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Bourbon Zeppelin
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Written for bourbon fans, by bourbon fans!
Steve Akley Presents...

This Month's Bourbon Zeppelin Feature Article

 

Crafting The Perfect Whiskey

by Colonel Steve Akley

 
#TheABVNetwork Crew Club Tries Something Pretty Special
It always amazes me how simple bourbon can make the "friendship process." It literally streamlines something that normally can take months, years (a lifetime?) to accomplish and make happen instantly. We recently put this to the test with a little project we did over at Stumpy's Spirits with members of the #ABVNetworkCrew Club.

Stumpy's Spirits owner Adam Stumpf was kind enough to offer club members a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to craft their own whiskey. Seriously! Think about it: if you haven't invested a few million dollars into opening your own distillery, how many of us get to design a whiskey that is going to be brought to the market (a huge run too, by the way... we're talking 8 barrels). Our group of 10, from four different States (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky) convened at Stumpy's Spirits on Sunday, July 21 at 8:00 a.m. Despite the fact most of us haven't met before, we were instantly laughing, joking and having a good time. Yep, we were bonding over bourbon.

The day started with some donuts and coffee. We then had Adam explain a little bit about his company history and what he wanted to accomplish with the project. We then took a tour of his facility. If anyone thinks that big bourbon is the only one to offer great tours, this walkabout spoke otherwise. It's amazing to see how Adam has put his distillery together. This perfect combination of scientific brain, an engineer mindset and just general cheapness has caused him to get very creative in how he put together his facility (I say he has a severe case of "McGyver-tendencies). Adam has procured equipment from wine, cheese, yogurt, farming and more and put all of this together into his very own take on how a distillery is built. It's incredibly interesting, and while I joke with him about all of this, I'm incredibly impressed with what he has accomplished.

After our tour of the facility, it was time to taste some of the components we were going to be considering for the whiskey we would try to craft. Adam was all over his rickhouse pulling samples for us to try. Some complex whiskey offerings and others single grain offerings so we could try whiskeys made with some of the individual components we needed to consider.

Afterwards we sat down in his tasting room and got to work. Adam led the discussion and established these parameters for us to discuss:
  • Type of whiskey
  • Barrel Options: standard or grooved staves, Char, type of seasoning (kiln or air-dried)
  • Sweet or Sour Mash
  • Mash bill
  • Open or closed top fermentation
  • What proof to we distill it up to
  • Do we use a thumper or doubler
  • Barrel entry proof
  • Yeast (he offered four options)
  • Finishing
  • Age to release the product
After a discussion, and sometimes vote about each of these, we ended up going with:
  • Type of whiskey - While we love bourbon, we elected to go with a rye because were also all rye fans and it seems to mature a little faster, which means we can have a product to the market a little faster
  • Barrel Options: standard or grooved staves, Char, type of seasoning (kiln or air-dried) - We are going with air-dried staves (hopefully 2+ years, but we are limited to what the cooper has available) a #2 char and a grooved stave (ripped on the inside providing about 15% more wood surface area in the barrel)
  • Sweet or Sour Mash - We went with a sweet mash citing some of the great whiskeys we have enjoyed from distillers like: Neeley Family Distillery, Kentucky Peerless and Wilderness Trail.
  • Mash bill - Our mash bill is going to be: 51% rye, 11% malted rye, 12% bloody red butcher corn, 12% white corn and 3% malted barley.
  • Open or closed top fermentation - We went with closed top to really stay in the spirit of a sweet mash
  • What proof to we distill it up to - We challenged Adam to keep it as low as possible coming off the still... we want our whiskey to maintain the flavor of the grains which gets lost when you distill at a higher proof
  • Do we use a thumper or doubler - Using a thumper which adds no heat versus a double that does is another step we are taking to try to preserve grain flavor in our whiskey
  • Barrel entry proof - We are going in the barrel at 107 proof
  • Yeast (he offered four options) - We went with yeast 048 which, again, was selected for flavor purposes
  • Finishing - We elected to not do any sort of finishing to our whiskey, unless it doesn't meet our expectations flavor-wise when we taste it, then we may consider something like a wine barrel finish of perhaps even a beer barrel
  • Age to release the product - Everything comes down to flavor so we will be tasting along the way, but our goal is to do three releases with this offering, a 2-year-old straight rye whiskey, a four-year-old bottled-in-bond offering and finally an 8-year-old offering which puts it in line with the traditional age statement of some of the biggest brands in the world.
I have to say there wasn't one portion of that day that wasn't awesome. Best of all, we'll continue to work as a group as we look to bring this product to the market. Crafting the perfect whiskey doesn't end at a single meeting... we've got to taste along the way and make sure it's coming along as we expect.

