Bourbon Zeppelin
The bourbon magazine of newsletters!
View this email in your browser
Written for bourbon fans, by bourbon fans!

This Month's Bourbon Zeppelin Feature Article
A Look at....


by Andrew Wiehebrink


So I thought it would be interesting if I had the chance to give readers a glimpse into the bourbon scene in and around Louisville, Kentucky and testify so to speak about how this bourbon bubble we are all living in has literally came through and reshaped this town. It is mind blowing when you get to see firsthand how the nation’s new obsession with a distilled spirit can transform things in such a short period of time. Every big movement has an epicenter. It was only natural that the bourbon movement started right here as it has in times past. It wasn’t that long ago that some of the big distillers really didn’t know what the future held for them. Lighter spirts were on the rise and bourbon was considered too old fashioned for a younger and more progressive population.
The big guys were producing everything that everyone needed and there just wasn’t enough interest to spark a craft movement. Prohibition, as it had in other parts of the country, had shut down the distilling industry in Louisville during the 1920s. Those companies who survived would soon face a world war that would send ripples through the American distilled spirits industry in a very negative way. The need for industrial alcohol and penicillin during the war made it possible for imports to take over and push bourbon off the shelves. Although bourbon experienced a decent resurgence in the 50s and 60s (in the late 60s there were 7+million barrels in aging) there was a massive fallout ahead and there would be a decline in sales that continued through the following years.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the bourbon world started to gain a little notoriety again. I would say that it could be attributed to pioneers in the industry like Booker Noe with his small batch collection or Elmer Lee and his single barrel concept. Whatever it was, bourbon was now being marketed as a drink that was connoisseur worthy. Suddenly, people started caring about what made bourbon taste the way it did or why one barrel could differ from the other if they aged on the same rick, same floor, same warehouse. I think as soon as that happened, bourbon was destined for a resurgence like it had never seen before. It took some time to kick in but I believe throughout the next 15 years, an interest and fascination began to quietly perpetuate through a small crowd of loyal customers.

It was silently building.

Even though exciting things were happening, the bottles still were not being sold off the shelf. The new category of super premium bourbon was hailed by the critics and enthusiasts alike but the non-bourbon drinkers really didn’t care. The early to mid 2000’s experienced 2% growth which is slow to say the least. Even as late as 2007, Pappy Van Winkle sat on store shelves collecting dust. Fast forward a few years and “my oh my how times have changed!”
A Look into the Kentucky Bourbon Scene
The Kentucky bourbon scene right now is a little crazy to say the least. It is a very exciting time to be part of the industry and of course it is just plain awesome to call Kentucky home. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live about 25 miles outside of downtown Louisville. For most of my life the distilling industry in Louisville had been pretty calm. There were a couple big guys (Brown Forman and Stitzel-Weller) still cooking when I was growing up but nothing like the city had been used to in the early years. I can remember walking outside my grandparent’s house when I was younger and getting a big wiff of what they used to tell me was the local bread factory. In reality what I was nosing was mash the boys down the street were brewing up for their next run. I used to miss that smell. Absent from life until bourbon made its glorious return and distilleries started popping up everywhere in town. Heck…Kentucky Artisan Distillery, home to Jefferson’s and Whiskey Row brands, moved in three miles from my house. Before my time, Louisville was once the center of the industry and some considered it to be the distilling capital of the country.
Sadly, Prohibition put a screeching halt to that. The famous portion of Main Street that sits around what is now the 2nd Street Bridge was once called Whiskey Row. And rightfully so… This now historic section of Louisville was home to numerous rectifiers, distillers, and housed the sales offices for companies in the distilling industry. I think around 50 or so companies called this little strip of whiskey paradise home. Other major distilling operations were dotted throughout the city and the state. I would venture to guess if you could travel back to that time period, you would probably find it an exciting time to call yourself a bourbon fan. In the 1800s, I believe Kentucky was home to about 2000 distillers and Jefferson County was home to 77 distilleries. But the 1920s weren’t good and sadly the buildings were repurposed or left to decay and eventually crumble.
If you take a look at that portion of main street today, what you will see is how the resurgence of whiskey is currently reviving an entire city block to its former prominent position in the distilling industry. The portion of main street aforementioned is now once again being recognized by its former name, Whiskey Row. And, once again it will become the home of some major distilling operations, bars, restaurants, lofts, and office space. Decay and rubble no more. The outdated and vacant buildings are being renovated in an effort to return the area to a modern version of its formal self. The front façade of the entire block has basically been kept intact thanks to a major engineering endeavor that will keep the historical feel of the street alive. However, behind the very old brick everything will be entirely new. Brown Forman is well underway on constructing a new Old Forester Distillery and visitor center here. Michter’s also joined in and purchased a portion of the historic strip. Angel’s Envy has just recently completed the construction of its new distillery down the road. Rabbit Hole is currently under construction along with a few more I haven’t listed.
Fueling the growth around here as well as around the country is an enthusiasm for bourbon I am pretty certain we haven’t seen in quite some time, if ever. So much so that ironically, the place that makes 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon is one of the worst places to find those sought after bottles. A few weeks ago, I was in Kansas and lining the shelf at the local liquor store were bottles upon bottles of Weller 107, Stagg Jr., Michter’s rarities, and even some Black Maple Hill. Similarly, I was in New York late last year and while walking down the street I peeked into a liquor store and right before me were some Pappy offerings, some rare Fitzgerald, Black Maple Hill, BTAC, and actually quite a few other offerings I have never seen before.
Here in Kentucky, we NEVER see a shelf tag for any of these items. Price was a point of distinction as well. For example, a 107 bottle, if you can find it in Kentucky will run you between $50-$60. In Kansas, $23. Long story short, Kentucky is just not a good place to hunt, at all. But it wasn’t always that way. The bartenders at my usual watering hole spin yarn about days not long ago when they used to make egg nog with George T. Stagg for the holidays. What a great time that was. I often find myself wondering if it will ever go back to that again. I think we have changed things for good but we will see. Anyways…
I hope everybody gets to come and experience what we have going on here in Kentucky at some point. Having said that, if you do plan on coming to visit the Bourbon Trail, don’t expect to find the liquor store shelves stocked with every bottle you need to complete your BTAC collection. Liquor stores hold lotteries when Pappy and BTAC come in. Rare bottle arrivals are always announced via an email chain the night before and people will literally camp out in the freezing cold all night just to get a chance at one of the more sought after whiskies. Instead, try visiting the distilleries and grabbing up some of the “gift shop only” bottles. I promise your visit will be a lot more enjoyable and you will have greater success. A lot of the times you might even come across a rare bottle or two sitting on a shelf at the gift shop.
I don’t consider myself to be a real bourbon hunter. I know what is good and what is rare and if I happen to walk in and get lucky, I will pick up a few bottles. Be that as it may, I want those rare bottles just as much as the next guy and the long lines, camp outs, lotteries, and empty store shelves can be frustrating from time to time. However, it is a frustration that I welcome with open arms. The enthusiasm here is the root cause for empty shelves but that same enthusiasm is making this city such a haven for bourbon nerds. It has given rise to countless bourbon themed bars, restaurants, stores, and experiences around the city. And perhaps more importantly it has given people jobs, transformed the city landscape, and damn sure made Louisville a much more interesting place to live.
All the new distilleries are top notch (I think we have 6 or 7 new distilleries including ones that are under construction) and the smell of mash is becoming ever more prevalent. Restaurants and bars with dedicated bourbon themes have popped up all over the place. And all of the private barrel selection programs around town are nothing short of impressive and an absolute joy to experience. Perhaps the best thing about the bourbon scene here is it seems like everyone is involved. When the bourbon boom hit, everyone gravitated towards it and just went head first. I love talking to new folks about bourbon and that is just easy to do because everyone is drinking it. I would venture to say that the majority of said people even have a legitimate fascination for the brown spirit. Attention single folks, asking that guy or girl next to you at the bar what kind of bourbon they are drinking is probably the single greatest and most easily utilized ice breaker there is.
With my job, I am lucky enough in that I get the opportunity to travel around the country and talk to all sorts of people that make up this “bourbon universe” we are all part of. I talk to industry professionals and die-hard enthusiasts alike. I can definitely say that the passion you see here in Kentucky is popping up all over the country. Centered around these small craft distilleries grows a new generation of spirit enthusiasts that are just beginning to get their feet wet while discovering everything it has to offer. We all have a part to play in “spreading the love”. Bourbon enthusiasts like ourselves are one reason for its success and that should be a point of pride for all of us. I find it very gratifying when I can introduce someone to a new bottle or perhaps even introduce someone to bourbon itself. Whether it be by Instagram, by word of mouth, or by accident. I am always happy to do my part.



So I hope this article was at least a little bit enlightening as to the effect such a movement can have. So much so for me that recently I have dropped my career as an engineer and dove head first into the spirts industry. The bourbon boom has made it possible for people like me to do that. With the creation of all these new jobs, there is an ever increasing need for people with a passion for bourbon.
I am still not exactly sure why the boom hit. The rise of social media has made it very easy for people to see what has been going on here in Kentucky for centuries. Perhaps shows like Mad Men are at the center of it all. Ed Lorenz said that the flap of butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. If you subscribe to this theory, then you would probably say there is no way of telling what caused it. To be honest, as far as we have come, I think we are just getting our feet wet. I am banking on this same growth we’ve see in Louisville and the surrounding areas to become ever more familiar in other parts of the country. I sure do miss the days when I could walk into the store and grab a bottle of Elmer T Lee or Elijah 18 for $35, but I don’t think I would go back even if I could. As I said before, I don’t think we will go back. With companies like Heaven Hill and Jim Beam building 50,000+ barrel warehouses left and right, I think it is safe to say we will ride this thing for a lot more years to come.
Andrew Wiehebrink is a staff writer for Bourbon Zeppelin. Check out his regular column, The Six Point Inspection, where he provides restaurant reviews of bourbon-focused restaurants in-and-around The Bourbon Trail area of Kentucky in this issue.

In this issue...
As I write this, I am just getting back from having spent Thanksgiving on Sanibel Island with my family. I found the shell of a lifetime in the seashell capital of the United States.... but, alas, it was home to a snail so I had to toss it back.

Tossing back a huge shell is the only thing I have to complain about as this issue is spectacular. As you just read, the versatile Andrew Wiehebrink has joined Hasse Berg and I as the only ones to have written a feature story for Bourbon Zeppelin. I love getting people more involved and Wiehebrink is a solid contributor who raises the bar of the publication with his insightful writing.

