.H Taylor. Small Batch.  

Returning to my house in a very bad mood, I decided to completely ruin my day, by looking up what the web based store had to offer. Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Knob Creek 9 years, Makers Mark and Benchmark.

So there you have it!

This isn’t in any ways a scientific elucidation and shouldn’t be taken as such and I know by fact, that the bourbon selection is better in some Danish city’s and definitely worse in others. I think that we manage to establish some kind of picture of the currently Danish bourbon situation.


To anyone, who gets a kick out of comparing prices, here’s an average retail pricelist in USD of the bourbons that Hasse manage to track down: Benchmark Old No. 8. ($38) Blanton’s Single Barrel. ($70) Buffalo Trace ($51) Bulleit Bourbon. ($40) Eagle Rare 10. ($68) E.H. Taylor. Single Barrel. ($137) E.H. Taylor. Small Batch. ($121) Four Roses. Single Barrel. ($55) Jack Daniels Old No. 7. ($36) Jack Daniels Single Barrel. ($64) Jim Beam Signatory Craft 12 Years. ($56) Jim Beam White Label. ($27) Knob Creek Single Barrel. ($64) Maker’s Mark. ($38) Rittenhouse Rye. ($53)


The Bourbon Scene In... is a regular feature in Bourbon Zeppelin designed to be an interactive piece featuring B.Z. staff and fans sharing what the bourbon scene is like in his or her city. You are encouraged to share a firsthand account and photos of all things bourbon in your hometown. If you would like to share what your local bourbon scene is like, please reach out to the BZ team by clicking here!
Silverback Distillery Looks to Bourbon Zeppelin for Whiskey Review #1
Silverback Distillery, out of Afton, Virginia, recently released Blackback Rye Whiskey, the first aged spirit from the company. Silverback owner Christine Riggleman sent Bourbon Zeppelin Editor-in-Chief Steve Akley a bottle from batch #1. In her shipment to BZ, she requested Steve personally review her new whiskey. With this being Silverback's first whiskey they are selling, it also mean BZ is the first entity to ever review an aged product from their organization.

We will have this product featured in a Imbiber Cake column soon, but Steve didn't want to miss this unique opportunity to be the first to review their whiskey.

Below is a look at what Steve had to say about Blackback Rye Whiskey from Silverback Distillery.

Steve's Tasting Notes:
First of all, the packaging is something to behold. This bottle is a piece of art with a great design to the label, a uniquely shaped bottle and a cork sealed in wax. What really makes this particular one extra special is the fact Christine has signed it on the front and the back has the coveted "Batch 1" designation (bottle #148 if you are interested).

Left to right: 1). The bottle  2). Christine's signature on the front  3). The handwritten batch 1 on the back!

The nose gives you all butter and caramel. The initial sip is a buttery toffee candy with hints of vanilla. You get some light oak on the finish with an incredible taste of baked pastry and a hint of orange. At 86 proof, the burn is light, but lingering and satisfying.

This is solid first entry into the whiskey market by Christine Riggleman and the Silverback team. Blackback Rye Whiskey is a product I will actively seek out to have on hand in my whiskey bunker. This makes me and the rest of the B.Z. crew positively giddy thinking about what's to come when Christine's bourbon is ready to hit the market!

Congrats to Christine Riggleman and the team at Silverback. Most of all...

Steve new favorite rocks glass
Cadée Bourbon
85 proof
Isle of Whidbey 
Color: Deep copper
Nose: Sweet port wine, cedar plank
Taste: Caramel corns, bananas foster, raisins, 
Finish: Butterscotch, peppered and peaty. I'd refer to it as extremely smooth scotch whiskey with a lingering peat finish. . . but legally I can't.

Cadée Deceptivus Bourbon
88 proof
Isle of Whidbey
Color: Light Amber
Nose: Oak,vanilla with a hint of charcoal
Taste:  Honey, banana cream pie
Finish: Hazelnuts with a hint of pepper. A decent sipping whiskey.
About Imbiber Cake
Imbiber Cake has been designed to help you select a bourbon based on flavor profile. The column is written by Mark "Cake" Hansen, a childhood friend of Steve Akley. Cake is not only blessed with a sophisticated taste palate, he combines it with a keen ability to convey those tastes with words. In his personal life, he puts these abilities to work brewing beer. Additionally, he is a graphic artist by trade and deisgns most of the artwork in Bourbon Zeppelin. You can reach Cake via email by clicking here.
WHOAAAA, We're They Reading Our Minds?
After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Branded Spirits Limited has launched Ol' Major Bacon Flavored Bourbon. We've been dreaming of this pairing for years, now it's here.

The team at Ol' Major has promised a bottle of Ol' Major for the B.Z. team so we can sample and review it. We look forward to reporting on whether or not it lives up to everything we imagine it could be in an upcoming issue. Until then, if you would like to know more about Ol' Major and their Bacon Bourbon, just
click here!
The crew at Bourbon Zeppelin likes to have fun. The only thing we are serious about is delivering a quality bourbon-focused publication to our readers. Of course, when you are putting together such an awesome publication you want people to see it. With this in mind, we've come up with a reward for those who help us in spreading the word about the newsletter written by bourbon fans for bourbon fans. For those who are willing to make a social media post letting their followers know a new issue is out on the first of every month, we are offering the following sticker:
Getting your very own B.Z. Brand Ambassador sticker is easy. Just drop us a line by clicking here and giving us your address. We'll get a sticker sent your way along with a letter that includes your unique Brand Ambassador number. All we are requesting of our BZ Ambassadors is to follow Steve Akley on social media. He will send out a reminder when each issue comes as well as a link to it (Twitter & Instagram @steveakley & Bourbon Zeppelin on Facebook). If you could then notify your followers of a new issue that would be awesome!

In addition to our request to post each time BZ gets published, we've got a summer challenge for our Bourbon Zeppelin Ambassadors we would like to extend to all BZ readers. We simply want a photo of the Bourbon Zeppelin logo in cool places. Here's a look at exactly how to participate:


1). Take a photo of your sticker or the Bourbon Zeppelin logo in a cool place, or you can request a copy of the BZ logo from Steve by clicking here that you can print and use.

2). Start your social media post with the sentence; The Bourbon Zeppelin has been spotted in…


3). Tell us your location and a little about what we are seeing.


4). Tag  @steveakley and @hasse_berg on Instagram (just Steve for Twitter)


5). Hashtag #BourbonZeppelinSpottedIn #BourbonMagazine #BourbonZeppelin

Limit one sticker per household please. Offer is good while supplies last.