We literally had the best time immersing ourselves in the whiskey-making process. We may have walked through the doors of Stumpy's Spirits as strangers, but we left as bourbon besties.

All hail the magical powers of bourbon! 
A few of the moments from our magical day:

About Colonel Steve Akley
Steve Akley, a Kentucky Colonel, is the company owner of the ABV Network, LLC, as well as an author, podcaster,  movie/TV show producer. He has been a bourbon fan (legally) since 1989, but notes that while his family didn't drink very much, when they did, it was a cocktail with bourbon as the base so he's always been around it. He enjoys splitting his time between his home with his family in his beloved hometown of St. Louis and Kentucky, where all of the bourbon fun is. You can reach Steve via social media or the web with everything under the name Steve Akley, or, you can go through the company website at: abvnetwork.com.
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As summer continues to heat up, so do these virtual pages of BZ. Our team has done some great work here to provide entertaining and educational bourbon content. I'm incredibly proud of the fact that despite all of the other things we have going on at the ABV Network, twice-a-month we are able to deliver the best bourbon content in the world to your email inbox.

Like I always say, I hope you enjoy reading this issue of Bourbon Zeppelin as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!


Editor-in-Chief of Bourbon Zeppelin, Owner of the ABV Network, Podcast Writer, Producer & On-Air Personality, Blogger, 30+ Years Bourbon Fan, Bourbon Staff Writer Food & Dining Magazine, Maker's Mark Ambassador (Ambassador #14,903/member since 2000), Four Roses Mellow Moments Club Member (2016), Author of the Best-Selling Cocktail Book Series Bourbon Mixology (Four Volumes, 2015-Present), Apprenticed at a Bourbon Distillery (2016), Completed the Bourbon Trail (2016), Executive Bourbon Steward (2017), Whiskey Warrior Award Winner (May '17), Founding Member Jefferson's Bourbon Ambassador Program (2017), Barrel Selection Committee Member for New Orleans Bourbon Festival (2018), Bourbon Educator for Total Wine in St. Louis, New Orleans Bourbon Festival Hall of Fame Committee Member, Bourbons Bistro Barrel Selection Committee Member and Kentucky Colonel (2016).

We are rerunning this article from last month as there only a few weeks to go in our campaign and we are short of our goal. We stand at $801 at the moment of our $2,000 goal.

Blending is Trending Crowd Funding Campaign

by Colonel Steve Akley
Filming has begun on our second full-length documentary. The movie is called Blending is Trending and it tells the story of the rise, fall and rise-again of blended whiskey. This is going to be a bourbon-star-studded film with some of the biggest names (past and present) joining us to tell this story. Making a movie is an incredibly expensive process that we manage to keep as low as possible through our dedication to keeping the overhead as low as we can. Still, distribution fees, travel, the cost of DVDs, paying musicians to create a custom soundtrack adds up. Because this is our second film, we know our expenses on this one will be about $7,000. We're trying to raise back a portion of that, $2,000, to help offset some of the cost of making the film.

Here's where we can use your help. We are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise that $2,000. Your participation in the campaign is incredibly important for all of the following reasons:

1). Kickstarter is the largest crowd-sourcing campaign in the world, which exposes your project to more people. It's an "all or nothing" format, though, meaning if you don't hit your goal, you don't receive any of the funding you raise so every dollar is one step closer to your goal and securing the capital we need to help make the film.

2). Your participation will make the film even better. A portion of these funds will be dedicated to some travel to make the film even better. We want to make a few trips to secure components of the film that will take it "over the top" in its story-telling. Sure, we can tell the story without these trips, but, it won't be as complete and without this campaign, we won't be able to afford to make them.


Participating is not only simple, there are rewards for getting involved including copies of the movie on DVD and even screen credits acknowledging your assistance.

We're doing a lot with our
Bourbon Sasquatch Productions film division at the ABV Network. We're working on this documentary, TV shows and a series of smaller documentaries. We limit ourselves to one, full-length feature documentary per year and this is our project for 2019. The rest of the smaller projects we are working on don't need any funding based on our dedication to managing a budget. These bigger films, the ones we do once-a-year, though, have some inherent fixed costs we could use some help. People enjoy what we do and often question how they can get involved. Well, here's the answer. If you want to be a part of something we are doing, and have a key role in making it happen, this is the opportunity of you!
The ABV Network is the fastest growing podcast network on the web. Here's the latest news with this exciting group of shows, many of which are helmed by Bourbon Zeppelin contributors.

Bryan Nolt
Founder, Breckenridge Distillery
Featured on The Bourbon Show - Today!