This is really cool issue in that many of our columnists like Andrea Holak, Dynamite, Hasse Berg, Chrissy Martin and Corey Chandler really got into the spirit of the holiday season in this issue.

Of course, a goal of mine is always to recruit others to jump in with the team and contribute. We've got some winners with Matthias Blau having some fun sharing the bourbon scene in Germany, Renee Howe talking about her favorite bottle of bourbon in her collection, Bill Alexander letting us know who he'd like to share a dram with and Jason Hockney Zeimet helping us expand our horizons with tequila.

Finally, we have a new team member I would like to introduce. Derek Haas will be featured each month sharing a bourbon cocktail. This will be in addition to the one Walker and I already share. This is a bourbon magazine so two cocktails per month is definitely twice the fun.

Finally, I want to give a plug for our value bourbon guy Greg Schneider. He's put out a call to send him ideas for his column and a few people responded. Greg seemed to enjoy that so if you have some ideas for him, please send them to me and I'll pass 'em along to Greg.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as the BZ 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:
Heritage Dual Barrel
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 tossing the top and bottom scores, 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:

Steve Akley - 73.5
Aroma - Vanilla, cherry (a first on the nose for me) and a sweetness that I'm going to call Dubble Bubble
Taste - Surprisingly light on the wood considering it's dual barrel. The taste of those cherries witnessed in the nose is there. Mild burn with the finish.
Final Evaluation - For a low price craft offering I think this one is worth a look.

Reviewer #2
Seth Brown - 77.0

Aroma - Sweet with loads of vanilla and cedar with light oak.
Taste - Buttery caramel, light black pepper and banana. 
Final Evaluation -
I could see this whiskey being a nice summertime dram while outdoors amongst several friends. It's nothing formal and doesn't require a lot of thought or focus—allowing you to converse with others while not feeling like your cheating on your whiskey.
Reviewer #3
Aaron Cave - 79.0

Aroma - Heavy vanilla, young grain, light oak, and old leather.
Taste Light and sweet. Very vanilla forward. Very young. Mostly alcohol, grain, vanilla, and cedar.
Final Evaluation - Overall not very balanced. It's has a little to much sweet vanilla and alcohol. There is not much of a finish short and sweet, mostly alcohol and grain. 
Tossed Reviews
Evan Haskill - 91.0
Aroma - Stone fruits and honeysuckle. 
Taste - Apple, herbal tea, minty with honey.
Final Evaluation - Love. At $25 I'll buy this one out. LOVE!

Kimberly Burns - 68.0
Aroma - Despite being “dual barrel,” I wasn’t able to pick up any woody scents or aromas.  For me, the aroma profile was dominated by the scent of vanilla extract. Once I get past the extract-alcohol scent, I get hints of baked goods, and a non-descript sweetness.  Hiding out in the background was the tiniest hint of new leather.
Taste - This bourbon had a bit of an astringent mouth feel, and the first (and most prominent) flavor was also overwhelmingly that of vanilla extract. As the alcohol flavor subsided, it eased into a bland sort of sweet breakfast cereal taste before disappearing altogether.
Final Evaluation - If this had been my introductory bourbon experience, I probably would not have given bourbon a second chance. I did not feel like there was any sort of well-defined character. It was just sort of sweet, and sort of dry, with a whisper of a finish.  The unique 2nd barrel finish left me feeling like I was sipping on a bottle of McCormack’s Pure Vanilla Extract, though, and I just couldn’t like it.  I might try to bake with it, though.

Combined Score
The final score for Heritage Dual Barrel Bourbon is...

Who doesn't love a little trivia about their favorite distilled spirit?

True or False?
If you tour any of the distilleries on the Bourbon Trail, you have probably heard them refer to the unaged distillate that eventually becomes bourbon as "white dog." True or False, white dog is the same thing as white lightning?
The answer is below at the bottom of this issue (under Hasse's column)
News About Bourbon the B.Z. Team has Heard
The Kentucky Distillers' Association announced a new three-year partnership that will keep the Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp in Louisville through 2019, as well as dates for next year's event.

Kentucky Distillers' Association Eric Gregory also said Whisky Live, an international celebration of the world's finest whiskies, will return as the KBA's closing event, capping off the week-long intimate immersive dive into Kentucky's signature spirit.

Dates are June 6 through June 11, 2017. A limited amount of Golden Tickets will go on sale later this year at, with single tickets available afterwards. Information about Whisky Live can be found at

The Bourbon Virgin Tries...

Heritage Distilling
Brown Sugar Bourbon

(60 proof)
Ooh Wee! The first swig in my mouth and it was like I was swimming in a delicious sea full of cinnamon rolls. The taste was so sweet and warm that immediately I wished I had a bigger bottle, a batch of ginger snaps, and I was sitting in front of a nice, cozy fire.

And then…

The donkey kick to the inside of my body happened. This brown sugar bourbon is sweet, but not sweet as in nice! This little bourbon spirit is not messing around! I have noticed that some of the bourbon I have sampled tastes so damn good and then the kick happens. Which in all honesty is not such a bad thing; it is a surprise each time on how it will kick me and I do love surprises! But notice, mis amigos, the kick doesn’t result in the immediate urge to yak all over – I’m certainly not an expert in the bourbon field yet, but I’m another step closer!

Two thumbs up, I’m ready for the next one Steve!

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!
Like any business, Bourbon Zeppelin has expenses. While we've elected to go with a strict no advertising policy, those fans who enjoy reading BZ and want to assist in helping with some of these expenses now can since we have started a Patreon page. We've got rewards and recognition for those who can help us continue to deliver incredible and unique bourbon-focused content.
Ennepetal, Germany

by M. Blau

Do you remember the Jim Beam commercial with Kevin Sorbo from the 90’s? Well, I do. Though I was just six years old when it first aired on German TV in 1993. Sorbo said, “This ain’t Jim Beam”, after taking a quick sniff at his whisky glass. It was truly iconic. I remember my friends and I were sipping ice tea and apple juice out of shot glasses – shouting, “This ain’t Jim Beam," at one another.

We glorified a drink we would not be allowed to drink for more than a decade – bourbon. If I look back to that time now, I start to wonder where and when this glorification has gone. Because when Steve Akley asked me if I would write about the bourbon scene in my hometown all I could say: “Steve I am flattered that you ask me, but there is no scene here.” “Perfect! Write about that," he replied and got me puzzled for a moment. How can I write about something that does not exist? Then I got what he meant and started. So – to loosely quote the Foo Fighters – “here is something from nothing. Whisky is my fuse.”

Whisky is my passion, so like many of you – I suppose – I have got my go to whisky guy and my go to whisky websites. If I am looking for a whisky I know where and how to get it. But where would a “whisky newbie” go and get his whisky? To the next big store, I guess and this is what I did. I started from scratch, went into the biggest store in town and paid attention to the things I usually would not pay attention to. What I saw were numerous bottles with the red Jim Beam seal or the Old No 7 logo. The shop promoted Jim Beam Apple, Honey and the Red Stag as if those were the best bourbons you can get. One shelf higher Jack Daniel’s had similar stuff – more liqueur than bourbon.

To be fair they also had Jim Beam White Label, Devil’s Cut and Jack Daniel’s Old No 7. But if you ask the occasional whisky drinker around here how they enjoy those three bourbons, I’ll bet you 20 bucks eight out of ten would answer: “With coke.” To be honest, that is not the problem. I would drink those whiskies with coke as well.

Call me posh, but this is not the kind of bourbon you drink neat, is it?
The Four Roses or the 1776 Bourbon would be more like it and also available in the store. However, while the wide range of Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam liqueurs were presented in the two top shelves, the more expensive and (my opinion) better bourbon was placed below.
Not only below, they were standing almost outside the whisky section next to brandy.
"This reminded me of a conversation I once had with a friend. We talked about whisky and compared the brands we liked. When I named Blanton’s as my favorite bourbon he said: “I like Hennessy the most.” “You mean whisky from Tennessee?”, I asked because I thought I misunderstood him, but he shook his head and replied: “No, the brand Hennessy.” It took me ten minutes to crash his world view and to convince him that Hennessy is a French Cognac and not a whisky."

Of course, not everyone is as badly informed as my friend, but most people I talked to in the last couple of weeks referred to bourbon as a long drink with coke or ginger ale: a cocktail ingredient or as a typical shot. That does not necessarily make them totally uninformed about bourbon, but it shows the guys who drink bourbon neat are rare. To explain why it is like that would go beyond the scope of this piece. One reason for this could be that many guys never dealt with bourbon. They accept it as a mixed drink with coke and do not look beyond this. If you give them the opportunity to do so they might be overwhelmed.

At least this is what happened to a couple of my friends. We are a group of five lads that meets from time to time for poker and whisky. The other four guys were used to drink Scotch single malts, but one night I filled their glasses with Blanton’s Special Reserve without any further explanation. They all were surprised by the maturity and the complex nature of this whisky. One of them (it was not me) got so hooked by Blanton’s that he cracked open a bottle Blanton’s Gold for us on his wedding. It was marvelous.

So sure, there are a few bourbon enthusiasts around here. My best friend for example is a huge fan of the Jim Beam small batch brands like Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek. Then there is my girlfriend's father. He does not only like to drink bourbon neat, for him it is linked to a rock stars and their concerts in the 70s. “Lined on stage there were always stacks of Marshall speakers, Fender amps and the inevitable bottle of Jack Daniel’s. Let alone the dressing rooms," he told me. We can talk about whisky for hours. His stories and knowledge never seems to run out.

Nevertheless, those couple of guys and I were the only people I could think about counting as a bourbon scene when Steve asked me. I like to drink high quality bourbon neat even though it is hard to get around here.
The standard Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s bourbon, as well as their liqueurs, on the other hand are always available, reasonably priced (if not to say cheap) and well known. The simply are famous for being good in mixed drinks. They even promote this fact on their bottles, “tastes perfect with Coke”. This is just the way it is around here.

But if someone would pour me a glass of Red Stag I know what I would say: “This ain’t Jim Beam.”
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. Thanks to Matthias Blau for sharing his firsthand account of the bourbon scene in Ennepetal this month. Matthias has been featured as a guest contributor to the Son of Winston Churchill blog and is a regular member of the bourbon crew on instagram (@blue_dram).

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!
Beam is About Options this Holiday Season
Jim Beam has two great options for those looking for the perfect gift for bourbon fans this holiday season. The first is their Extra-Aged black label. It's an 86 proof offering that has spent a little more time in the barrel to give it a full bodied flavor with smooth caramel and warm oak notes.