This Month Aaron Reviews:
Knob Creek Single Barrel
There I was, standing in my basement, looking at all the bottles I have collected over the years, wondering, “Which one do I pick”?
This is my first review for the “Bourbon Zeppelin” - “Which bottle is worthy”?  Two simple questions, right? 
No, not when you are writing for a giant group of bourbon lovers.
Then I started thinking of all the people who will be reading this review, and I started to get excited.  If there are two things I really enjoy, they would be drinking bourbon and talking of bourbon with other enthusiasts.  My decision was made clear.
My first review for the BZ should be one of my favorite bourbons.  With this in mind, I eye the shelf that has seven open Knob Creek barrel selections, and grab the bottle of the best Knob Creek single barrel I have ever tasted.
This is not your standard Knob Creek single barrel, as this bottle has a 13 year age statement on it, and is bottled at 120 proof.
This bottle is - by far - the best bottle of bourbon I have tried this year. So you better believe this makes the cut for my first BZ review.
Here is a little info about this bottle: 
It is a Knob Creek single barrel, the barrel selection is from Jamie Farris and the Lincoln Road Packaging Store.  The age on this beauty is 13 years, and bottled non-chill filtered at 120 proof.  This bottle is packed with so much depth and flavor.
When I sit down to write a review, the first thing I do - after pouring, of course - is check out the color and legs of the bourbon.
This Knob is a deep-darkened amber, and the bourbon is very oily; it reminds me of dark maple syrup. 
Next comes the nose - “amazing” is the only word that comes to mind. Sweet caramel, vanilla pudding, and heavy on the oak.  There is also honey, cinnamon, and hints of tobacco. 
After the nose comes the best part… Tasting!
The palate is thick and oily, with an explosion of flavor. Up front, it’s sweet candy-corn and maple syrup, followed by peanut brittle, orange zest, dry rye spice, and a lot of oak.  This bourbon is perfectly harmonious.
Lastly is the finish - and, wow, what a finish.  I was tasting peanuts and caramel-corn for hours. It is long and hot, and tastes of peanuts, caramel, buttered popcorn, and toasted oak.

My rating: 95/100.
Big thanks to Steve for letting me write single barrel reviews for you. 
About Aaron Cave
Aaron Cave is a bourbon enthusiast from Columbus, Ohio. Living just a short drive from the Bourbon Trail, Aaron enjoys keeping up with the latest in the bourbon world. He recently made a dream come true by spending a day at Four Roses helping with barrel selection and getting to sample bourbon straight from the barrel. Aaron is a regular member of the Instagram bourbon crew where he enjoys talking bourbon and sharing photos. You can follow him on Instagram (@acave0324) or Twitter (@AaronRocky0324).
Four Roses Bourbon Announces
Elliott's Select Limited Edition Single Barrel

Bottling is master distiller's first solo release
Four Roses Bourbon will release Elliott’s Select, a limited-quantity Single Barrel Bourbon, in June. This barrel-strength Bourbon will be Brent Elliott’s first limited edition release as master distiller.
Brent Elliott, who assumed the post of master distiller in September 2015, personally hand-selected the 14-year-old OESK, one of the Distillery’s 10 unique Bourbon recipes.
Subtle aromas of peach jam, magnolia blossoms and light oak preview the elegantly-balanced flavors of spiced vanilla, fresh nutmeg and delicate, ripe fruits. Sweet flavors of honey and light apricot linger in the finish. Its mellow character from beginning to end is very much a reflection of Elliott himself.
“I’ve always been happiest when I’m so deep into a project that I lose track of time, and that’s exactly what happened when we began the process of selecting barrels for Elliott’s Select,” Elliott said. “There’s something unique about this 14-year-old Bourbon, and now that it has been bottled, I’m looking forward to taking a step back and hearing what our fans think.”
Formerly serving as the Distillery’s director of quality, Elliott’s decade of experience with Four Roses includes everything from applying his chemistry degree to evaluate Bourbons in the tasting lab, to taking part in the selection of barrels for Single Barrel bottlings and limited edition products. Elliott continues to serve as the brand’s director of quality, while also managing his duties as master distiller.
“Being master distiller is something I’ve found difficult to call a job because it’s a privilege and my passion,” said Elliott. “My focus continues to be what got me where I am, and what got the Four Roses brand where it is today, and that’s quality.”
Four Roses will produce and distribute approximately 8,000 hand-numbered bottles of Elliott’s Select in the United States, which are expected to hit retail outlets in June. Elliott’s Select will retail for roughly $125 per bottle.
Four Roses Bourbon will celebrate the release of Elliott’s Select with a series of events throughout the month of June, many coinciding with Kentucky Bourbon Affair in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I’m very proud of this special bottling, and I’m looking forward to sampling the product as I meet with Bourbon fans at various events this summer,” said Elliott.
Is There A Difference in These Three Bottles?
With Booker's now having a "batch" approach to its releases (Bluegrass, Maw Maws and Noe Secret pictured above), it begs the question of, "is there a difference in these releases or is this just marketing hype?"

In the spirit special investigative reporting in this issue, the Bourbon Zeppelin team decided to get to the bottom of this question. Over the next three months, these three batches of Booker's will be rated in the Steve + 4 Reviews section. We'll see how closely they score to one another and determine if it's worth seeking out certain batches over the others when shopping.

One thing we know going into this project... we love Booker's. Let's just find out what's going on with one of our favorite brands.
Deceptivus Bourbon by Cadée Distillery

Reviewed by: Elizabeh Jones

A bourbon for the brandy drinker, this smooth sipper oozes sweetness, with prominent notes of dry red wine, leather, maple syrup and black pepper spice.
The philosophy of  the Bourbon Zeppelin team is to offer a variety of different types of ways to evaluate products submitted by distillers for review. The one sentence review represents one of the many types o reviews you will find in B.Z.

The future of bourbon by BourbonBrotha - News about the bourbon industry before the industry even knows it! 

Mashbills are an important subject for any bourbon connoisseur. Typically, a bourbon mashbill has corn, rye or wheat and malted barley. The malted barley provides the sugars needed by the yeast to ferment the mash. Without getting too technical, let's say malting is partially germination of a seed and halting it to make it good yeast food. 

So let's talk mashbills gone wild! 

That's right buddies, I'm talking about the endless possibilities that are not being explored but will be in the future. Let's go where no bourbon has been malted before. Yes, yes, yes, malting other grains besides barley. 