We have some great programming coming up on the ABV Network. Here's a sneak peak at some of the upcoming shows:
 
The Bourbon Show
August 1- Bryan Nolt, Breckenridge Distillery
August 6 - Why are Bad Things Happening in Bourbon?
August 15 - Dan McKee, Master Distiller for Michter's


The Bourbon Daily
August 1 - 5280 Whiskey Society with Nate Winegar
August 2 - The Principles of Executive Bourbon Steward Training with Colin Blake
August 5 - Zombie Apocalypse Distillers
 
Bourbon Bettys
August 5 - Bourbon Shoutouts

ABV Network shows can be found on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Libsyn and more. Just search for the name of the show! You can even listen in on our website: abvnetwork.com.

#ABVNetworkCrew
Join the Revolution
We love knowing who fans of our shows are. Please join ABV Network staff by putting the hashtag #ABVNetworkCrew in your social media profiles. 

Bourbon Hunting – August 2019 by Jeremy Schell 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Take a moment and look around at the whiskey bottles you cherish the most, are they open? What memories do you associate with them? What occasion are you waiting for to open or share them? Would you share even a small sample from them with people you don’t know? For many bourbon hunters, collectors and enthusiasts, these are extremely tough questions and are often avoided like a Orphan Barrel at a Saturday morning raffle. When considering allocations, scarcity of older stock and astronomical prices for many rare or semi-rare whiskeys this becomes even a tougher decision … or is it?

Every month, more than a hundred members of the Louisville Bourbon Society (LBS) gather at the Henry Clay in downtown Louisville for their monthly membership meeting. Each meeting generally includes a guest speaker from a distillery or someone in the industry, a sampling of a whiskey or two and a whole lot of comradery. Walking around the 20 – 30 tables of bourbon enthusiasts, it isn’t difficult to find a wide assortment of whiskeys among the selection people have brought to share. It is not uncommon to find a few rare vintage whiskeys, as well as recent releases and individual favorites among the vast compilation of bottles. A quick hello and small talk generally lead to an opportunity to sample from one of them from just about any of the tables. 

This past month’s meeting was a couple days after my son’s 17th birthday (July 12) and each year, I bring out a bottle I acquired from his birth year. For this meeting I selected to bring three bottles from my collection to share, the 007 “James Bond” President’s Choice from Old Forester, a Christine Riggleman Reserve (2019 best barrel strength award at the New Orleans Bourbon Festival), and a Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel Bourbon (SFTB), 131.2 proof and dumped on 10/22/2002.

Any of these would be an outstanding choice to sample but the Blanton’s swiftly caught everyone’s attention. It didn’t take long for the rumor mill to spread and countless people began to come over to our table to inquire about the Blanton’s and ask for a sample. No one was turned away and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and engaging in casual conversation. One person really stuck out and reinforced my appreciation why opening and sharing these bottles is so important. After he introduced himself, he shared this was his first meeting and joined the LBS earlier in the evening. He kept focusing on the SFTB and I could tell he was not yet
accustomed to asking for a taste. I quickly grabbed the bottle, reached out for his glass and offered him a pour as if it was just something casually sitting out on a bar. With his eyes wide open and the smile on his face I knew this was a confirmation and I poured a sample for us both. He inquired how I came across the bottle and more importantly, why would I bring it to this meeting to share with people I didn’t know? I recanted the story I had already shared many times throughout the evening. This bottle was from my son’s birth year, I acquired many bottles that year and I am happy to share them with friends, new and old. With each pour I am reminded of that feeling only a new, first-time parent would understand and I hope others appreciate it as well. For me, that’s what bourbon is all about and I don’t need a special occasion to enjoy it. As he left, I overheard him telling his friend the LBS is already the best group he has ever been involved with. Perhaps this will be a memory he shares with others too.

Always remember, memories are created by the moments you share with others, not by staring at a bottle on a shelf. With that, what are you waiting for? Don’t let moments pass you by, open a bottle and share with those important to you or, better yet, share with someone you just met. You’ll create memories worth treasuring for a lifetime. 

Happy hunting!
August 2019’s Featured Bourbon to Hunt:
“It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” -- Ferris Bueller
 
Evan Williams 23-Year-Old Bourbon

The demand for over-aged, over-oaked bourbons and rye whiskeys has exploded in the past several years. Pappy Van Winkle, Willett, Rittenhouse, Elijah Craig, Jefferson’s Presidential, A.H. Hirsh and others are just a few. Among these is the Evan Williams 23-year-old Bourbon. 

As expected with any over-aged product, oak is present from the nose, palate and finish. Surprisingly, for a bourbon of this age, huge notes of vanilla, almonds and hints of orange peel come through on the nose. Once tasting, you cannot argue the smooth and oleaginous mouthfeel. Much like chewing on the strings of a baseball glove in right field in late summer, oak and leather tannins kick off the taste followed by baking spices, cinnamon and more oak. At 107-proof, the finish is long and easy to drink. Occasional hints of almond, cocoa and coconut can be found in between the oak. 

