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Steve Akley Presents...

This Month's Bourbon Zeppelin Feature Article


The Common Denominator

by Linda Ruffenach

Kentucky Bourbon is the Great Common Denominator
In today’s political and social environment, it is easier to find things that divide us versus bring us together. You name it, race, religion, gender, or politics; everyone has a perspective, and, in some cases, are quite passionate about that view. You add technology and we begin to miss out on true human connections. 

By nature, we crave human connection. In fact,
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has love and belonging right behind the basic needs for food, shelter and safety. Yet, our preconceived bias can keep us from creating relationships with others because far too often we believe others, "are not like us." 

But, what if there was an environment where everyone is the same. A place where you never have to talk about your thoughts on the President or the latest headlines. Age differences become irrelevant. A place where you check your differences at the door and focus on one thing, enjoying a shared experience.  

That is what is starting to happen in the Kentucky bourbon industry. 

As my journey began in the spirits industry, I had but one mission, create an environment that made learning about whisk(e)y, especially Kentucky bourbon, approachable and fun. I wanted to break the perception of bourbon being a man’s drink. What I unexpectedly discovered is that a shared bourbon experience can be the great common denominator that brings people together. 

At events we have shared whisk(e)y with those 21-to-96. Women and men, from all different backgrounds, interested in learning more. For the most part, it did not matter where you were on your journey, novice, enthusiast or connoisseur, there is always something new to learn, a sensory experience to explore or the awe and excitement of meeting one of the rock stars of bourbon. 

On your bourbon journey, you can meet individuals you never would have ever met otherwise. People from different parts of the community, country and the world who share but one thing, a common interest in Kentucky bourbon. Through this common interest, we find ways to connect and get to know each other, forming lifetime friendships. Instead of sharing pictures of our kids, we are sharing pictures of a new bourbon, or the rare unicorn discovered at our local liquor store.

The Kentucky bourbon industry itself is built upon a philosophy of all boats rise. In all my years in the business world, it is something I have never seen in any other industry. Competitors will go out of their way to help each other in a time of crisis. They work together to promote the industry, recognizing if one wins, they all win. 

Over a glass of bourbon, we can discover we have more in common than what we thought. We get to know each other as humans and hopefully we can leave our unconscious bias behind. We get to recognize that we are all mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, sons, brothers and friends who want to experience the best that life has to offer. We get a chance to fulfill our need for love and belonging by sharing our love for Kentucky bourbon. 

I am not saying Kentucky bourbon is the answer to solving the current divide in our country, but it is one way of bringing a few of us together to get to know each other better and build friendships we never would have discovered. Maybe together we can help each other rise and in the end we all rise.
Think about it: husbands and wives sharing something new. Young adult children wanting to hang out with Mom or Dad. The events became a place to create a memory regardless of where you are on your journey. It can also bring people together through shared moments that create lifelong connections. I have seen mothers and daughters, even sons, come to a bourbon 
One of the first things I quickly realized that shared Kentucky bourbon experiences can evolve into lifelong connections if people are open to them. Over the next 5-years, I began to realize that the mission began to expand to include “for everyone.”
After all, being right in the heart of bourbon country, it was something everyone wanted to know more about. It was perceived as a man’s drink and I hated that. Bourbon and whisk(e)y was meant to be shared with everyone. I wanted to provide a platform that made it easy to start your bourbon journey. It needed to be unintimidating, fun and educational. 
I left a career that I was at for close to 20-years and found my network was outside the city I lived. Initially, I hated going to networking events. I felt like I always had to be "on." I would meet someone, but it always felt like they always wanted something. I am sure some felt the same about me. It was challenging to go beyond the business relationship to create a true friendship. I wanted to meet other women who had nothing to do with my work, husband or kids versus another networking event, I wanted an environment that made getting to know each other easy.