Say what BB? 

You heard me I said it and I meant it. You can malt other grains. You can partially germinate many grains to use them as food for yeast. I'm going to pause and let your brain handle that...

Okay back at it again...

Malting other grains is a game changer for mashbills but it will be hard. Barley is preferred because it can be malted without mold or loss of structure. Other grains are not so amenable to malting but oats, rice, wheat and rye can all be malted. So imagine this a truelly wheated bourbon that has two grains in the mashbill corn and wheat with part of the wheat malted. Or a half corn half rye bourbon with malted rye. Did you hear that? 

That sound was your mind being blown away. 

The future looks bright Malt Mates!


About BourbonBrotha
Jerome Faulkner, aka BourbonBrotha, or BB for short, is an active member of the bourbon community on Instagram (@bourbonbrotha). He resides in Newark, Delaware, where he lives with his wife and two children. BB jokes he has lifetime "nerd status" based on his background in chemistry and his PhD in Plant Pathology. While he isn't actively working in the lab anymore, he still puts his background to use evaluating corn, rye and barley... the base ingredients for bourbon!

Bourbon Zeppelin Fans and Staff Members Share the Stories of their Current Favorite Bottle of Bourbon

This Month, BZ Reader Matt Walker Talks About:
Rock Hill Farm Single Barrel

I don't know about you guys, but I go through phases in my bourbon endeavors where I really get into a bottle (or a limited few) for some time. So one of the hardest questions for me to answer is "What is you're favorite bottle of bourbon?". I usually try to spare that person the 20 questions game and pick one, when I really want to start with "Well that all depends..." Considering my bourbon mood swings, that seem comparable to a teenager during puberty, I'm going to share with you what my favorite bottle is (right now) and tell you why exactly I think it's the bees knees.

Here it goes... Lately I'm really jonesing on my bottle of Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel. Named for the home of former Buffalo Trace president Albert Blanton, this bottle has been around since 1990. It's a shame it was only recently that I fell in love with it.
So why this bottle?
First, I recently acquired a back-up bottle (or two) which always makes my drinking more enjoyable. Something about drinking a bottle to its untimely demise gives me anxiety. Then there is the amazing looking bottle that I'm tempted to rip the label off of and use as a poor man's decanter when it's empty, and the juice inside is amazing too! It shares Buffalo Trace's high-rye Mash Bill #2 with the likes of Elmer T. Lee and Blanton's. Where I think it speaks to me is the slightly higher ABV bottled at 100 proof and it drinks like it's been aged slightly longer than its mash bill cousins. Though it's a NAS release, rumor has it around 8 years in the barrel. 
In the glass it has a beautiful amber color to it that is even more evident in the bottle. Everytime I take a nose full, it reminds me of Lindts Intense Orange Dark Chocolate (another love of mine, and now I think I know my next dessert pairing), but you definitely know you're about to take on a 100 proof pour. On the sip it's smooth on the front but ends with a grainy texture like fresh brewed tea, it's a dry sip. The finish is longer than most bourbons, which I love. I'm often sipping with my scotch-loving better half. So a bourbon that can linger is helpful so I can maintain a similar pace. The burn is mid-palate but not overbearing. It's actually quite enjoyable and adds to the finish.
So that's it! My favorite bottle (right now) is a beautifully bottled, 100 proof single barrel, that reminds me of orange zested chocolate, and has an amazingly long finish like a scotch.
Might be another story next time, but until then...
Matt Walker
Instagram: @walkerincharleston
Special thanks to Bourbon Zeppelin reader Matt Walker who responded to Steve's request on Instagram to kick off this new feature. This is exactly what we want to do with this publication. We want it to be a forum for fellow bourbon fans to simply talk whiskey. Thanks again for Andrew for helping make this happen. What's your favorite bottle right now? Please reach out and tell us so we can feature you in a future edition.
Click here to tell us about your favorite bottle!
The Review
Flavored bourbons can scare away some fans. In some cases, the flavor is artificial tasting, it is so powerful it is overwhelming or the undertone to what you are tasting is, "they are trying to mask some really bad bourbon."

Rest assured, the Rebel Yell team falls victim to none of the above pitfalls. The ginger taste is subtle and not overly sweet. You pick up a nice little sting and the entire experience is thoroughly enjoyable. This one is so good it's not like you are saying, "It's good, but I could only drink one of those"... this one has it so right you could enjoy several of these while going about your normal bourbon drinking routine!
The verdict on this AWESOME offering...
About The Awesome Meter
A lot of bourbon passes through Bourbon Zeppelin Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Since we are bourbon lovers, we recognize a lot of it is really great and clearly we enjoy having it in our respective collections. Still, there are times when a tasting reveals an offering with something a little more to offer. One that extends the charts beyond great and into "awesomeness"... hence, the development of the Awesome Meter.

The Awesome Meter rates only the bourbons deemed by the B.Z. crew to be "AWESOME!" Let's be clear, once a bourbon makes the list here, the staff has already acknowledged this product is on your must have list... after all, it has already been declared "awesome." Still, there is this idea of delving a little deeper so the Awesome Meter uses the following scale to see just how awesome, "Awesome" really is!





Wyoming Whiskey Announces Private Stock Barrel Program for Retailers/Restaurants
Retailers and restaurants have the ability to hand select barrels of Wyoming Whiskey that meet their specific flavor profiles they are seeking and then purchase all of the stock from their selected barrel. Head Distiller Sam Mead and whiskey connoisseur Nancy Fraley consult with potential customers to find out exactly what they are looking for in their bourbon.

Five 100ml samples from different barrels matching specifics provided by the customer are then provided for the customer to select their whiskey. The customer can even choose the proof with the options ranging from 92 - 97. Each barrel yields 34 - 38 cases depending on the proof selected. These bottles are all customized as they are labeled with the customer's name on it.

Is anyone else thinking what we are thinking?
Join an Instagram Revolution
"Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars."
-J.R.R. Tolkien
Steve Akley has been trying for a while to get the "Moon" filter to the official filter of a fairly typical photo most bourbon fans share on Instagram: a shot of their empty bottle. Commonly known as the "man down" photo, these pics celebrate the joy of that first drink from that bottle, the happiness of an old favorite or new gem. "We take them because it remembers the old, while celebrating the new opportunities in front of us as we ponder what to put in it's place in our bourbon bunkers," notes Steve.