If you’re looking for an over-aged, over-oaked bourbon, the Evan Williams 23-year Bourbon is probably one of the easiest to find. New releases are usually available at the gift shop in the Evan Williams Experience in Louisville, KY. Don’t let the $350 plus price tag turn you away, these are worth every penny. If you are lucky enough to find one of the older EW23’s from the early 90’s, these are packed with chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon.

Pick one up every chance you can get.

Off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
August 1, 2019

by Jeremy Schell

You must get Off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to visit one of the most historic distilleries in Kentucky.

With recognizable brands like Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Weller, George T. Stagg and Pappy Van Winkle, the Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of the most famous bourbon distilleries in the world … and it isn’t on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. 


About Jeremy Schell
Jeremy is a Virginia native transplanted to Louisville, Kentucky in 1990. An entrepreneur and survivor of the dotcom era, he is a 25-yr. veteran of the Internet industry. Over the years, working with notable clients such as Brown-Forman, Hershey, Maker's Mark and others, he developed an affinity for drinking, collecting and talking bourbon…. and chocolate, mostly just eating it. Connect with him on Instagram @jeremyschell or visit his web site www.MyPhilosophy.com.

Consumption

by Joyce "Cigarfoxy" Larkins

THE GOAL: The goal of pairing a cigar and libation is to find combinations that will bring out the flavor and personality of both the cigar and spirit you prefer and find enjoyable. While this may sound simple enough, only practice makes mastery.

In this segment I’d like to talk a little about “consumption” when nosing and tasting. Consumption in the sense of both the spirit and the cigar.  

We’ve talked about how to identify flavors via olfactory and taste receptors. We’ve also shared various tools that can be used to help build your flavor profile library to help aid in your pairing journey.  In the last two articles we even shared information on the various types of glasses and the pros and cons, etc. 

Well recently while attending a Scotch Whisky Dinner, there were various levels of expertise in consumption at the table. While some of the terms seemed self-explanatory the nuances were not as much of a given as I thought. So let’s chat about how to CONSUME.

CONSUMPTION
You are at an amazing tasting experience that has pre-selected your cigar to pair with your spirit. If you’re lucky it will be a premium cigar that you’ve yet had the pleasure to enjoy with what is clearly a favorite spirit which is why you’re attending the event.  

So which do I do FIRST? Do I light, nose and taste the cigar or do I consume some of my spirit and how do I receive my spirit?

This is the scenario that a few of the guests were pondering and I of course was excited to share insights.

First let’s recap on the how the spirits can be delivered. For the majority of branded tasting events, the spirit is delivered to the guest in only 3 ways:

Neat: Nothing has been done to the spirit. It’s poured straight from the bottle and into the glass. It is not chilled.

Straight Up: The drink has been shaken or stirred with ice, but not served with ice.

On the Rocks: The drink is poured over ice cubes.

In your traditional cocktail consumption scenario you have: 

Shaken: Utilized only for a cocktail that contains fruit juice, cream, or eggs. This is because shaking introduces air bubbles into the mixture. Do this by adding ice, shaking for 30 seconds, and straining into a cocktail glass.

Stirred: If the cocktail has only alcoholic ingredients, always stir. This way, you won’t have air bubbles or shards of ice in your drink. Do this by filling the shaker with ice cubes and stirring with a bar spoon before straining into a cocktail glass.

For the purposes of this segment we are going to just talk about the first three (Neat, Straight Up, On the Rocks).  So there are a number of variables that come into play when considering HOW you want to consume when pairing with a cigar, the actual spirit, the proof and strength of both the spirit and the cigar, the experience level of the individual and of course the glass.

For the novice:
I define this person as someone who is new to THIS SPIRIT BRAND or new to THIS SPIRIT CATEGORY but not new to consumption of spirits. 

HOW TO RECEIVE THE SPIRIT?
I always recommend that this person consume with 2 cubes especially if the proof is 90 or above and it’s served in a traditional rocks glass which for most tasting dinners is the case.  

WHEN DO I SMOKE THE CIGAR?
Whether a NOVICE OR MORE SEASONED with nosing and tasting premium cigars I suggest that they INTRODUCE THEIR PALATE TO THE CIGAR FIRST as they are most likely to be able to engage their taste and olfactory sensory with this being the initial registry versus the spirit.

After a few moments of engagement, then the pairing pleasure can resume.

HOW DO I CONSUME THE SPIRIT?
To nose and taste the spirit (and this applies to every level), we subscribe to holding the spirit in your mouth and on your palate for at least 5 to 10 seconds to allow the initial heat to mellow out and make way for the flavors.  While holding it then swallowing slowly, breath in the flavor notes… which is equivalent to a “retrohale” for cigars that we’ve talked about in prior segments. This gives you a full profile of the spirit on all of your sensory registries affording you the opportunity to nose and taste the complexity of the notes. 