Double Oak is the newest addition to the Beam family. It is also 86 proof and is aged for four years, then re-barreled and then aged "until it's done," as Fred Noe says. The end result is
a full-bodied flavor with a spicy oak taste and a rich caramel flavor.

Both make great gifts that would please any bourbon fan. With a suggested retail for $22.99 for each, they won't break the holiday budget either.
Whiskey from Legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery to be Auctioned off Dec. 9 with All Proceeds Benefitting Non-Profit Robin Hood
Whiskey aficionados should mark their calendars for Dec. 9 for the opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind collectable piece of Kentucky bourbon history when the only known barrel of Blade and Bow 24-Year-Old Whiskey will go up for auction through Christie’s Auction House. The barrel was distilled and aged at The Stitzel-Weller Distillery outside of Louisville, famous for producing some of the most sought after whiskeys in the world. All proceeds from the sale will benefit Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization.
Blade and Bow 24-Year-Old contains bourbon distilled at The Stitzel-Weller Distillery before it’s shut down in 1992. This rare 24-Year-Old whiskey was barreled on Nov. 22, 1991 and is 93.4 proof. This fine spirit begins with notes of well-aged cedar, campfire and soft leather. The finish includes sweet notes of vanilla bean, light caramel and raisin. The lot up for auction contains thirty-four 750 ml. bottles. Blade and Bow donated the complete lot to nonprofit Robin Hood, who has consigned the auction and will receive all proceeds.
Adult bourbon aficionados wishing to participate in the auction can attend in person at Christie’s New York Auction House located at 20 Rockefeller Plaza or make bids online or via telephone.  The auction will begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9.  Those unable to attend in person can visit the Christie’s
website for more information, to register in advance of the auction or bid in advance through absentee ballot. More details on registration and bidding are here. Learn more about Robin Hood and their programs here.
“Stitzel-Weller is a Cathedral of Bourbon where some of the country’s most respected bourbons were distilled and aged," said Brand Director Jeff Parrott.  “This lone barrel of Blade and Bow 24-Year-Old contained whiskey distilled by the many legends who have called Stitzel-Weller home. We think it’s a great opportunity to share a piece of bourbon history with our fans. We’re thrilled the proceeds will be going to such a noble cause of community building, benefitting New Yorkers in need.”
“This is a chance to own your very own barrel of bourbon heritage,” said Noah May, Christie’s Wine Specialist. “Blade and Bow 24-Year-Old is a complement to our rare offerings and we’re honored to be a part of history in the making.”

Steve takes a look at and reviews bourbon related products
This month we test...

Reginald's Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter
by Steve Akley
Peanut Butter seems to be getting the reputation as a serial monogamist. First, there was it's seeming soulmate in jelly. That marriage carried it through much of the early 20th century. Then, there was the high profile romance with chocolate made famous by the team from Reese's.

the team at Reginald's Homemade has perhaps found the elusive perfect suitor for peanut butter: bourbon! That's right, bourbon has found it's way into everyone's favorite snack and healthy meal alternative in peanut butter.
                   Check out that full pecan in the upper left side of the bagel on the right.

I elected to go with a bagel as the delivery vehicle for my review of this one. First off, you open up the jar and it smells great. It's a combo peanut/pecan butter and you pick up both along with the distinct presence of the bourbon.

The taste delivers a nice natural peanut butter flavor with sweet pecans (I got a whole one in the initial spread onto my bagel and it was a treat). The bourbon comes in as you work your way through that peanut buttery goodness.

All-in-all, this is a great bourbon product. For only $7 for a artisan peanut butter, I would have to say this is a great value. I would recommend this one as your go-to peanut butter if you are a bourbon lover like me. Of course, this being our Christmas issue, I would say this is fun stocking stuffer for the bourbon fan.
It's Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter time!
Brad Boswell (left) and Steve Akley at a Missouri Whiskey Society event in St. Louis
Brad Boswell Featured on The Bourbon Show - Today!
by Steve Akley
Brad Boswell, the president of Indepdendent Stave Company is featured on the new episode of The Bourbon Show podcast released today.

Check out the show via any of the sites listed below:

Please Give The Bourbon Show a Five Star Review
Much of the success of a podcast is related to the five star reviews it receives. New listeners often find podcasts based on positive reviews and the rankings of shows are dependent on the five star reviews posted by fans of the show. The fact that many listeners are either working out, or on their commutes to-and-from work, means they aren't in the best position to be able to leave a review as they listen.

With this in mind, could you take a moment to head over to iTunes and give our other passion project, The Bourbon Show a five star review? We love your comments, too!

Hunting Season
Living in Kentucky has helped to drive my obsession with bourbon. Yeah, I'm like the rest of the crew, I have a bunker that has enough bourbon in it to last me for at least three years… in case there's a zombie apocalypse. Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if my house caught on fire.  Would it go up like a Heaven Hill rickhouse? Whenever I bring a guest over, and show them my bourbon bunker, I find myself telling them that I am definitely not a bourbon hoarder. I've come to find out, however, that actually kind of means that I am.  I also get asked all of the time, “When I come to Kentucky, where's the best place to buy bourbon?” I have really bad news folks, the rare hard-to-find bourbon I have came from me spending way too much time hunting for it.
Bourbon hunting in Kentucky is nothing to shake a stick at, it’s big business. Every weekend there's a lotto for Pappy’s, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, Parker’s; you name it, somebody's going to have a line of people waiting just to get a chance to spend their well-earned money on buying a bottle of it. If it's not a lotto, then you may find yourself sleeping outside waiting in a line for hours just to get a chance at maybe snagging a bottle of that Holy Grail bourbon you've been thinking about. Some of these events will draw in almost two thousand people. There will be food trucks, music and if you didn't know better you might just think it was a small bourbon festival. At other events, it's more of a tailgating feel, with people smoking cigars and passing flask of good whiskey, with conversation of the amazing scores they have gotten in the past. For me, I don't know what I enjoy better the thrill of the hunt or the taste of sweet success.
This year, Lady Luck didn't shine down on me. I can't tell you how many hours I spent waiting in lines, all just to leave empty handed with a bad case of “bourbon blue balls.”  There is a good side to this story, though, it's the people you get to meet and talk bourbon to while waiting in these lines. These events give me an opportunity to talk about bourbon with other like-minded bourbon fanatics. So, with the end of hunting season fast approaching, I've decided that maybe, I do enjoy the hunt as much than I enjoy the pour.
Cheers and happy hunting my friends.
The Bourbon Sipper is a Louisville resident who writes about activities appealing to bourbon fans visiting Kentucky with her column Off the Bourbon Trail. She is a regular member of the Instagram crew (@bourbonsipper) and she can also be found on Twitter (@bourbonsipperky).

Bourbon tourism in Kentucky is mirroring the rise of bourbon itself and has been doing so, dramatically I might add, for the past couple of years. People come from all over, often planning entire vacations around hitting all the stops of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The Kentucky tourism committee does a good job of printing pamphlets and advertisements that drive tourists to the main distilleries and historical locations along the trail.

The only problem is after about 4:00pm, you will find that most attractions are closing with 8 hours left in the day and your trusty bourbon trail pamphlet leaves you hanging in terms of what to do next. The Kentucky bourbon experience doesn’t have to end when the last tour leaves the distillery in the early afternoons. If the distilleries didn’t supply you with a good enough dose of bourbon intake for the day, there are some places you can visit to make the experience last a little longer so to speak.

The bourbon craze has given rise to numerous bars and restaurants who have built their entire concept around bourbon. So for you visitors coming to Kentucky on a bourbon adventure, this series of articles is designed to give you a handful of options that you might consider for a little after hours action. I have tried to stay away from the higher profile establishments and concentrate on places I like to describe as “where the locals go”. Being that I am a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, I feel like I can provide some useful insight for those looking to plan a visit soon. So if you are in town for Bourbon Festival, Kentucky Bourbon Affair (if you haven’t been to this, check it out), or just hanging around on by chance, make sure to check some of these places out.

What I have tried to do is provide you with 6 points of criteria by which each establishment is judged and then give each establishment a grade on price. Each category is rated on a 5 star basis with one star being bad and five stars being excellent. I hope you guys can find this series of articles helpful during your next visit to Bourbon Country!


Andrew Wiehebrink

The Silver Dollar
1761 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206
Hours: 5:00pm-12:00am Weekdays
10:00am-2:00am+ on Weekends
10:00am-2:00am on Sunday
The place is situated in a very cool building. Appears to be an old firehouse due to the massive garage door that adorns the front of the building. I always get a kick out of the neon sign that hangs off the front of the building, “Whiskey by the Drink”. There is just something really cool and really retro that I find appealing about it. Past the sign out front, there really isn’t much inside that screams bourbon bar. People who love the feel of everything bourbon, probably won’t get too much from the atmosphere here. You won’t find barrel heads or large amounts of memorabilia. However, the well-stocked bar that lines the wall when you walk in does a good job of getting a point across that bourbon hasn’t been neglected. The building is older and the team at Silver Dollar has done a good job of preserving that feel. Exposed brick, old wood, exposed ductwork, and basic furniture all chip in to the simplicity. The large-bulb Christmas lights that stay up year round add a certain coziness to the place, especially around the holidays. Old school country music always plays off a vinyl table which I find adds a nice touch. The neighborhood is stocked with good bars and restaurants so if you don’t feel like spending your night here, there are plenty more “party bars” right down the street. And oh yea, the outdoor patio is perfect for warm nights.

What the place lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in whiskey selection. The bourbon list is very long and well organized by distillery. The team obviously put some thought into the spirit program. Single barrels listed by vintage go back several years. The private barrel selection program here is not unimpressive. Weller 107, Knob Creek, Henry McKenna, J.T.S. Brown, are just some of the private selects up for grabs. All the basics are here and most if not all of the rare Buffalo Trace offerings are present as well. You can pretty much grab it all here. The seasonal cocktail menu has some well-prepared items and the mule is worth a shot.

Some of the bartenders here seem to have an interest in bourbon but I wouldn’t consider them to be full on bourbon geeks. None really seem to be too interested in talking about bourbon or have much information to share. To be honest, there really isn’t much personality at this place that I have seen. Which is just a nice way of saying the bartenders aren’t very nice. Most of the knowledge is probably from a basic training program that includes a distillery visit and some tastings. Although the young lady did seem to take a liking to my Parker Beam t-shirt. Again, they can provide you with some suggestions that are good but don’t expect them to take you on a whiskey tour or be excited about your bourbon obsession.