He continues, "I've always enjoyed the Moon filter because it has a look of the 'lack of life' to it. It conveys the concept of an empty bottle with it's lack of color. I also like the idea of being able to quickly look at someone's gallery and see those man down pictures instantly."
An example of the use of the Moon filter. Normal on the left, Moon on the right.
When Steve (@steveakley) got the Bearded Sipper (@beardedsipper1976) to join him, the phenomenon of the Moon filter for "man down" photos began to pick up some steam. Hasse Berg (@hasse_berg) jumpd in next and when the Bearded Sipper added the hashtag #UnderTheMoon to the mix, the revolution was well under way.

Join the Bourbon Zeppelin team on Instagram by using the Moon filter for all of your empty bottle bourbon photos! Use the hashtag #UnderTheMoon so we can see who has joined us.
Show Me the Proof: The Rise of the Cask Strength Bourbon
Here’s a test for you: ask a fellow bourbon aficionado about their favorite kind of dram.  First, buckle your seatbelt; those of us in the bourbon-sipping community are usually quite fond of talking about our favorite spirits. They might rave about the spicy fire of high-rye mashbills, speak reverently about the smooth qualities of wheated bourbons, or fondly reminisce over that one perfect single barrel that they sipped long ago.  However, chances are, especially if you’re like me, they might start gushing about something that seems to be all over the liquor store shelves recently: the cask-strength bourbon.

But first, a definition.  Cask-strength, barrel-proof, uncut; all of these are the hot buzzwords that seem to be adorning more and more bourbon labels lately. So what do they all mean?  Essentially, an absence of water; cask-strength whiskies have come straight out of a barrel without any dilution to reduce them down to a specific proof.  By law, bourbon can’t enter a barrel at any higher than 125 proof, but thanks to evaporation over time, the proof on a bourbon can and will rise; depending on the proof it was when it entered the barrel, the size of the barrel, and the amount of time that barrel has aged, that increase in proof can be substantial.  After barrels are dumped, most bourbons are “cut down” with water to get them to lower proofs, typically between the 80-100 proof range.  Not so for the cask-strength bourbon. There’s a reason some of the bottles are affectionately referred to as “Hazmat.” Proofs can range anywhere from 105-140, respectively.

What this means for bourbon consumers is an availability of whiskey that is instantly customizable. If the run-of-the-mill, pre-diluted 80 proof bourbons on the market are starting to taste a bit watery, consider a cask-strength; they’re easily proofed down to taste preference with a few drops. After all, you can always add water to a bourbon, but it’s a bit trickier to take it back out.  Not to mention, cask-strength bourbons are chock-full of unadulterated barrel flavor.  As research is showing, the drinking populace is more interested in quality over quantity, a trend that has allowed for innovative craft distilleries to flourish and the bigger established distilleries to become more selective in their offerings.  Consumers want complex flavor profiles, and cask-strength bourbon delivers.

The first mass-produced cask-strength bourbon on the market was Booker’s, which made its debut in 1992.  Other brands have followed suit, including notable labels such as Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof, William LaRue Weller, Stagg Jr., Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, and Redemption Rye.  There are a few recent notables as well. Both Elijah Craig and Angel’s Envy have released cask-strength editions since 2013; Angel’s Envy does yearly releases, while Elijah Craig has had eleven different bottlings in the past three years, all with proofs between 128 -140.2. Four Roses has jumped on the train of the cask-strength as well, and has recently started releasing limited edition “barrel strength” offerings, including private barrel picks and their newest, Elliott’s Select, a single barrel bottled at 116.8 proof that was released in late June of this year. Maker’s Mark has also found new revival to their lineup thanks to their Cask Strength edition that was released in 2014.  Bottles range in proof from 108-114. Following the success of their Cask Strength release, Maker’s Mark has also produced distillery-exclusive bottles of a cask-strength Maker’s 46.

So if a bourbon with a higher proof catches your eye, don’t be intimidated by its alcohol percentage. Pick it up and pour a dram. If you’re able, compare it to a lower-proofed twin (for example, Maker’s Mark versus Maker’s Mark Cask Strength).  Examine the differences in flavor and play with the addition of water (I recommend with a straw or dropper).  Take on the persona of a master blender; they’re drinking cask strength whiskey when they sample it out of the barrel.

But above all, enjoy it. It is bourbon, after all.
About Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Jones is the field reporter for Bourbon Zeppelin. As such, she brings firsthand accounts of bourbon topics and events, research pieces and personal narratives. In her personal life, she is a distillery worker and bourbon fanatic. She currently lives in the U.S. with her husband and dog-child. She has a tendency to take her work home with her, as her main hobbies are drinking whiskey, reading about whiskey, and following whiskey trends on social media.
Husband and wife team Kate and Kris Kettner answer your bourbon questions!
What drives you crazy about bourbon?
- Jim R., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
As with any great love in life (a hobby, a career, your wife Kate, etc.) there are always going to be aspects of it/her that drive you insane. For bourbon, two things immediately come to mind: marketing and the secondary market. We’ll start with marketing first. Marketing, for the most part, consists of finding the most creative ways to stretch the truth as thin as it will possibly go. Having said this, I am not in any way trying to wage a war against marketers, I know some that I like very much, and the job seems fun in a lot of ways, but the bourbon marketing culture has gotten completely out of hand. Did you buy up some over-aged bourbon far past its prime and now you need a way to make a bunch of monies? Well then say you “found it” in the back of some rick house where people magically forgot ENTIRE FREAKING BARRELS OF BOURBON were just hanging out. Did you have an earthquake? Well, by God, I bet those “micro-vibrations” made science happen in that subpar stuff you had aging so now you can charge double for it!

That’s marketing folks, and it’s just plain infuriating. 

The secondary Mmrket is very much driven by our old friend marketing. Anything that is stated to be “rare” or “allocated” immediately earns a mob of people looking for it so they can buy as much as possible and flip it for a quick buck. Some of us just want to drink the stuff and don’t want to pay $400 for a bottle that was on the shelf a week ago for $70. So for all of you flippers out there, don’t be a dick, let the people that actually value what’s IN the bottle drink some of it instead of trying to screw us by jacking up the price 5-fold so you can afford those fancy looky jeans with all the rhinestones on the pockets. Those jeans make you look like an idiot, and they make your ass look fat. 