For the seasoned:
I define this person as someone who is may or may not be familiar with the SPIRIT BRAND but very family with the SPIRIT CATEGORY. The only difference I suggest between the novice and the Seasoned is HOW THEY RECEIVE THEIR SPIRIT for consumption. The engagement of the Cigar and HOW to consume are the same.

HOW TO RECEIVE THE SPIRIT?
When tasting a NEW BRAND, regardless of HOW you TRADITIONAL CONSUME, I always recommend that this person order it neat and ask for a glass with a few ice cube on the side.  This allows for the individual to have more control on how they prefer to enjoy the spirit.  After consuming neat they have the option of adding drops of water to see how the spirit may change.  

CONCLUSION
An amazing flight of spirits strategically paired with premium cigars and a 4-5 course dinner is among the most amazing palate journeys to experience…especially if a great deal of thought is put into the flavor combinations.

Whether it’s an event hosted by a brand or restaurant or you decide to explore one on your own with a few friends, put all of your nosing and tasting pairing skills to the test and enjoy the journey.


About Joyce Larkins
Affectionately  known as "Joy" and "Cigarfoxy," this premium cigar lifestyle aficionado lives to enjoy life and the next great pairing that her palate gets to enjoy. Whether it's pairing a mild bodied full flavored premium cigar with an Earl Gray tea varietal or a full-bodied full-flavored beauty with a rich complex bourbon or scotch...the journey into exploring the flavor profiles and marrying them in effort to find that WOW is what her life is all about. She moderates nosing and tasting cigar pairing sessions called Leaf Lessons and posts about pairings she favors on her company's Instagram page Lashes and MustASHES, an upscale portable cigar lifestyle event production company. 
Bourbon Nuggets

When Baby Hooch gets married, her name will change from Lauren Riggleman to Lauren Weller. There are plans for her to get her own whiskey like her Mom's Christine Riggleman Reserve at some point, but don't look for a Lauren Weller Reserve in the future as Sazerac would probably want to weigh-in on that one!

Limestone Branch Distillery Launches Yellowstone 
Limited Edition 
Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2019

Limestone Branch Distillery introduces the 2019 variety of Yellowstone® Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, set to hit the market in August. This year’s edition includes a hand-picked selection of the most unique barrels – those hidden gems in the rick house – including barrels of extra-aged nine-year and 12-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
 
“I tasted many quality, mature Kentucky Straight Bourbons in order to find the right two ages for this year’s release – I had a certain taste profile in mind and I sought those barrels that matched it,” says Steve Beam, head distiller at Limestone Branch Distillery. “The barrels I chose were in different parts of the rick house and each barrel’s unique location contributed to the taste profile and complexity of this bourbon. When combined, these extra-aged bourbons create a mature and complex bourbon with robust spice and oaky undertones.”
 
Yellowstone has been one of Kentucky’s favorites since 1872. This year’s edition brings cinnamon notes with toffee, dried fruit and a hint of citrus to the palate, followed by a dry finish of brown sugar and oak. Using Beam’s expertise and honed palate, only the finest barrels were chosen for this year’s release. 
 
Bottled at 101 proof and available in 750ml bottles nestled in commemorative tubes, the 2019 Yellowstone Limited Edition continues to honor the long-standing tradition. 
 
Approximately 12,500 bottles of this bourbon are being produced at Limestone Branch Distillery, and the suggested retail price is $99.99.

What is Whiskey?

Picture it, America 1900s: It's rugged and dusty yet emerging with promise and opportunity. As Americans forged west seeking new beginnings, they also faced a new world of of illnesses and plagues. Some saw this as an opportunity to sell their snake oil cures, promising to cure whatever ailed a person or beast. Often, the “cure” was worse than the original illness. Consumers did not know what they were buying but often didn’t have much of a selection. The same applied to spirits. Someone had to put a stop to the rampant corruption and consumption. Congress decided to take action to protect its residents and did so with Teddy Roosevelt as President.

After hearing from citizens, doctors, and chemists, the Senate and House united to pass legislation to protect consumers against products that were not what they claimed to be. Gone would be the days of the snake oil cures and whiskey that was full of tobacco juice. Following the success of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, the Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the first major consumer protection act issued by the United States Government. This led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, which further protected consumers on a wide array of health concerns. This act put a ban on mislabeled and/or altered food and drug products and gave consumers protection on products they used and relied on in their daily lives. Impacted immediately were prescription drugs, meat, milk, tobacco and whiskey. These products received federal protection and ingredients were required to be put on the label or the producers faced lofty fines and even jail time.