The food lies somewhere between basic bar food and a mediocre sit down restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good but don’t come expecting a gourmet meal. This place is a bar before restaurant in my opinion. The BBQ is really good, the burgers are premade, and there are some unique dishes but most fail to impress. The menu doesn’t change much and is not seasonal. Try the root vegetables for a surprising treat!

I like to say that the pour is what separates the men from the boys. The bartenders carefully pour your selection in a jigger and then empty it in your glass. Now, most people are perfectly fine with this but I just think a good bourbon bar shouldn’t have to rely on them. It just isn’t as sexy as taking the cork out and tilting the bottle over an empty glass. You aren’t getting any more than you pay for here. They did break my cardinal rule in that my Pappy Van Winkle was poured where I couldn’t see then brought to me. They had no problem with me asking to pour it again where I could see. Although I did get a couple funny looks.

Bang for Your Buck
The price for bourbon is very reasonable here. Couple it with the selection and it makes for a very fair experience. The pours are very light and it becomes apparent why the prices are low. You can get just about any of the BTAC selections for under $45, Old Rip 10 year will run about $19, and all the private barrel selections are between $8 and $12. You can spend $9 on a decent cheeseburger or $26 on some steak so there is some room to wiggle. All said, a cool atmosphere, great selection, decent food, and fair prices make for a good bourbon experience. Give it a shot!
Andrew Wiehebrink is a bourbon scholar, corn scientist, engineer, farmer and cigar enthusiast. You can follow him on Instagram (@andrew_wiehebrnk), where he is regularly interacting with the Bourbon Zeppelin crew.
Jim Beam Double Oak
86 Proof

Color: Medium Amber
Nose: Charred oak, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks
Taste: Spicy cinnamon, figs, oaky goodness 
Finish: Pepper and earthy oak finish, not too hot. For the price, this is a definite "keep on hand" bourbon.
About Mark the Imbiber
Mark the Imbiber 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.
by Derek Haas
Autumn Leaves 🍂🍂🍂

1 ounce Bourbon (Larceny) 

1 ounce Apple Cider 

1/2 ounce Lemon Juice 

1/2 ounce Honey 

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a citrus wheel and some fresh thyme. 

About Derek Haas
Derek Haas AKA @spirited_amateur on Instagram lives in NYC where he is a Manager of Recruiting at a global fashion company. Derek has recently developed a passion for crafted cocktails after visiting the countless speakeasy and cocktail bars around Manhattan. Bourbon is always his first choice but he tries to experiment with other spirits as well.
Submitted by Steve Akley

Walker and I have been trading  coffee/bourbon cocktails on here for the last couple of issues. I thought I would take one last run at the theme with this one that capitalizes on the popularity of hot chocolate in the winter, the growing trend of coffee cocktails and the interest in variations of the Moscow Mule. This one kinda, sorta, touches on all of those.

The Mocha Mule is a delicious drink for sure that even the non-bourbon fan will likely enjoy! Plus, you've got those copper mugs... let's put 'em to work!


1 oz Bourbon

1 oz Coffee Liqueur (I used Bluegrass Sundown but Kahlua will work)
1 Package Hot Chocolate
Crushed Ice

Copper Mug

Mix this one right in your copper mug.
  1. Open hot chocolate packet and pour into mug
  2. Add bourbon
  3. Add coffee liqueur
  4. Fill mug halfway with water
  5. Stir vigorously to dissolve hot chocolate completely
  6. Top off mug with crushed ice
  7. Serve

Steve Akley / @steveakley on Instagram and Twitter
The Bourbon Zeppelin Featured Cocktail is a monthly column shared by Steve Akley and Matt Walker. Matt and Steve enjoy experimenting with mixology and showing the best of their creations in BZ

Yes, they are both competive and try to "one-up" the other one month-to-month.
This Month Aaron Reviews:
Maker's Mark Private Select

For 50-plus years Maker’s Mark has been producing one single product - the standard Maker’s Mark - but in 2010, Bill Samuels Jr. introduced Maker’s 46. Maker’s 46 is standard Maker’s, but aged nine months longer along with ten French oak staves added. Maker’s Cask Strength, which is your standard Maker’s bottle at cask strength and non-chill filtered, was launched in the fall of 2014, followed by the Maker’s 46 Cask Strength. Due to the Maker’s 46’s great success, the private selection program was created earlier this year.

The new Maker’s single barrel program allows the participant to come in and create their own flavor profile for their barrel of Maker’s 46. As I stated above, the standard Maker’s 46 has ten French oak staves in it. With the single barrel program the participant gets to choose from five different types of staves: Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Maker’s 46, Roasted French Mocha, and Toasted French Spice. 


The participant starts by trying the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength as a baseline, and then they get to try the five different versions of a private select barrels - so one is Maker’s Cask Strength aged with ten staves of Baked American pure 2, the next is Maker’s Cask Strength aged with ten staves of Seared French Cuvee, and so on and so forth. After all five versions are tried, the participant picks the staves they would like to be added to their barrel. The staves are added and the bourbon aged for nine months before finally being bottled.


The cool thing about this barrel program is that the participant really chooses the own Maker’s 46 flavor. They could choose all ten Baked American or do 5 and 5 or 2 of each. There are over 1000 different combinations.

Ok, enough of the process and on to the review!


This month I am reviewing a Maker’s Mark private selection picked by the Cork 'n Bottle.  This barrel pick comes in at 111.2 proof, and the oak staves used were 5 baked American Pure 2 and 5 seared French Cuvée.


The color is a darkened amber, and this pick is super thick and rich.


On the nose you get a blast of butterscotch and vanilla pudding up-front, followed by baked apples, coconut, light hints of cinnamon, and big oak.


The palate is killer, just amazing.  This pick is sweet and super nutty.  Up-front it is sweet caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch.  As the sweetness fades away, you get hit with toasted almonds, sugared pecans, and peanuts - finally, at the end, there is a ton of oak and light tobacco.


The finish is hot and long.  Butterscotch, peanuts, and oak - lasting for hours!



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).
Bourbon Nuggets
Before the resurgence in the popularity of bourbon, used bourbon barrels weren't as in demand as they are today. At the highpoint, Wild Turkey had 30,000 used barrels in inventory they couldn't do anything with.

Today, they have zero
Woodford Reserve Master Collection
Classic Malt

Reviewed by: Seth Brown
"If you could bottle up a young, slightly under-ripe, pear whiskey this would be it—it's green but better than I remember it being, I'll give it that much."
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 of reviews you will find in B.Z.
The Jim Beam Small Batch Gift Guide
Pairing the right gift with the right person is key to a fun holiday season. Whether you are searching for the perfect holiday gift for a party host, your boss of a friend/family member, this quick guide will help ensure you are buying the right gift for that special person on your list from the Beam Small Batch collection. 

For the die-hard whiskey fan - Booker's Rye Whiskey
  • Booker's Rye is the first rye whiskey to ever be released by the Booker's Bourbon brand, and was just named "World Whisky of the Year" by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2017. Gifting a bottle of this one-of-a-kind release will show that you have superb taste. Booker's Rye is bottled uncut at its natural proof - 136.2 - and aged for just over 13 years, giving the liquid a robust and spicy finish. 
  • Booker's Rye is available in extremely limited quantities nationwide with an SRP of $299.99 per 750 ml bottle.
For the whiskey aficionado - Booker's Bourbon
  • Booker's Bourbon was originally created by founding distiller Booker Noe as a Christmas gift for friends and family before it was later released under its iconic name. Bottled uncut at its natural proof of 129.7, Booker's Batch 2016-05, also called Booker's "Off Your Rocker," makes the perfect gift for the whiskey aficionado in your life, who enjoys his bourbon full of robust flavor.
  • Booker's "Off Your Rocker" is available nationwide with an SRP of $59.99 per 750 ml bottle.
For the cigar enthusiast - Baker's Bourbon
  • This year, add to your cigar lover's bar cart by gifting them a bottle of Baker's Bourbon. This medium-bodied, 107 proof bourbon is carefully aged for seven years, yielding a robust bourbon with flavors of toasted nut, fruit and vanilla. With a signature silky smooth finish, Baker's is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks and paired with your favorite cigar, or in twist on your favorite classic cocktail.
  • Baker's Bourbon is available nationwide with an SRP of $49.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

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

This Month, BZ Reader Renee Howe Talks About:
Eagle Rare

So what’s a gal from Canada doing falling in love with bourbon when she should be eating moose and drinking lamb’s with coke? First of all Moose, eww (sorry Dad); and second, I gave up clear alcohols awhile ago.

Let’s start with some truths. I actually couldn't stand the smell of bourbon, let alone the taste of it. The only bourbon experience I had was doing a shot of it before an Oscar viewing party. Yes, it seemed like a fine time to shoot some bourbon.

What it comes down to is: I didn't choose this bourbon life, it chose me. Rather a pretty bottle caught my eye. And the rest, as they say, is history. But I’m not here to talk about that first pretty bottle. I’m here to talk about my favourite bottle and how you should never judge a book by its cover. Or in this case a bottle by its cork.

Eagle Rare.
This bottle did not catch my eye, it was 100% a recommendation by a friend and I am 100% easily influenced. Eagle Rare was a tricky little bugger to find in my local LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario), but I tracked that guy down and I am so glad I did.


I honestly say this about every new bottle I try, but I really mean it about this one.

I’m a newbie at this bourbon game and I felt I needed to heighten my bourdon drinking experience. I’ve seen some of my favourite bourbon drinkers drinking from those fancy little glasses. So I said to myself if it’s good enough for those guys, it’s good enough for me. I don’t know what Eagle Rare taste like in any old glass but boy did I make the right choice. Pretty glasses and good bourbon mix well.

What I do know about Eagle Rare is that it’s made in Kentucky by Buffalo Trace Distillery (I totally looked that up) and it’s enjoyed worldwide.

Right off the bat, I love the smell. It smells like the colour is looks. It’s that delicious caramel smell that’s like sweet alcohol, kinda like my Nanna’s breath. Uh, I mean her kitchen, like when she’s baking, yeah “baking”. (Nan, if you’re reading this…we all know you drink a little. I use the word “little” loosely.)

The tasting notes on the website are as follows:
Nose: Complex aromas of toffee, hints of orange peel, herbs, honey, leather and oak.
Taste: Bold, dry, oaky flavours with notes of candied almonds and very rich cocoa.
Finish: Dry and lingering.

What Renee got when she first tasted it:
Nose: smells good, like sweet alcohol
Taste: taste good, like sweet alcohol
Finish: you get a lingering sweet alcohol taste but I couldn’t rely on that first time, it’s about the second time.