Thanks to Jim R. for the question. We've got a B.Z. pen on the way to you for asking!
About Kate and Kris Kettner
Kate and Kris Kettner are bourbon and beer bloggers from Edmond, Oklahoma. Together with friend Justin Sowers, they run the blog Barrels and Mash. They both can be found regularly hanging out in the virtual world of Instagram (Kate = @katekettner and Kris = @barrelsandmash)

Check out Kate and Kris' blog here!
The Bourbon Zeppelin team has an awesome deal for you to participate in our Ask Kate and Kris segment. If you question is featured in an issue (Kate and Kris select them without knowing who submitted the questions), we'll send you this awesome Bourbon Zeppelin pen complete with a stylus. This smooth writing gem will be sure to impress your bourbon lovin' buddies. There is no catch here. If your question is used in an issue of B.Z. we'll send you this pen completely free of charge. So... what are you waiting for? Ask your question today!
Because as cool as distillery tours are, behind the scenes is even cooler!
Here's the crew at Three Boys Farm Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Under the name Bourbon 30, this team makes three products: a black label small batch which is a cask strength, a blue label 90 proof and a gold label Rye Whiskey, which is also a single barrel cask strength.

The Bourbon Zeppelin crew wants to adopt that dog for our headquarters!
It's Bourbon Zeppelin PSA Time!

Because the more you know, the more you enjoy bourbon!
About Evan Haskill
Evan Haskill is a lover of good bourbon and craft beer as well as the owner of the blog The Bourbon Guy and Rye. He can be found on Instagram (@evanhaskill) or Untappd (@bourbon_neat84).

Check out Evan's blog here!
Bourbon Fans Select Their Four Favorite Bourbons
Favorite is a "subjective" term, but you get to personally define what it means to you with this interactive B.Z. poll. We're asking fans to create a Mount Rushmore of bourbon by naming their four favorite bourbons. We'll take a look at all entries and the four voted for the most will become the official Bourbon Zeppelin Mount Rushmore of Bourbon! Mark Hansen, our on-staff graphic artist, will draw our winning four bourbons in the August issue of Bourbon Zeppein.

Participation is easy, just send a quick email with your four selections to the B.Z. team by clicking here*.

*We will be collectiing submissions for one week (through July 7). Please be specific to help us get it right (example, Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old instead of just Pappy Van Winkle).
Win A Handcrafted Pair of Earrings
We've got a fun one for you this month. A pair of Alltech Lexington Rye Barrel IPA earrings handmade by Ashley Ommen. Ashley definitely turns trash into treasure with these recycled beer cap earrings. You can win them for free simply by clicking here to join this month's contest!
Ashley's four step process is shown on the left. She flattens the cap, crimps the cap, adds wire to hold the actual earring portion together and finally the ear hook is added. (Note: Step 1A...drinking the beer is not depicted). You can visit the UpcycledAshley Esty shop by clicking here!
Contest Rules (the small print)
1. Winner must be at least 21 years of age
2. Limit of one entry per household
3. All entries must be completed by sending an email by clicking here!
4. Prize package will only be shipped to a U.S. address.
5. All entries are due by midnight Central time on the 7th of the month.
6. Winner will be notified via email and sent via USPS.
7. There are no fees associated with the contest. Entry is free. The items won are free and shipping is free.
8. All entrants will be signed up for Bourbon Zeppelin so all future editions get delivered directly to his or her email.

Cask strength congrats go out to Rebecca Fitzgerald of Monroe, Virginia. Rebecca is the winner of the Bourbon Zeppelin glencairn glass in last month's contest. Way to go Rebecca!
First of all, congratulations to Steve and the entire Bourbon Zeppelin team for the launch of this kick a** newsletter and thank you for having me as a part of it. Second of all, if you think I’m going to tell you to go to “Big Rick’s Beverage Warehouse”, ask for John, tell him you want the number 54 special, and you will be guided to the Pappy mecca…stop reading here!

I have had a lot of success in my bourbon hunts and it has taken a lot of time, money, and failure to figure it all out. In this monthly column I will share tips, tricks, and stories from my endeavors that will hopefully help you find similar success in your hunt! Each column will break down one major part of hunting and, when put together, they will make you a fine tuned Bourbon hunting machine!

For my inaugural issue I’m going to discuss knowing your audience and how each handles distribution.  Whether it is ABC, Beverage Warehouses, local “mom and pop” stores, 3 buddies and booze, or whatever, each store will have different ways of distributing “the good stuff”.  The difficult part is finding out how without coming across as a Pappy happy tool.

The easiest to figure out will be your ABC stores. These are all governed by the state and it is acceptable in almost all cases to simply approach the counter and ask. Most ABC programs don’t give preference so they will let you know what to do and you can move on. Make sure you read the fine print on the forms that they have to enter the lottery.  Most will only accept in state IDs for pickup! Other ABC stores will simply say when it’s here, it’s here. Great!  Ask what their truck schedule is and if it will be first come first serve or if they choose customers based on frequency. Many ABC programs have a regular rotating truck schedule so find out what store get their truck first each week. When VA ABC was doing in store sales for rare items I found out that a store in Williamsburg was the first store each week to get allocated items. I would try to be there on that day, but if I couldn’t I would call to see what they got and be sure to camp out at my local store on their next truck. 90% of the time I would be first in line for the bottles I wanted!

Next is “Beverage Warehouses”. These are the guys that do high volume low profit and are always allocated large amounts. Distributors LOVE these guys!  Distributor- “man, I have 50 cases of fireball that I have to sell to hit my quota” BW-“Cool. I’ll take them all!  Just make sure I get some of the good stuff with it”. In most cases it is acceptable to just approach the counter and ask.  Many of them will do lottery which is simple, enter the lottery. Others will sell to loyal customers. Remember they do a lot of volume so how loyal is loyal enough? Don’t be afraid to ask. Total Wine and more has a points system and if you get enough points you are automatically invited to purchase a bottle of Pappy and other rare bourbons. Be prepared to open your wallet though its $2,500 to reach that level without any bonus points. PRO TIP*** have a wedding or other big event coming up? Get ALL your liquor and beer there (if the state allows that) and you will be well on your way!