Though the act was put into place, it was still a bit vague on how it defined whiskey. The next three years would prove to offer a bitter battle of interpretation between the straight whiskey producers and the rectifiers. Taft replaced Roosevelt in 1909 asked the question “what is whiskey?” At that time, there was no legal definition of whiskey. 

Producers were still getting around the Pure Food and Drug Act because whiskey had no true definition. While tobacco juice may have been eliminated from whiskey to color it, other coloring agents such as prune juice stepped up and took its place, which still produced an impure product.  


Over 1,200 pages of judgments went into answering questions during the hearings. After debate and discussion, the definition was approved by President Taft.  December 27, 1909, the term whiskey received its first legal definition in America. The decision set parameters for what could be called “straight whiskey” and what could be called “blended whiskey” and lastly what was “imitation whiskey.”  Neutral grain whiskey had to produced from grains, and not molasses or other sugars, All bottles must be labeled accurately. While this decision did not make everyone happy, it at least put the issue to rest and allowed the world to move on and be at ease with knowing what was in the bottle that they were drinking. 

Today, we take product labeling for granted, but it truly wasn’t that long ago when one really didn’t know what they were getting into when they popped that cork on a bottle of bourbon. I appreciate having tobacco juice free whiskey and thank you, President Roosevelt and President Taft for pushing that bar just a little bit further to help make bourbon great!  

Cheers to you!
About Andrea Holak
Andrea Holak is a St. Louis resident where she works as a grant administrator at a local nonprofit which provides housing and related supportive services to people who are affected by HIV/AIDS. In her spare time, in addition to spending time with her husband, two Australian Shepards and a cat, Andrea enjoys all things bourbon. She has joined the BZ team to tell the stories of bourbon history. You can find Andrea on Twitter or Instagram with the name @redtumbleweed virtually hanging with the bourbon crew!

Our Favorite Brands of Whiskey in Amazing Photos!


About Nate Woodruff
Nate Woodruff's company, Whisky With a View, is dedicated to bring you beautiful pictures of whisky. He's a regular in the bourbon community on Instagram where you can find him with the ID of @whisky_nate.
Bourbon Ads of Yesteryear
Celebrating the history of bourbon by sharing ads used in the past.
Click the button to head to the ABV Network shop!
Bourbon Nuggets
The All-Star pick, a Four Roses barrel strength pick by Bourbons Bistro is available there right now. Go get yourself a taste of that one before it's all gone!
This Month's Selection...

Cake Eater
by OHSO

Local brewery OHSO in Gilbert recently got into canning their brews and with each can release they give us locals a barrel-aged brew. This time it’s an imperial german chocolate cake stout appropriately named Cake Eater. 

This stout is 13.7% ABV and aged in Four Roses barrels with whole pecans, fresh roasted coconuts and vegan friendly cacao. 

The nose is sweet tropical coconut. The body is a deep dark brown with a quickly dissolving caramel head. First sip boozy Almond Joy. 

I’m usually not a fan of coconut as an adjunct because breweries seldom get it right, they’re usually too sweet or have an artificial aftertaste. I absolutely loved this, though. The nutty flavor from the pecans really gives it the cake like flavor. So with this you can have your cake, and drink it too! 
 
4.75/5.0
Try your bourbon in a beer. 

About Della "Six Feet of Dynamite" Fain
Arizona resident. Chi-town girl. Avid craft brew drinker. Stout and porter lover. Getting to love all things craft... one brewery at a time. Like most of the BZ team, Dynamite is a regular member of the bourbon crew on Instagram and her Untappd account is not to be missed (@sixfeetofdynamite for either Instagram or Untappd).
Copper City Bourbon
WooooooooWeeeeeee!!!!! has it been hot lately. I’ve been keeping it cool with lots of bourbon. Don’t worry, I have also been drinking lots of water. (Just not mixed with the bourbon). This month I am reviewing bourbon that is distilled in Indiana and it is bottled in Arizona. The mash bill for this product is 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% barley. It is aged 2-years in charred, White American Oak. It is called Copper City Bourbon and it's 45% ABV. This bourbon is named for the Copper City Brewing company who, to protest prohibition, sold a beer. The owner was jailed. The bottle says “It is with this pioneer, outlaw spirit that we indulge our passion for spirits”. I am really curious to see how this sourced product tastes.