I could smell the toffee mixed with honey and leather and oak. I could taste the dry oaky flavours with candied almonds and rich cocoa.

And then the finish…ooooo the finish. It’s bliss and it lingers. The first sip is the best, legs tingled and cheeks flushed.

What makes Eagle Rare my favourite bottle has nothing to do with the bottle. It does have everything to do with the taste and the fact that it’s the first bottle I grab from my very meek collection. It’s easy to drink and the perfect bourbon for first timers.
Renee Howe is a Kitchener, Ontario resident who enjoys fashion in addition to drinking bourbon. Renee is a regular member of the bourbon crew on Instagram (renee_m_h) and she can also be found on Twitter (reneehowe).

Please reach out and tell us so we can feature you in a future edition:
Click here to tell us about your favorite bottle!
Wild Turkey Master's Keep

The Review
Wild Turkey's Master's Keep is something to behold. Eddie Russell's 17 year-old bourbon is literally kept is a piece of art. The "raised turkey" emblazoned bottle is so cool.

None of that matter if the whiskey doesn't hold up. It more than holds it's own... it is outstanding! Flavors of caramel, French toast, orange, marshmallow, and cinnamon come bursting through as you enjoy this incredibly smooth offering.
The verdict on this AWESOME offering...
This one is... 
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!





Bourbon Nuggets
On November 7, 1996 there was a fire at a Heaven Hill warehouse. Fueled by 75 mph winds, the fire ravaged the Heaven Hill campus. Over 90,000 barrels of bourbon were lost, which was approximately 2% of the whiskey in the world at that time.
Custom Whiskey Tags
by Steve Akley
Our friends at RoundTable Woodworks are getting creative with used bourbon barrels once again. They recently started making miniature signs that come complete with a chain to hang around the neck of a bottle. The best thing is they are fully customizable. You are only limited as to what you can put on your tag by your imagination (and the approximate 1" x 3" space).

Best of all, they are completely unfinished and still smell like bourbon! 

These tags truly make the perfect capper to a bottle gifted a the holidays. Pick them up for less than the cost of a bourbon cocktail!
Sample Gallery - A Look at What Round Table Woodworks Can Do:
Pick Up Your Whiskey Tags Here
Hosted this month by Bill Alexander

I have to say that when Steve asked me, an engineer, to WRITE an article for the "BZ" I was worried about my knowledge and skills. Also, we (the wife and I) are such bourbon noobs that would I embarrass us with our inexperience of everything. Then, I found out I just needed to write about “what historical figure would you like to have a drink with?” Initially I wanted to be selfish and say my dad who passed in 2005, but I wanted to give some type of spin to this.


After a couple of days, I let this sink in and the engineer brain starts to kick in...overanalyze everything. Should it be Gandhi? Martin Luther King Jr? JFK? Reagan? Lets not forget the ladies! Mother Theresa? Marilyn Monroe? Betsey Ross? Kim Kardashian!? (only kidding)...but, all of this got the wheels turning to WHO had ties to the distilling business and one guy (sorry gals) stood out to me. George Washington.

Somehow George (yes, we’re on a first name basis already) and I are touring around Bardstown in one of these new-fangled motor carriages, with an H on the front of course (not one of those italic ones either). As we speed along, George is amazed by all the giant, mostly white, buildings. He inquires about what these behemoths may be. I share that they are warehouses for storing whiskey and his brows raise and he nods in approval. We make our way into town and head to the Old Talbott Tavern and their whiskey selection.

Since GW is a guest in our era, I offer some suggestions as to libations to loosen up the mood and discuss distilling in the past and current. Over a bottle of Willett 23-year bourbon (hey, Steve’s paying) I ask about George’s foray into distilling (while he’s LOVING the Willett). He tells me that it was at the arm twisting of his farm manager, James Anderson, to give it a go; Anderson had the distilling experience from his homeland of Scotland. So, in 1797 they began distilling with 2 stills, but they quickly noticed 2 would not keep up with demand. In February of the following year, they were operating 5 stills as quickly as they could produce. As the Willett sinks in Geo, yea, it’s like that now, starts bragging about how they were the only distillery growing their own crops, milling them, distilling and then feeding the waste to the livestock on the farm. The site also contained its own cooperage onsite where they built barrels for transportation...none of Geo’s whiskey was aged or bottled. It was shipped out in barrels to local merchants for distribution. At this point I’m glad Geo is well liquored because I want to discuss his distillery at the time of his demise. Upon his death in 1799 the distillery was producing 11,000 gallons per year or 211 gallons per week...which is chump-change in this day and age. He shares that from the great beyond is was tough to watch the distillery fall apart and the stones be removed from the walls for other purposes. I share that a great thing happened in 2007...The George Washington distillery was reopened! He beams with pride. I share that things are done much different now. Products are aged and shipped in bottles emblazoned with his profile. Sad to say, the Talbott does not have a bottle of GW on it’s shelves.

We laugh and carry on about how terrible politics are and he wants to try other libations, so I lay out my BZ AmEx Black Card and tell him the bar is his playground. He samples many fine bourbons from top to bottom shelf and by this time we’re totally staggering around. He stated that “Whatever Willett is doing people will probably buy it.” I laugh heartily and tell him that it’s some of the most sought after nectar in all the great U.S of A. We stumble out onto the sidewalk in a very late hour. I give the founding father a big bear hug (what else would a hug champion do) and we lean on each other as we walk down the street. The cool air whips our faces and a fog blows in while a full moon is overhead. As we stagger down the street all of the sudden I realize I am alone and leaning on a wall talking to myself. I wake the next morning in my hotel with a splitting headache and wonder if it was all a dream.

Bill Alexander / @billalex70 on Instagram
Ohio-resident Bill Alexander is a regular member of the bourbon crew on Instagram. He may be new to bourbon but he's making up for lost time!
Husband and wife team Kate and Kris Kettner answer your bourbon questions!
What is your favorite column in Bourbon Zeppelin?
- Ben H.
My favorite column in Bourbon Zeppelin is the Public Service Announcement by Evan Haskill. 

It's short. It's sweet. It's funny. Also, it's right after our column. 😉 

Thanks to Ben H. 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 your 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!
Bourbon Nuggets
In 1778, General George Washington ordered "one gill*" of whiskey everyday for his 12,000 troops encamped in Valley Forge. It wasn't just for his troops, though. Washington also enjoyed his one gill a day as well.

*A "gill" is a term of measurement no longer used but equates to 1/4 of a pint.
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 the announcer of The Bourbon Show podcast. He can be found on Instagram (@evanhaskill), Twitter (@haskillevan) and Untappd (@bourbon_neat84).
HO, HO, HO, HO, HO,HO.  What would you like this year for Christmas, fully grown man?!

Ummm, I would like some Pappy Van Winkle, George T. Stagg, Thomas H. Handy, and anything else you’ve been hoarding in the North Pole.
Well, we have all been on the hunt for the past month.  Some of us have done really well, others have infuriatingly struck out.  Don’t worry, IT’S NOT OVER YET!!!  Most of the crazy is over, but this is the time when the local store owners like to surprise faithful hunters and loyal customers with a bottle that they stashed in the back. 
I was at a liquor store last year the week of Christmas pondering what to grab for my family get together (they are not whiskey enthusiasts like I am) when a manager walked up and asked if I needed any help.  I told him that I was just trying to decide what to bring with and exclaimed that I had not seen him in that store before, “usually I see Brittany and John, nice of you to give them the day off!”  He told me that he was actually a district manager and he was just making last rounds before the holiday.
“You must come here a lot if you know them by name”
 “They are great!  Sometimes I’m here for a long time and walk out with only one bottle but they both are always incredibly attentive and helpful!”
The manager asked if I had a minute to “hang out” as he ran to his car.  To my surprise he came back with a bottle of George T. Stagg and said, “This is sure to impress your family! And anyone that speaks that way of our people must be a good person himself. Merry Christmas!”
I couldn’t believe it. I had “finished my hunt” for the year and packed it in patting myself on the back and here I score a bottle of GTS. The moral of the story is, it aint over till the fat man comes down the chimney. This is the time of year when people like to feel generous and usually to “good people”. Keep building relationships, keep taking care of your store employees, and stay hopeful for the unicorn you’ve been hunting!
Whatever you celebrate this season, may it be joyous and celebrated with your family….and Whiskey!
About Corey Chandler
Corey Chandler lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he enjoys bourbon hunting with his wife. 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

Can I Refill Your Eggnog?

Eggnog is one of those holiday traditions that we all enjoy but I bet you don’t know why. It's one of those drinks that always makes an appearance at the holiday party, and since its there, you have to have a glass, right?  But where did eggnog originate and why do we love it so much? 

Let’s find out!
Defined in the Oxford English dictionary, “nog” means “ a kind of strong beer brewed in East Anglia.”  So you can see that it dates back a few centuries. It's also been debated that the “nog” came from the Middle English term “noggin,” which was a small wooden mug which was used to serve alcoholic drinks. Monks were known to drink this warm frothy drink with figs dating back to the 13th century! 

This drink was consumed in America by early settlers, who often had easy access to rum, which was commonly referred to as “grog.”  Over time, it is speculated that they words merged and it became known as “grog-n-nog” and later it evolved to “eggnog.” Early settlers used the rum and frothy egg mixture and added spices to it to improve the taste. During the colonization of America and the prevalence of corn as a staple crop, bourbon was introduced as a main ingredient. Farmers stored their corn in kegs, making it easy to transport across the country. The deep oaky taste of the bourbon gave the eggnog a different taste than the rum. 
Eggnog was a “society drink” and was favored by those with wealth. George Washington served it to visitors to the frontier, and it was said to pack the punch of rye whiskey, rum and sherry! The basic spirits can vary widely from country but generally are bourbon, rum, or brandy. Milk or cream, sugar, raw eggs, vanilla, spices, and nutmeg are added to the spirit of choice. While the ingredients in eggnog are available year-round, eggnog is a heavy drink and is usually associated with the colder months around the holiday seasons. The alcohol content tends to be pretty high and it is perfect for navigating those uncomfortable company holiday parties! The historic reason for the high alcoholic content was actually to serve as a preservative to the drink, as the heavy cream and eggs lent themselves to quick spoilage in the days before modern refrigeration. 
So when the family is gathered around the table for your holiday dinner and they are arguing about politics or you are listening to the same story about Cousin Billy for the seventh time, break up the monotony with some eggnog facts. I bet you’ll be the star of the day!  And don’t forget to plan ahead and have a batch ready to share! 
Here’s a quick and easy recipe that is guaranteed to put some cheer into your holiday!