 3 Buddies and Booze, Mom and Pop, and local shops make up the majority of the stores you find in non-ABC states and usually yield the best and cheapest chance you have if you know how to approach them.  NEVER APPROCH THE COUNTER WITHOUT BUYING A BOTTLE AND DON’T EXPECT TO HIT THE JACKPOT ON YOUR FIRST STOP (ALTHOUGH YOU MIGHT!)!  This is literally how they make a living so they will tell you to screw off before you can finish saying “Pappy Van Winkle” if you just walk up and ask.  Everyone has a favorite shelf bottle that they drink regularly. Walk in, be friendly, pick a bottle and strike up a conversation. Talk to them about bourbon and ask them about some of their favorites and what they would recommend, ask them the “craziest” bottle they have ever gotten to try, then ask if they ever see anything like that in the store.  PRO TIP***Always carry a semi rare bottle in your car.  Ask them if they are able to sample something with you. “I just found one that I have been looking for and you have to try it!” This does two things. It lets them know that you are really in it for the bourbon and that you actually open your bottles (gasp! you will need to open your bottles) instead of sending them to the secondary market. One store was so flabbergasted that I was willing to share a sample of a limited bottle that I told them anything they got me I would open with them and try. Now I get a discount on every bottle and they are constantly looking out for me.

Always be conscientious of who you are dealing with. Once I was on a work trip and without thinking walked in to a local shop wearing a suit. The guy at the counter wouldn’t say a single word bourbon wise to me because I looked like a Pappy hungry tool. After he rung me up he went back to talking about the next rare release with another average Joe that stopped in.

These store owners and workers are proud of the product they sell and will hold those special bottles dear, only to be given to the deserving few. Hopefully these tips help you become part of the deserving few.

Until next time,
About Corey Chandler
Corey Chandler lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he enjoys bourbon hunting with his fiancé. Corey is in the process of realizing a lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. Look for him to share more information about this as he get closer to opening his place next year. He's part of the regular bourbon crew on Instagram where he's always sharing his latest finds. Check out Corey Chandler's Instagram page: @mrshacorey
Our friends at Grumpy Dog Candle Co. have some up with another great item for the bourbon and cigar crowd. Their Bulleit Bourbon bottle ashtray has quickly become the bestseller in their ashtray line. If you aren't a smoker, but you are a bourbon fan, these also make great trays to keep your "COOL STUFF" organized on the counter (wallet, pocket change, cell phone, watch, etc.).

You can pick up your very own Bulleit Cigar Ashtray from Grumpy by clicking here!
Anyone want to apply for the job of drinking the Bulleit to clear out the bottles for their ashtray line?
Drawing Pappy
With the Steve + 4 Review this month rating Pappy Van Winkle, we thought it might be an interesting project to see if any of the staff could demonstrate any artistic skills by drawing the most coveted bottle in the bourbon world. We’ve got at least four legitimate artists on staff, but it really wouldn’t be any fun to see if they could draw Pappy. Instead, we sent an email with a Pappy bottle attached and told four people who aren't known for their artistic skills to draw what they saw.
Then, we’d have three of our four true artists not only provide a critique of each drawing, we’d also have them answer which one they would hire as a protégé in their respective fields. Here’s a look at the drawings from our non-artists and the critiques of their work from our staff artists:
A – Carl “Los” Laehr, Bourbon Zeppelin Staff Reporter
Alice Seim, Arts and Crafts Goddess -
Nice bottle shape, great crosshatching and shading. Great detail and it was very creative to add the price tag. They turned the bottle which immediately separates them from the competition, but it also makes me wonder what Carl is hiding.
Mark Hansen, Graphic Designer – This reminds me of Rembrandt’s early work. The fact that the artist made the focal point the neck dangler and not the iconic label itself was indeed a bold move. The artist’s use of exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail produces drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in this drawing.
Kate Kettner, Art Teacher - Really like the side angle, and that they made the liquid look 3D, and that it looks like it's floating on a halo. All hail the Pappy!
B – Amanda Hoppes, Bourbon Zeppelin's Bourbon Virgin
Alice Seim, Arts and Crafts Goddess -
This non-artist seemed a little unsure about the shape of the bottle, but then really committed once they started drawing the label. I really like the expression on Pappy's face. He seems to be unable to figure out what is going on with his hand, and I can't either. 
Mark Hansen, Graphic Designer – The comic strip-esqe whimsy is what first pulled me in. But then the “blueprint style” accuracy evokes the inception of the brand. Born out of disgust for the saturation of the industry in the artist’s own time. This image embraces and draws upon art, music, poetry, dance and politics. More than art this is a protest, a movement with an anti-establishment manifesto.
Kate Kettner, Art Teacher - Pen is a brave medium because you have to own your mistakes, this turned out pretty well.
C – Evan Haskill, Bourbon Zeppelin's Bourbon PSA Guy
Alice Seim, Arts and Crafts Goddess -
No mess, no fuss. Here is a very quick basic drawing with a pinch of shading thrown in. Speaking of pinching, what is Pappy's lobster claw of a hand trying to do to that, uh, THING THAT IS ON HIS FACE. I just can't. Let's move along.
Mark Hansen, Graphic Designer – Surrealism at it’s finest. Think Dali’s melting clocks.
The artist is taking something you know. . .you love, and making you hate yourself for loving it. Unbound by the limitations of rational thought, the artist rejects the world as we know it. Seeking a new kind of reality that is informed by the insights of the unconscious mind. This heightened reality is only achievable in a world of dreams and imagination. . . or the consumption of an ungodly amount of Peyote!
Kate Kettner, Art Teacher - Like the simplicity, and the claw hand, very Picasso­like.
D – Mike Swain, Bourbon Zeppelin Staff Reporter
Alice Seim, Arts and Crafts Goddess -
Wow! I think the Bourbon Hunter is a closeted artist. The bottle is nearly perfect in shape and I love the detail on the cap as well as the label. Great shading and contouring lines on the glass. The added color is fantastic. The portrait is lovely, but again, that hand! So beautifully awkward. 
Mark Hansen, Graphic Designer - Impressionistic celebration of an iconic brand. The artist finds Pappy’s beauty in this still life. Dignity in the labor of the bourbon process, joy in the leisure of its consumption, and the radiance of the amber-hued liquid contained within its glass prison, waiting to be freed.
Kate Kettner, Art Teacher - The only one to use color, drawn nicely and colored nicely, plus there is a lot of detail. The only thing I wish is that he incorporated some yellow in the orange, and vice versa. It's hard to tell in the tiny photo.
The Conclusion
Okay, judges, it now all comes down as to who would you hire to be your protégé. Maybe you just see something in the work of one of these individuals that makes you want to make them an offer. With that being the parameters for this exercise, it all comes down to which of the candidates would you hire… and why?
Alice Seim, Arts and Crafts Goddess -
Good old Pappy... nice guy, but the man just couldn't figure out how to hold his hand naturally without a whisky in it. I'm starting to see why Carl ended up turning the bottle and just avoided the face and hand situation completely. Now I know what he's hiding and I just want to see that hand MORE! But I get it. Hands are really hard to draw. I avoid them at all costs as well. I like these four non-artist's different takes on the bottles. If I have to pick a favorite for my protege I'd have to pick the non-artist who went with my most common style of drawing- a quick pen doodle on notebook paper. Drawing B, Amanda Hoppes, I am pointing to you with my awkward leaf claw. You go girl!  
Mark Hansen, Graphic Designer – Ultimately it comes down to what image I’m most drawn to. So I have to go with C. The image leaves me greatly vexed! Not sure if I need a hug or if I should punch my fist through a wall.
Kate Kettner, Art Teacher - The first and the last ones are the best quality wise, and they seem like they spent the most time and thought. But, I'm going to go with Mike Swain because of the amount of detail and that he used color. Did you see the vest detail? Very nice.