Let’s get down to drinking some bourbon. I got my BZ Glencairn glass and my trusty bluetooth blaster. This month I am blasting the Clash as I am feeling a little punk these days. Though the Clash aren’t really Punk purists they are still a little Punk. I am still mad that they got booed off the stage the only time I had a chance to see them. They opened for the Who and their fans did not like the Clash. They played 2 songs before leaving.  Here is my take on Copper City Bourbon:

 
Color: Copper  
Body: Very smooth
Nose: Sweet like candy with vanilla and caramel
Palate: Caramel and vanilla
Finish: Very sweet with caramel and vanilla also hints of leather with a nice burn

Wow!!! This one definitely gets a big \m/ from me. I love the hints of leather in the aftertaste. This is really good. In my opinion it tastes better than some of the traditional bourbons. I would recommend drinking this neat as the flavors are so good. I guess it would also be good on the rocks. Don’t mix a drink with this as you will be wasting the flavors that are there. I am going to be sharing this with some friends to see if they like it as much as I do. Well, until next month I’ll be keeping it metal AND punk in Detroit. I’ll be drinking some good bourbon too because my favorite store just got 5 allocated bottles of Weller SRV!!!!   
\m/
About Greg Schneider
Greg Schneider loves three things.... heavy metal music, bourbon and a good deal. He's managed to indulge all three in his \m/ Value Bottles column. Greg uses a simple system of "\m/" for bottles he recommends (the keyboard shortcut for the Ronnie James Dio "thumbs up") and "m/" for ones he doesn't like (the keyboard shortcut for "giving the bird").

Click here if you would like to email a suggest value bottle to Greg. His Twitter I.D. is: @schneiderg63.
Proof and Age Are Key!
Let me first state that I am no expert in this field and the following is just my humble opinion. I personally begin to enjoy the task of trying to match the right bourbon with the right meal. In this journey, I have found that there were some simple tips that made it easier to enhance the experience.

My first tip in this process is to remember that this is not a battle with each other, it’s a marriage of the two, we want them to complement each other. The two features of bourbon that I found to be very useful, was the PROOF of the bourbon and the AGE of bourbon. Now, just as a refresher the lower the proof the more subtle the approach of the bourbon will be and in-turn the higher the proof the more explosive and more powerful that bourbon will be. When it comes to the age of the bourbon the more time it spends in the charred barrels the more you will pick up the primary flavors of the grain, fruit and flowers. Two powerful key points to keep in mind when matching a bourbon with the meal.

 

As an example, J.P. Trodden (a local distillery here in Washington), is a perfect match for say a rack of ribs. It’s a younger bourbon with a lower end proof at 90. It has a light golden color and the notes start off very sweet with a hint grassy. As for the palate on this bourbon, it has a little kick to it, a nice spice to it. Now don’t be fooled by it’s light color, it has a lot of character. The taste on this bourbon is amazing. It’s finishes with a nice sweet taste and this would make it a perfect blend or marriage with St. Louis style pork ribs. 


These ribs were smoked with the 3-2-1 method (Google for full detail). In short, you would need to smoke them 3 hours over indirect heat, then wrap them for 2 hours and lastly finish them off for 1 hour unwrapped to allow the sauce to glaze up. The pork itself is not an extremely heavy meat, say like a steak, so it’s about to take on different flavor profiles. You can add any basic barbecue rub that has brown sugar as it’s base to the ribs. My suggestion on the sauce is using a sweet molasses base sauce. All your typical sides would do well with this combination. 

Now this is just one example, and again this is all in my humble opinion on how to get the two different worlds, of food and bourbon to blend together well. So the next time you’re out for a meal, look at the type of protein you want to eat and then check the PROOF and AGE. Remember your goal is to marry the two. Let them work together and choose wisely my friend. 
About William Whitfield
Will Whitfield was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his wife moved to Seattle in 2004. He is a union plumber by trade and in the plumbing commercial world for 25-years. His true passion is cooking and mainly just cooking for friends and family. Will's earliest memories of wanting to cook started as young as 7, where he was allowed to cook dinner for the family (it was spaghetti)! He is also passionate about whiskey, both with an "e" and without and "e!"

After an interview with Colonel Steve and the ABV Family, he was truly convinced I needed to spend more time learning the true depth in the bourbon universe. He knew he was missing out on some amazing whiskey. The next phase  of his life is blending the two worlds food and bourbon. If he's not cooking, he is spending time with his wife and two kids but he loves to get out on the golf course every chance that he gets!!
Listen to This Issue of Bourbon Zeppelin
It's true, you can actually listen to this issue via Bourbon Zeppelin, the Podcast. The show is hosted by BZ's own Wes Hardin. He picks some of the top stories and reads/comments on them. He also adds in some bonus material.

You can listen to BZ on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, your favorite podcast provider or you can tune in on our website by 
clicking here!
Additional Reading
by Colonel Steve Akley
I have launched a blog on ABVNetwork.com under the "Cool Muses" section called, "Our Bourbon Journey." It's a combination of my personal bourbon journey, the journey of my team at the ABV Network, what's happening at the ABV Network and bourbon reviews.