Bourbon Eggnog
Serves 12
12 large egg yolks
2 cups sugar
4 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and the sugar until smooth and frothy. Whisk in the milk, cream, bourbon and vanilla extract. Transfer into a pitcher or punch bowl for serving.

Top each individual serving with freshly grated nutmeg.

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!
Bourbon Nuggets
The mint julep is a signature bourbon cocktail that is associated with the Kentucky Derby almost as much as the horses themselves. The original mint julep recipe at the Derby actually called for Early Times, which is a Kentucky Whiskey, but not a bourbon (they utilize used barrels making it not a bourbon). Woodford Reserve is now the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby and is utilized in the signature mint juleps there.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Installs New Grain Dryer, Replacing Existing 1950s-Era Dryer
Distillery recycles roughly 750,000 lbs of distilled dried grains each week
This summer Buffalo Trace Distillery replaced one of its grain dryers that dated back to the 1950s. However, removing the dryer and inserting the new one was no small feat. In order to install the new, 63,853 pound dryer, the Louisville Dryer Company had to hoist the massive dryer over the Kentucky River and into the Distillery’s Dryhouse, using a large crane.           

Now in place among four other dryers in use at Buffalo Trace Distillery, the new dryer, though the same size as the one it replaced, is capable of handling 30 percent more work. The Distillery uses these grain dryers to dry the spent grains that were used in the whiskey-making process, then sees that all of its distilled dried grains are recycled and put to use in other ways, specifically by shipping them off to local farmers for feeding livestock and making a variety of food products, like biscuit and pancake mix.
The Distillery keeps its dryers busy six days a week to keep up with its bourbon production, and sends off roughly 750,000 pounds of distilled dried grains each week to farmers who then reuse that dried grain. Buffalo Trace even sells some of the products made with its recycled grain in its Gift Shop.
“Everything has a purpose around here,” Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley said. “Nothing goes to waste. Once our grains serve our intents in our whiskey making process we’re happy to be able to support our local farmers and give that spent grain another purpose.”
The new dryer installation took place during Buffalo Trace’s annual summer shut down, which typically lasts from about mid-June through the beginning of August. The Distillery uses that time to deep clean all facets of the distilling process and make necessary repairs in order to keep things running efficiently and to get the most use out of its equipment. It’s safe to say that each dryer at Buffalo Trace sees its fair use, as it still has two dryers in place that date back to the 1940s. These old faithful machines will likely be replaced in the coming years as well.
A time lapse video of the dryer removal and installation, produced by the Louisville Dryer Company can be
viewed here.
Steve Akley Releases Two New Cocktail Books
Bourbon Mixology (vol. 3)

Coffee & Holiday Mixology

Bourbon Zeppelin's own Steve Akley has released two new cocktail books sure to be hot sellers this holiday season. The first, Bourbon Mixology, is the third in the series and features bars sharing their best bourbon cocktail.

The second book, Coffee and Holiday Mixology, follows the format of having iconic bars sharing their signature cocktail, but this time its coffee cocktails and holiday-themed drinks. Akley notes, "With coffee being so popular as a morning drink, it made sense to explore what you could do with it in cocktails. I also like the idea of holiday-themed drinks since most holiday parties feature cocktails. Why not make the party even more fun by having the same drinks some of the best bars in the United States have during the season?"

At a price point of under $20 for the pair they make the perfect holiday gift for the cocktail fan on your holiday list this year. Both books are available on Amazon now.
'Tis the Season...
There's no tree, tinsel or sleighs here, but doesn't this snow covered barrel from Wood Hat Spirits (New Florence, Missouri), just put you in the holiday spirit?

Yeah, we thought so!
This month Chrissy shares a recipe created for Bourbon Zeppelin Readers
Orange Bourbon Cranberry Bread
This Recipe Uses:
We are in full swing of the holiday season & my favorite holiday will be coming up this month, Christmas! I love this time of year! The holidays allow for us to take a step back from our every day lives, to reflect & enjoy what is most important, our families, friends & loved ones. 
For me & my family cooking is a traditional part of the holidays. We spend the week before Christmas preparing cooking & baking for the Feast of the Seven fishes on Christmas Eve, then another big dinner on Christmas day. Needless to say its a lot of food for two-3 days, but thats just what we enjoy doing, sitting around the table together, catching up eating, drinking, laughing & crying! 
This month I’m going to share with you one of my favorite breads that you can have on Christmas morning with your coffee or even have as part of your dessert tray. Its sweet, tart and bourbonlicious! This recipe I have had to change over the years to fit my gluten free diet, however, if you decide to make this gluten free, you will be amazed that it isn’t full of gluten. (Its that good ;) 
The recipe calls for GF Flour & xantham gum, if you decide to go full gluten with this bread, just replace the gluten free flour with regular all purpose flour & omit the xanathan gum. Just don't forget to add the bourbon!
Have a happy & safe holiday and remember to #EatResponsibly

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces fresh cranberries, halved 
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for cranberry mixture) 
1 Cinnamon stick (for cranberry mixture)
1/2 Cup Belle Meade Sour Mash Whiskey Straight Bourbon  (optional) replace with water or orange juice if you choose not to use bourbon 
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature*
1/2 cup (108 g) sour cream, at room temperature*

(*The milk and sour cream together can be replaced by 1 cup (227 g) plain whole milk yogurt, or with 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) real buttermilk) 
In a medium bowl, add the cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick, 1/2 of your orange zest & bourbon (or water/ orange juice) and allow to sit (stirring occasionally) for a minimum of two hours. (however the longer you allow for it to sit the more flavorful the cranberries become, i usually will let mine sit overnight)
 When you are ready to make the bread, Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment , or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, add in the butter & the remaining orange zest. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, beating well after each addition.

In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place the cranberry halves in a strainer to drain them from the liquid. once they are drained, place them in a small bowl & add about one tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries, and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside. 
To the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick but smooth. Add the cranberries that are coated with the reserved dry ingredients, and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, it will fill to the top of the pan. Smooth the top with a wet spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar or you could also sprinkle with a coarser sugar, like sugar in the raw.  Place the pan in the center of your preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
Get the "story behind the story" for this recipe, along with other recipes incorporating bourbon as an ingredient on Chrissy's blog (click on the site name below to check it out):
A Lil' Dab of Bourbon
About Chrissy Martin
Chrissy Martin is a whisk(e)y sommelier residing in the greater Kansas City metro area. In addition to her love for bourbon, she enjoys cooking. As a trained sommelier, she is able to combine her love for food with bourbon by pairing them together. Like most of the BZ team, Chrissy is a regular member of the bourbon crew on Instagram (@alildabofbourbon).
Learn Something Guy
If you see him, pay attention... education is straight ahead!
Master Distillers are the force behind the scenes putting together the flavor profiles you enjoy as well as the face of the brands. You look like a real idiot when you don't know the Masters Distillers at some of these big distilleries. Here's a quick guide to some notable Master Distillers to help you look like less of an idiot.

Jim Beam - Fred Noe
Heaven Hill - Craig Beam and Denny Potter
Wild Turkey - Eddie and Jimmy Russell
Brown-Forman - Chris Morris
Four Roses - Brent Elliott
Buffalo Trace - Harlan Wheatley
Maker's Mark - Greg Davis
Jack Daniel's - Jeff Arnett
Willett - Drew Kulsveen
Bulleit - Tom Bulleit
Castle and Key - Marianne Barnes

Jefferson's - Trey Zoeller (Master Blender)
About Learn Something Guy
Learn Something Guy is one of the most brilliant minds from the world of bourbon... he's just a bit of a tool. Knowing this, and If you go in with the right attitude, you just might learn something every time he appears in Bourbon Zeppelin.
A Bourbon-Lover's "Beginner's Guide to Tequila"
by Sophisticated Spirits
Most folks tend to be introduced to the world of fine spirits through “fairly neutral,” less abrasive-to-the-tongue-and-gut, delights like bourbon, whiskey, brandy or sherry. This was simply not the case for me. My appreciation for the crafted artisanship of ol’ 90+ proofs came from the high and lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The reputation of tequila in the US, fortunately for me, has yet to come anything close to a ‘bourbon-boom’-style popularity. While there are so many options for extremely passionate tequila drinkers out west, the movement has not yet found a strong foothold with many east coast retailers outside of small pockets of Florida and New York.

I am here to tell any bourbon enthusiast out there that you will find that the right tequila has a surprising amount in common with your favorite corny dram, from a taste and sipping perspective. So sit back for a moment, and let me share how tequila actually opened my eyes to the world of bourbon, and not the other way around.

First of all, when I am talking about looking for the right tequila, there are 5 things that I should point out as good rules of thumb:
  1. A fine tequila should be sipped, not shot, just like bourbon.
  2. A fine tequila needs NOTHING added to it to bring out its richness, or dull its burn, because there shouldn’t be a burn. A good tequila can sit comfortably on your tongue just as smoothly as a cup of water (i.e. Throw away the salt, the lime, the margarita mix, or whatever else in God’s name you may have added to result in your “waking up on the lawn of a frat house with your pants missing that one time”)
  3. A fine tequila doesn’t contain the word “Gold” (unless there it is followed immediately by “medal winning”)
  4. A fine tequila will not cost you less than $45
  5. A fine tequila should have zero connections with insects (bees, worms, moths, etc.)
Many bourbon drinkers who are inexperienced with good tequila think that the unique, almost citrus-y taste of Blue Agave, the plant from which any proper tequila is 100% derived, tends to overwhelm the palate. This is not only a relatively TRUE generalization of major commercial “tequila” brands such as Patron (at any age), Cuervo, Herradura, etc., but also true of craft members of the “tequila extended family” such as sotol or mescal. After one or two bad experiences, many may have turned away from the true spirit.
The liquor cabinet at Sophisticated Spirits worldwide headquarters in Colorado
As someone who has a liquor cabinet comprised of almost an equal ratio of bourbons and tequilas, I can unequivocally say that the first thing to look for in a tequila would be for it to share the taste characteristics that it has most in common with bourbon: notes including a strong vanilla nose and butterscotch, pepper and caramel on the tongue with a clean, lingering, sweet finish. These are all qualities I am seeking out when finding a new favorite bourbon OR tequila.

When experimenting at a bar, shy away from a young tequila (Plata, Silver, Blanco), as they will have the most uniquely-agave tasting characteristics. Look for fine Mexican restaurants who boast an assortment of no less than 40 different bottles of tequila, as you are most likely to find a bartender there with some wisdom who can steer you in the right direction. Tell them what you are looking for in a taste profile, but be bold and daring. Describe what you would like EXACTLY in terms of your favorite bourbon. You’ll be surprised at the magic you will discover.