Final Thoughts by Steve Akley
Wow, this worked out very well. We've got three job offers, with each one being for a different BZ team member. It looks like Amanda is going to work under the tutelage of Alice in the world of arts and crafts. In a complete surprise, Evan landed a gig as an understudy for a graphic artist. Finally, Mike Swain is going to head back to school to work with Kate Kettner as an art teacher.

That leaves Los as the only one without a job offer. I like his work, though. We'll have him draw a bottle, sideways of course, for every issue of Bourbon Zeppelin if he's interested!
Bourbon barrels can only be used one time...
in the bourbon making process. That leaves plenty of life left in these versatile 53 gallon handcrafted gems. So what happens to all of those barrels? Well, the Bourbon Zeppelin team is determined to find out what happens to every barrels and tell the story of The Life of a Bourbon Barrel, one story at a time!

Wicked Dolphin Artisan Rum out of Cape Coral Florida has found a use for used bourbon barrels. They age their Florida Silver Rum in previously used bourbon barrels.


This gives the normally clear spirit a blonde tint and infuses notes of butterscotch an vanilla. So how is it? Well, if sales are any indicator, pretty darn good! Wicked Dolphin is forecasting growth of 120% in sales in 2016 over 2015. On June 7, the Wicked Dolphin team announced the purchase of land near their distillery which will be used for an expansion beginning in 2017.
There are plenty of bourbon barrel stories to tell. Help us out! If you know where a bourbon barrel is being used, that would be of interest for the Bourbon Zeppelin readers, just reach out to us to let us know by clicking here!
When U.K. Correspondent Suzie Allkins' husband visited Carrefour, Normandy, France, Suzie had him on the lookout for bourbon. He was able to shoot this photo for us at a store he stopped at while he was there. Not surprisingly, the options were pretty minimal. It looks like you were limited to Old Virginia, Four Roses or Jim Beam. It's at least comforting to know that if you get tired of wine, you can pick up a bottle of Four Roses!
Do you care to share a photo of a bourbon section you've found in your travels? Would you like to share you personal bourbon hoard? Email those photos to the B.Z. team and we'll run them in a future issue!
And finally...
The Ones That Got Away
I think it's time we spend some time talking about "the ones that got away."


Because it's good for the soul, to speak openly about our greatest mistakes and regrets, those we all carry within us. For your information, I'm not talking about that high school sweetheart of yours that went on without you, ended up marrying Tom, Dick or Harry. I'm talking about all those bottles of bourbon that you almost bought, but for some stupid reason, didn't bring home. We all have them, right! I sure as hell do and just thinking of them, in some other guy’s arms, is pissing me off.

So here goes.

Once upon a time in a small country named Denmark (you know, the country where Shakespeare's Hamlet sets place) Hold on! You don't know Shakespeare or Hamlet? Never mind then. It's not important where this story takes place. It can be in your home country for all I care. In fact, I prefer it to be in your country and the story to be about some other stupid twat than me, so I don't have to bang my head into a concrete wall, every time I think about it.

Let’s start over. Once upon a time in an unnamed country, lived an unnamed man. That man was very much into Scotch whisky, but he had just discovered something exited called bourbon. Oh brother, that man sure did like the taste of that. So one day, he saddled his white horse (old broken-down Opel station wagon) and left his house, to hunt down some of that liquid gold. He went from store to store and town to town, without any real luck. As the daylight slowly started to fade, the man started to bewilder. ”I’ll never find any liquid gold,” he cried out, not realizing that he was heading into the wild. Just before dark, he arrived at this godforsaken small shop, exhausted as he was; he decided to make a quick stop, to calm his nerves. A bell rang as he opened the door, and a great white light shined upon him. There they all were, standing right in front of him. The figures of his imagination and his wildest desires. The heroes that he has been reading so much about: The W.L. Weller 12. Blanton’s Original. Eagle Rare 10. Buffalo Trace and Thomas H. Handy 2012 edition.  The man slowly approached the bottles. He almost didn’t dare to reach out and touch them, afraid that they might vanish into thin air, like a mirage. After looking at the bottles from a distance, the man finally made up his mind. He pulled himself together and firmly gapped all of them and carried them to the counter… All except one… Thomas H. Handy…  The old man behind the counter could see that the young man was poor, dressed in simple close, as he was. So the old guy made him an offer. “Listen up kiddo!” “Those bottles of bourbon have been collecting dust for years now. So if you’re going to almost buy them all, why not buy them all?” “If you take that Handy with you right now, I’ll sell it to you for $150USD. Done deal?”  The man looked back at the Handy and quietly shook his head.

Dear reader, you might ask yourself, if our anti hero had something against the Handy, since he turned it down. To tell you the truth; He had absolutely nothing against it, but at the time, he was an ignorant bourbon fool.  Yes, he had read about a little thing called Buffalo Trace Antique collection, but he had no idea, how hard they were to come by, especially on Danish soil. Furthermore he was totally and absolutely unaware of how expensive they were and are.

So the man drove home with his new bought treasures, praising his dumb luck, finally finding what he was looking for. He thought a little about the Handy, he had left behind and made a promise to himself. He would return as soon as possible. He just needed a little bit of cash, before doing so.

So did the man return back into the wild?

He did, but then it was already too late. So what happened to the Thomas H. Handy? Let me tell you what happened? The man told his Scotch whisky brother from another mother, about the bottle and he went out and bought it. Being a Scotch whisky guy, he didn’t buy it for himself. But he had looked it up, discovered what it was worth, flipped it around to some German bourbon guy and made himself $300USD in the process. And that, my dear reader, is the sad but true story, about the Thomas H. Handy 2012 edition and the stupid twat that passed it up.  