If you love Bourbon Zeppelin, you are going to also love this blog. Check it out today!
by Jordan Grigsby and Team
The newest offering to abvnetwork.com is a blog run by Jordan Grigsby and a team of bloggers. It's called Whiskey Corner and it covers whiskey reviews, the whiskey lifestyle, events, product sampling and much more. You can check out this ABV Network exclusive offering by clicking here.
Items from Steve and the Bourbon Zeppelin team
Steve's new book, The Story of Ten Classic Bourbon Cocktails tells the history, and mystery of the ten most iconic bourbon cocktails. This quick fun read also features some trivia and a foreword written by Steve's friend, and fellow St. Louis, Jackie Zykan.
Buy Now
Bourbon Mixology Volume 2 is author Steve Akley's best selling book of all-time. The premise is simple: have 50 iconic bars share their signature bourbon cocktail. The bars selected do not fail to impress with their unique takes on some classic drinks and well as some very original creations.

The book literally becomes a travel companion piece as you will want to see out these bars on your next business trip or vacation. Get your copy right now!
Buy Now
Bourbon Mixology Volume 4 is author Steve Akley's newest book. In this edition, 50 craft distilleries share signature bourbon cocktails made with their bourbon. 

Grab your copy today!
Buy Now
Mules and More features 40 craft breweries sharing a signature beer cocktail. With the popularity of the Moscow Mule, beer cocktails are becoming more popular and this book highlights the craft breweries featuring their products in their own unique beer cocktails.

Grab your copy today!
Buy Now
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The Bourbon Zeppelin Sample Policy
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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All-Time Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beer Reviews by Six Feet of Dynamite Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbon barrel-aged beer reviews that have been rated by Six Feet of Dynamite for Bourbon Zeppelin: 5 Sticks of Dynamite: County Pumpkin by Superstition Meadery -- Black Butte XXXVIII by Deschutes Brewery -- Pump[KY]n by Avery Brewing --  Bourbon Barrel Quad by Boulevard Brewing Co.-- Maple Jesus by Evil Twin -- So Happens it's Tuesday by The Bruery -- Headless Heron by Central Waters Brewing -- Devil's Teeth by Modern Times -- 4.75 Sticks of Dynamite: Cake Eater by OHSO -- Shot in the Arm by McFate Brewing -- 4.5 Sticks of Dynamite: Stickee Monkey by Firestone Walker -- Old Leatherman by Lasting Brass Brewing Company  4.25 Sticks of Dynamite: Highwaymen by Wren House -- Morning Grind by O.H.S.O. -- Harvest LE by J.W. Lees -Johnny Cash'd Imperial Coffee Stout by Mason Ale Work -- Dark Adrenaline by Shop Beer Co. -- Mash by The Bruery -- Kentucky Old Fashioned Bourbon Ale by Alltech -- 1st Anniversary by Stoic Cider -- 4 Sticks of Dynamite: AZ Nutt by Mount Wilderness -- OTHRORIR by Drinking Horn Meadery -- Genie in a Bottle by The Dudes' Brewing Company -- Mishka by Scottsdale Beer Company -- Dementia by Ska Brewing -- Oil Man by Elevation Beer Co. -- The Lost Abbey Track #08 -- 3 1/2 Sticks of Dynamite: Collaboration #6 by Boulevard Brewing -- Bell's Brewery Black Note Stout -- 3.75 Sticks of Dynamite: You Asked for It by The Bruery -- Barrel-Aged G&T Goes by Anderson Valley --3.25 Sticks of Dynamite: Dark Apparition by Jackie O's -- 3 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 2 1/2 Sticks of Dynamite: Quintaceratops by Brooklyn Brewery -- 2 1/4 Sticks of Dynamite: "K" is for Kriek  2 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 1 Stick of Dynamite: No entries yet
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 feature writer Monica Caron, Editorial Writers Samara Rivers, Armond Davis and Tony Freund, Assignment Reporters Wes Hardin, Jordan Grigsby, Stephanie McNew and Stacey Spears and the following Columnists: Andrea D. Meriwether, Abby H., Nate Woodruff, Joy "CigarFoxy" Larkins, Jeremy Schell, Six Feet of Dynamite, Evan Haskill, Andrea Holak, Greg Schneider, Kim Moser, Zac Smith, Justine Mays, and Raymond Culbert..

Interested in joining the B.Z. team as a contributor? If so, just email Steve Akley to talk about it!
Bourbon Zeppelin Reprint Policy
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Bourbon Zeppelin is delivered to you raw an unedited by author Steve Akley on the 1st and 15th of every month. (Apologies for any errors.) Check out Steve's books by clicking here: Steve's Catalog on Amazon.