Out of the 20-something imbibers I know who either completely swear by mainly whiskey, bourbon or Scotch or have been burned by tequila, I have made believers out of no less than 90% of them. A few bourbon-similar recommendations I would make for your bourbon trail detour south of the border (“all aboard the tequila train”) are as follows:

Blancos: Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine

Reposados: Tequila Ocho, Organic 1-2-3 (2), ArteNom Seleccion 1414, Corazon Expresiones (Reposado aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels), Don Fernando, Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine, Muchote

Anejos: Dos Armadillos (my personal, all time favorite tequila), Manana, Los Azulejos, Fortaleza, La Penca Azul, Casa Noble, Tesoro Paradiso Extra Anejo, Tequila Ocho Extra Anejo

Also, check out the “Tequila Whisperer’s” web show for some truly, deep dives into the obscure, up and coming world of small batch tequila in the US. Keep an open mind, and an open palete, bourboneers.

There is fantastic richness awaiting you, that won’t ever cost you an arm and a leg.

Jason Hockney Zeimet is a spirits enthusiast out of Colorado. He imbibes on an infrequent basis, and the typical shelf life of a rare bottle in his liquor cabinet is 10+ years. He goes by @SophisticatedSpirits on Instagram & doesn’t use any other social media.

Wanna Try Something Different is a column dedicated to introducing different types of whisk(e)y beyond just bourbon. While true fans always put bourbon first, we often like to expand our horizons a bit by trying other types and styles of whisk(e)y. The question of where does American Whiskey, Scotch, Rye, Japanese Whisky, etc. fit into Bourbon Zeppelin is now answered quite simply, "Right here!"
This Month's Selection...
Track #08
by The Lost Abbey
Happy Holidays fellow bourbon lovers and friends. I found what I consider the perfect beer to drink once the last relative has backed out of the driveway and the pile of dishes can wait till the morning: Lost Abbey's Track #08.

This quadruple is filled with holiday cheer aged in bourbon barrels, with dried chili peppers, cinnamon sticks, and a base of raisins. I found it to be heavy on the bourbon side, lots of dark fruit in the middle and spicy on the end. Perfectly balanced. At 13.7% ABV it's the perfect put your feet up treat. And at $20 for the 12oz bottle you deserve to keep it all to yourself.

I give it 4 out of 5.
About Six Feet of Dynamite
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 (@sixfeetofdynmite for either Instagram or Untappd).
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!

Noble Handcrafted Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak Vinegar
Mikuni Wild Harvest may have created the ultimate vinegar. They start with a Spanish sherry vinegar as the base. They then age it in used Tuthilltown bourbon barrels that had already been used to age maple syrup. The end result is a complex flavor profile that includes bourbon notes and maple syrup complementing the premium vinegar.

At $24.99, you get a wonderfully unique product that is packaged beautifully (all the way down to a wax seal on the top). Pick up a bottle by clicking here.
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!
Here's a Look at What's Hot on the Secondary Market at the Prices they are Fetching:

2016 William Larue Weller
Retail - $90
Secondary - $700

2016 Rip Van Winkle Rye
Retail - $99
Secondary - $1,000

2015 Thomas H. Handy Rye
Retail - $80
Secondary - $700

2015 Sazerac 18 Year Old
Retail - $80
Secondary - $975

2015 George T. Stagg
Retail - $80
Secondary - $600
About Matt Saunds
Matt Saunds is a store supervisor at Village Wine and Spirits in Sleepy Hollow, New York where he manages the sale of inventory on the secondary market for the store. He also has a consulting business on his own helping clients buy and sell rare and hard-to-get distilled spirits. Matt is a regular with the rest of the B.Z. crew on Instagram (@msaunds27). You can reach him via email by clicking here.
A Look at Old Crow

I was so happy to hear that at least 3 people read my article. I know that because I have 3 requests for reviews. I love doing requests because it is giving people what they want. This month, I‘m going to review Old Crow 80 proof as suggested by Andy R. I will review the other 2 in my next 2 articles. Only Carl S. and Doug H. know what these are. I picked Old crow first because it is a very fun subject because there is a lot of pop culture behind it. My favorite bit of pop culture is when Principal McVicker is driven to madness by Beavis and Butthead’s constant laughter in the “No Laughing” episode he reaches in his desk and starts slamming a bottle of Old Crow.

Another recent pop reference is the mention in the Beastie Boys song "Slow Ride" in the lyrics, "I'm fly like an eagle and I drink Old Crow," on the group's first album Licensed to Ill, released in 1986. The song "Suits and Ladders" by NOFX from their 2009 Album Coaster contains the lyrics, "I just finished a bottle of Old Crow". One of the most famous drinkers of Old Crow was American general and later 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. A story about Grant's drinking has the general's critics going to President Abraham Lincoln, charging the military man with being a drunk. Lincoln is supposed to have replied, "By the way, gentlemen, can either of you tell me where General Grant procures his whiskey? Because, if I can find out, I will send every general in the field a barrel of it!" Two of the country’s greatest writers were also big fans Mark Twain and journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Twain reportedly visited the distillery in the 1880s, and Old Crow advertised this heavily.

An advertisement for Old Crow Rye Whiskey in the December 31, 1909 edition of The New York Times.  
James C. Crow, a Scottish immigrant, started distilling what would come to be Old Crow in Frankfort, Kentucky, in the 1830s. He invented the sour mash process in 1835 as it says on the bottle. He made whiskey which was sold as "Crow" or, as aged, "Old Crow" – and the brand acquired its reputation from the latter. James Crow died in 1856, and while W.A. Gaines and Company kept the name, and continued to distill the bourbon according to his recipe, the original distillation formula died with its creator. The last remaining stock of Old Crow (of which there seemed to have been quite a bit) acquired near-legendary status. Offering drinks of it, reportedly secured a re-election for Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn, senator for Kentucky. A dispute over ownership of the name "Old Crow" was decided in 1915 in favor of the Gaines company. Old Crow's logo, a crow perched atop grains of barley, is rumored to stem as a symbol bridging the North and South during the Civil War. A Pennsylvania brigade training at State College, Pennsylvania thought Old Crow was the only good thing to ever come out of the south. Fearing never being able to drink Old Crow again, the soldiers wrote Lincoln proclaiming "We must not let the fine gentleman Old Crow escape. Remember Mr. President, the crow with the sharpest talons holds on to barley forever." After the War the logo was changed from a picture of James Crow to the current crow holding onto barley.
Although Old Crow had been, at one time, the top selling bourbon in the United States, it underwent a swift decline in the second half of the twentieth century. A production error in the amount of "setback" (the portion of spent mash added to a new batch in the sour mash process) negatively affected the taste of the whiskey, and the distiller's inability or unwillingness to correct it led to many drinkers moving on to other brands. Parent company National Distillers would be sold to Jim Beam in 1987; the Old Crow recipe and distillery were not kept and the product after this would be a three-year-old bourbon based on the Jim Beam mashbill.

Feeling nostalgic, I’ve thrown on Hell Awaits by Slayer and dusted off my Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn glass. I love it!! I have had Old Crow before as it is only $9.99 a fifth (750ml). I tend to stick to the cheaper brands as I drink pretty close to a whole fifth when I drink. I can’t afford to blast a hundred or hundreds of dollars on a night of bourbon. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE the good stuff, in fact I just wish I could drink it daily but I also am a fan of cheaper offerings like Old Crow.

Here is my review:
Color:  Light Amber
Body:  Heavy Oak taste
Nose: Oak, Mint, Alcohol, Apple
Palate:  Mellow burn, over powering Oak
Finish: Still a lot of Oak but smooth with a slight Apple taste

I do like this!!!

This one gets a \m/ full blown metal salute. It is good on the rocks and also not too expensive to mix. I also like the nostalgia around Old Crow. Like I said, this is a frequent choice of mine due to economic constraints. I like to sip it on the rocks by the pool in the summer. I even sometimes in the fall mix it with Apple cider. I really had some fun writing this article especially since it was a request. Thanks Andy R.

If anyone has something they don’t want to try I will try it for them. I will be your taste tester. Just drop me a line c/o Bourbon Zeppelin. Well until next month I’ll be sipping Bourbon and staying Metal in Detroit.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season with your Families!!!!!!!!
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.
There is something about bourbon that pairs well in photos with a fully decorated Christmas tree. We are celebrating the season by putting out a request to get creative and share a photo of your Christmas tree and some boutbon with the hashtag #BZTree.

Let's get Instagram and Twitter a little "holly-ier" (just roll with me on that one) and "jollier" with some cool Christmas tree and bourbon photos!
Do you care to share a photo of a bourbon section you've found in your travels? Would you like to share your personal bourbon hoard? Email those photos to the B.Z. team and we'll run them in a future issue!
The Perfect Cocktail for Your Holiday Gatherings

by Steve Akley
Becoming an author has been a journey for me... one where I haven't been able to follow a map to get to where I am at today. I was looking through one of my Mom's Entertainment Weekly magazines back in 2014, when I saw a cocktail recipe inspired by the movie It's a Wonderful Life. They drink in the movie, but no recipe is shared so a bartender who specialized in classic cocktails created a punch that would be reflective of the era.

At that same time, I was working on
Bourbon Mixology (volume 1) that was going to be bourbon cocktail recipes from the distilleries featured in my Small Brand America: Special Bourbon Edition book. That Entertainment Weekly article got me to wondering if bartenders would be willing to share signature bourbon cocktails if I developed a book of iconic bars sharing their best bourbon cocktails. I reached out to Louise and asked if I could reprint her It's a Wonderful Life inspired Windmill Winter Wine recipe in Bourbon Mixology and for her thoughts on my new book idea.

She was in for all of it and
Bourbon Mixology: 50 Iconic Bars Share their Signature Bourbon Cocktails was born. It's been my most successful book to date and this receipe literally started it all. I present to you Louise Owens' Windmill Winter Wine, which is sure to be the hit of your holiday party this year!
Windmill Winter Wine
Recipe by Louise Owens of the Windmill Lounge (Dallas, Texas)
  • 1 Bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 Cup bourbon
  • ½ Cup raisins
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 8 Whole cloves
  • 1 Orange, halved
  • 1 Slice fresh ginger ¼” thick
  1. ​Pour wine and bourbon into a slow cooker
  2. Place other ingredients into cheesecloth and tie closed, then add to the slow cooker
  3. Heat for 30 – 45 minutes (do not boil)
  4. Ladle into glass mugs
  5. Garnish with fresh citrus or dried fruits
Serves 8
And finally...
I'm Waging a War
(and your coming with me)

My grandpa always told me, “Shop local, and keep the money in the community Kiddo.” I do believe those are words to live by. Keeping the money in the community is the only way to secure the small specialty stores survival, so the big chain stores aren’t coming in, and changing the landscape for good.