Do I have other heart breaking stories like that? What about a couple of Four Roses Small Batch Limited edition at retail prices. Well maybe another time… I think that there has been enough misery and heartaches to handle for one night. 

Catch you next time? I’m off to see a man about a dog!
Hasse Berg.
About Hasse Berg
Hasse Berg is a passionate whisk(e)y nut and blogger from Denmark. His site, Son Of Winston Churchill "A Part Of The Secret Whisk(e)y Society" features independent whiskey reviews and talk. He's part of the regular bourbon crew on Instagram and always has great stories and support for the his fellow bourbon fans on IG. Check out Hasse Berg's Instagram page: @Hasse_Berg

Check out Hasse Berg's S.O.W.C. blog by clicking here!
Buffalo Trace Trivia Question Answer
The question was, "How many whiskey experiments do you think Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley is managing at Buffalo Trace? Well, what did you guess? A solid answer would be 500. After all, it would clearly represent a strong commitment to future customer experience by attempting different formulations and means of producing product on behalf of the team at Buffalo Trace.

So is that it, 500?


Buffalo Trace is way more committed than that. The actual answer is more than 5,000. That's right, there are currently more than 5,000 experimental batches in various stages of testing at Buffalo Trace.

Wonder if they need a lab tech in the tasting department?
Steve Akley is looking for individuals with bourbon-themed tattoos for an upcoming article. If you are willing the share the story of your tattoo, as well as a photo of it, please reach out to Steve to talk about appearing in an upcoming issue of Bourbon Zeppelin.
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Bourbon Zeppelin accepts product samples in exchange for a fair and honest review by a B.Z. team member or members.

The Bourbon Zeppelin Jack Daniel's Policy
We love it. While it's classified as "Tennessee Whiskey" it's treated with the same as any other bourbon here.
By the way, the same goes for George Dickel (we love them, too!)
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Author Steve Akley has a trifecta of bourbon books. Small Brand America V tells the story of 20 craft distillers and the people behind the brands. Bourbon Mixology I shares cocktail recipes from the companies featured in Small Brand America V. The second edition of Bourbon Mixology shares the signature bourbon cocktail from 50 iconic bars.
All-Time Steve + 4 Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbons that have been rated via Bourbon Zeppelin's Steve + 4 rating system: #1) Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old/93.5 #2) Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn/72.2
All-Time "From The Cave" by Aaron Cave Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbons that have been rated by Aaron Cave for Bourbon Zeppelin:           #1) Knob Creek Single Barrel 95/100
Companies Featured in this Issue:
Rebel Yell Rebel Yell Ginger | Three Boys Farm Distillery Bourbon 30 UpcycledAshley Kentucky Knows Barnotes Wicked Dolphin Artisan Rum | Buffalo Trace | Cadée Distillery Farmhouse Fresh Luxco Grumpy Dog Candle Co. Wyoming Whiskey  Booker's Bourbon  Four Roses Bourbon Ol' Major Bacon Bourbon | Knob Creek Bourbon | Silverback Distillery | Heritage Distillery |  Pappy Van Winkle | Wild Turkey |

Our Favorite Blogs:
Son of Winston Churchill Barrels and Mash  Write Steve Write O.P.U.S. | The Bourbon Guy and Rye |
Special Thanks to Our Contributors this Month:
Bourbon Zeppelin is created with the help of a group of contributors. Here's a look at who helped out with this issue (other than the "Rumor Mill" section which are anonymous contributions): Amy Preske/Buffalo Trace Distillery, Garrett Ragland/Journeyman Distillery, P.R., Lauren Fallert/Verde Brand Communication, Laura Baddish/Baddish Group, Angela Casabella/Moonshine University, Maggie Hallam/Common Ground PR, Hannah Hanley/Heritage Distilling, Ashley Ommen/UpcycledAshley, Colin Campbell/Cadee Distillery, Matt Saunds/Village Wine & Spirits, Tony from Kentucky Knows, Jeff Mattingly/Bourbon 30, Christine Riggleman/Silverback Distillery.
We are always looking for additional contributors to join the team. Whether you are in the bourbon industry directly, sell a product that uses bourbon/is for fans of bourbon, or you are just simply a fan, you can get on our monthly contact list for potential contributions to Bourbon Zeppelin by clicking here to send Steve an email.
Bourbon Zeppelin - The Team
In addition to the guest contributors, Bourbon Zeppelin has an incredible staff in addition to editor and publisher Steve Akley. Steve's daughter Cat runs the BZ Facebook page. The writing team includes: Associate Editor Hasse Berg, U.K. Correspondent Suzie Allkins, Field Reporter Elizabeth Jones, the following Columnists: Amanda "The Bourbon Virgin" Hoppes, Evan Haskill, Corey Chandler, Jerome Faulkner, Aaron Cave, Kate & Kris Kettner and Staff Reporters: The Bearded Sipper, Alice Seim, Carl "Los" Laehr, Mike Swain, Robin Ricca and the Shy Consultant.

Interested in joining the B.Z. team as a contributor? If so, just email Steve Akley to talk about it!

While we are interested in hearing from anyone creative, there are few specific things we are looking for:
  • Value reviews (reviews of bourbon less than $15 a bottle)
  • Bourbon book reviews
  • Firsthand accounts of bourbon experiences (visits to distilleries, the Bourbon Trail, etc.)
  • Photos involving anything bourbon
  • A bickering husband and wife bourbon review team / "bickering" is key here
  • A bourbon mixologist to host a monthly column
  • Artists willing to share their work that includes bourbon
  • Poets who incorporate bourbon into his or her work
  • Guest cartoonists for the Inside the Bourbon Barrel cartoon
Special thanks to the following individuals who are involved in the production of Bourbon Zeppelin yet help us promote the brand just because they are fans of our work: TJ Ivey (#11), Rommel Morales (#12) and Matt Walker (#13), Blue Dram (#14).

Why does Ambassador numbering start with #11?
#1 is ceremonial. It goes to Steve Akley's father who passed away in 2012. Numbers 2 - 10 are being saved for yet-to-be-determined fans who really go the extra mile to show their love to Bourbon Zeppelin!
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Bourbon Zeppelin is delivered to you raw an unedited by author Steve Akley on the 1st of every month. (Apologies for any errors.) Check out Steve's books by clicking here: Steve's Catalog on Amazon.