Maybe you really don’t care too much about the private owned stores, thinking they all belong in the past, with the rest of the old dinosaurs. The chain owned stores are simply a result of the progress in the modern world, and there’s not much you can do about that fact. Who wants to wage war against windmills, like some half crazy Don Quijote?

Well, I do, and I want you to join the crusade.


I tell you why. Because I hate the fact that my world is getting standardized, and every time a privately owned store, is forced to close its doors for good, we move one step closer to the abyss, and its driving me crazy.

Because the chain stores all look the same and most important are forced to carry a standardized assortment. Meaning, if you desire something that you don’t see on the shelves, too bad my friend. There’s no way that the chain stored are able to get a hold of it for you, simply because they can’t buy anything that isn’t in their product sheet. Where the one man owned store understands it’s in everybody’s best interest that he helps you out. Their survival depends on their service, and they know it.

Furthermore, I like shopping at my local stores. It’s nice being greeted as a friend by the owner, who knows my family and me on a more “personal level." They say hello to our kids, hand them candy once and a while and they know what I came in for, almost before I know.

Sometimes funny exchanges happen. Like this one time when I changed my cigarette brand. The store owner continued to hand me my old label, for almost a week, before getting used to the new one.

Same rule applies when it comes to your local small craft distillery.

Please help them out, and buy their product. You are supporting a great cause here.

It’s not because I got anything against the Kentucky mega brands, but small craft distillers stand for something truly unique, in a world ruled big the big guys.

Those distilleries are truly passionate about their product, and are often bringing whisk(e)y back to its roots, once again making whisk(e)y the old school way. For example, my local new and upcoming whisky distillery, are floor malting their barley. How many distilleries in Scotland are still able to brag about that?

In the 2 or 3 people operated small craft distilleries, a lot of the processes are done by hand, and often the owner/owners are operating everything and doing all the work in the distillery. What I’m trying to say here is, if you spend your entire funds and future building a distillery, and are literally getting your hands dirty, in every step of the distilling process, you are by definition super passionate about your product, and want to make the best possible whisk(e)y you can. Furthermore, the small craft distillers often have to rely upon the locals buying their product in their startup phase, and are therefore eager to communicate and interact with the consumers. That’s a great opportunity for any whisk(e)y fan, to getting to know and visiting their local distillery. Last but not least, who doesn’t want to play a small part of something great, and being looked upon as a friend of the distillery?

So now you hopefully knows where to buy your Christmas present, for that significant someone in your life.

Cheers and Merry Christmas

Hasse Berg

About Hasse Berg
Hasse Berg is a passionate whisk(e)y fan and blogger from Denmark. He serves Bourbon Zeppelin as the Associate Editor. His site, Son Of Winston Churchill "A Part Of The Secret Whisk(e)y Society" features independent whiskey reviews and talk. Check out Hasse Berg's Instagram page: @Hasse_Berg

Check out Hasse Berg's S.O.W.C. blog by clicking here!
Trivia Question Answer
You had a 50/50 shot with this one being a True or False question. The answer...


At least almost all of the time anyway.

White dog and white lightning are in fact both white whiskies (the term white associated with whiskey means it hasn't been aged). White lightning is 100% corn, while white dog is referring to a mash unique to the brand of bourbon you are referring to (a minimum of 51% corn). Where it gets a little murky is the fact that while rare, a bourbon mashbill can be 100% corn. In those instances where a mashbill is 100% corn, it would still be referred to as white dog since it is a "baby bourbon" for that particular distillery... a white whiskey that will become bourbon once it has "grown up."
From the entire Bourbon Zeppelin team...
Items from Steve and the Bourbon Zeppelin team
Whenever Steve makes a post on social media with his Bourbon Zeppelin glass, there are always a flood of inquiries about being able to buy one of those glasses. Thanks to the good folks at Glencairn Glass, you can pick up the exact same glass Steve uses with the BZ logo directly from the Glencairn site.

Using a proper nosing glass is key to being able to fully experience a bourbon sampling. Why not do have a little Bourbon Zeppelin attitude while you are doing it! Pick up your BZ Glencairn Glass today!
Buy Now
Associate Editor and BZ contributor Hasse Berg leads a team of excellent contributors on his own Son of Winston Churchill blog. He has also gotten a Glencairn glass for sale on the Glencain website.

Using a proper nosing glass is key to being able to fully experience a bourbon sampling. You need to have a few of these on hand when friends are over. Be sure to add a SOWC to your Glencairn Glass  collection today!
Buy Now
Bourbon Mixology 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
Amanda "The Bourbon Virgin" Hoppes makes her literary debut with From Midnight to Moonlight. This book of poetry explores a full range of emotions.

Yep, Amanda runs a little deeper than simply seeing if she can expand her drinking horizons beyond Bud Light and Cherry Bombs!

Check it out today!
Buy Now
We are always looking for interesting things from the world of bourbon. If you have something you would like to write about, or think we should be writing about, just send us a note!
Don't want to miss an issue of Bourbon Zeppelin?

The only way you can ensure you get every issue of B.Z. is by having it delivered directly to your email inbox on the first of every month. If you want to receive the bourbon magazine of newsletters written for bourbon fans by bourbon fans, simply
click here to sign up for your free subscription.
Bourbon Zeppelin is a 13-times yearly newsletter publication sent out to the 50,000+ social media followers of author Steve Akley (monthly plus a special "Black Friday Gift-Giving Edition"). If you would like to have any questions about the publication, would like to say, "Hello" or you are interested in promoting your product/brand via Bourbon Zeppelin, please email Steve.
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!)
Share this publication via social media
Follow B.Z. editor/author Steve Akley on social media
Whenever talking about Bourbon Zeppelin on social media, be sure to use this hashtag:


Also, be sure to LIKE us on our Facebook (Bourbon Zeppelin)!
139 Likes as of December 1, up from 125 on November 1. Help us get more!
Goal = 1,000,000 Likes (0.000139 of goal achieved so far)
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) Booker's Noe Secret/83.0  #3) Booker's Blue Grass/76.5  #4).Heritage Distilling Dual Barrel/76.50  #5). Ozark Distillery Bourbon/76.33  #6). Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn/72.2  #7) Booker's Maw Maw's Batch/71.67
All-Time Steve + 4 Rankings "Tossed Reviews:"
One of the curiosities the BZ team didn't anticipate was the interest in who's reviews got tossed from readers and staff. Just for fun, let's keep track of who had their reviews nullified because they were either the low or high score (the number next to a name indicates the number of reviews tossed): Steve Akley (3), Robin Ricca (1) and Emily Oursler (1) Evan Haskill (3), the Kettners (1) Mike Swain (1) Kimberly Burns (1) & Alice Seim (1).
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 -- 2). Blanton's Straight from the Barrel 95/100 3). Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection OESV Recipe 92/100 4). Willett Family Estate 9 Year Old 91/100  5). Russell's Reserve Single Barrel 90/100
All-Time Awesome Meter Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbons that have been rated on the Awesome Meter: Jimi Hendrix Awesome: Colonel E.H Taylor Seasoned Wood & Willett Family Estate 14 Year Old -- Tyrannosaurus Rex Awesome: Wild Turkey Master's Keep -- All-You-Can-Eat Chicken Wings Awesome: Deceptivus Bourbon by Cadée Distillery-- King Kong Awesome: Rebel Yell Ginger Bourbon --  Las Vegas Awesome: Jim Beam Double Oak
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: Black Butte XXXVIII by Deschutes Brewery -- Pump[KY]n by Avery Brewing --  Bourbon Barrel Quad by Boulevard Brewing Co. -- 4 Sticks of Dynamite: Oil Man by Elevation Beer Co. & The Lost Abbey Track #08 -- 3 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 2 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 1 Stick of Dynamite: No entries yet
What Historical Figure Would You Share A Dram With?
Here is the complete list of all individuals featured in this colum: Ernest Hemmingway (Hasse Berg), Marilyn Monroe (Steve Akley), Abraham Lincoln (Greg Schneider)
Our Favorite Blogs:
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, Managing Editor Emily C. Oursler, Field Reporter Elizabeth Jones, the following Columnists: Amanda "The Bourbon Virgin" Hoppes, Evan Haskill, Chrissy Martin, Matt Saunds, Corey Chandler, Six Feet of Dynamite, Jerome Faulkner, Aaron Cave, Andrea Holak, Seth Brown, Greg Schneider, The Bourbon Sipper, Kate & Kris Kettner and Staff Reporters: Alice Seim, Mike Swain and Robin Ricca.

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:
  • 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 the key here
  • 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: Larry Akley (#1), Henry Rimpler (#2), TJ Ivey (#11), Rommel Morales (#12) and Matt Walker (#13), Blue Dram (#14), Andrew McGuinness (#15), Chris Lojkovic (#16) & Jay Reed (#17), Ashley Ommen (#18), Rebecca Fitzgerald (#19), Jeff Couch (#20), Greg Schneider (#21), Rodney Johnson (#22), Erik Hasselgärde (#23), Jeff Franks (#24), Cat Akley (#25), Jenna Brownson (#26), Rob Brownson (#27), Bill Alexander (#28), Chris McKeon (#29), Joe Bartucca (#30), Brent Kauser (#31), Jonathan Gorab (#32), Jessie Hernandez (#33), Ben Pyatt (#34), Michael Devecka (#35), @bourbonwedrink (#36),

Why do Ambassador numbers skip to #11?
#1 and #2 are ceremonial. One goes to Steve Akley's father who passed away in 2012 and two goes to Hasse Berg's grandfather who passed away in 2013. Numbers 3 - 10 are being saved for yet-to-be-determined fans who really go the extra mile to show their love to Bourbon Zeppelin!

Find out about becoming a Bourbon Zeppelin Brand Ambassador by clicking here!
Bourbon Zeppelin Reprint Policy
Bourbon Zeppelin authorizes bloggers and newsfeeds to reprint its content without authorization, providing these two stipulations are met:
  1. Bourbon Zeppelin is noted as the creator of content (Please include issue number/month/year)
  2. When an author is listed for an individual article, that person is also acknowledged as well
Copyright © 2016 Bourbon Zeppelin, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
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.