So, I thought, what better way than over a glass of bourbon? So the idea began to evolve into the
Whisky Chicks, the group I started. What I was totally surprised about is how these experiences created the unlikeliest of friendships. At events we would have attendees literally from 21-96. There were women from all different backgrounds coming together to share an experience. There were multiple generations coming out together. Husbands wanted to tag along with their spouses. Young adult children wanted to hang out with their Mom. The events became a place to share an experience regardless of where you were on your journey. At our events, we only had one rule, if you see a stranger you have one responsibility and that is to make them feel welcomed. Soon, relationships began to form that went beyond just our organized events. 
I have learned we all have our views which can be around such heated issues as politics, religion, race, gender etc. We all come into this world the same and we will all leave it the same way. What makes anyone better than anyone else? Well, using the common denominator of bourbon, you may discover that you have much more in common that you ever thought!

About Linda Ruffenach
Linda Ruffenach, author of the bestselling book How to be a Bourbon Badass, has many passions including a love for business, a taste for bourbon and a strong belief that everyone can be a Badass, they just need to give themselves permission. As the founder of the Whisky Chicks, she takes pride in creating moments that make learning about Kentucky bourbon approachable, fun, and informative. She has shared her personal stories as a female CEO, entrepreneur, author and certified Executive Bourbon Steward at conferences, business events and VIP receptions all over the country. She can talk business, design customized bourbon experiences and has a unique way of blending the two. 
Table of Contents
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As you can tell by reading this one, summer vacations aren't a thing at BZ. We're putting out quality bourbon reading you can enjoy poolside, on the beach or curled up with a glass of bourbon. 

Welcome to my buddy Linda Ruffenach who did our feature article this month. I hope to see more from Linda here in BZ in the future.

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

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

Blending is Trending Crowd Funding Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ABV Network Store Offers an Stellar Bundled Deal

Sold for $44.98 Combined Individually, the Bundled Price Bring Offered Now is only $29.99!

Get your Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn® 6.25oz Glass along with the ABVNetwork Series 1 Harvest - Distill - Maturate - Enjoy Challenge Coin bundled today!

The Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn® 6.25oz Glass is the official whiskey glass of the Bourbon Zeppelin e-newsletter. This is the revolutionary whiskey glass that lets one savor the taste and complexity of fine whiskey, great for single malt whisky, Irish whisky and single barrel bourbons. Tapered mouth provides the ability to smell all of the nuances the whiskey has to offer.

Whether you are drinking with friends, enemies or alone, drink your bourbon any damn way you want.

There are several laws regarding bourbon but this rules them all. The first in the ABV Network's Challenge Coin series embodies this rule along with the five laws of bourbon on one side and the four phases of bourbon's life cycle on the other. Harvest, Distill, Maturate and Enjoy. Produced in antiqued plated gold and covered in soft enamel, the Series 1 coin is ideal to share with friends, flip to decide who is buying the next round or place on top of your Glencairn during a tasting to lock in the aroma. Only a limited number have been produced, own yours today!

Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn

  • Quality made from fine lead-free crystal by Glencairn Crystal in Europe
  • Stands 4.5 "H x 2.5 "W and holds up to 6.25 oz
  • Tapered mouth allows an ease of capturing the aromas on the nose and wide bowl allows for the fullest appreciation of the whisky's color
  • Hand wash
  • Imported

Challenge Coin

  • Antiqued gold plated
  • Soft enamel coated
  • Fits perfectly on top of Glencairns; ideal for use with tasting to keep in aroma of spirits
  • Reverse side features the five laws of bourbon
    • Minimum 51% corn
    • Distilled no higher than 160 proof
    • Aged in new, charred oak containers at no more than 125 proof
    • Bottled at minimum of 80 proof
    • Produced in the USA
  • "Whether you're drinking with friends, enemies or alone, drink your bourbon any damn way you want."
Buy Now
The ABV Network is the fastest growing podcast network on the web. Here's the latest news with this exciting group of shows, many of which are helmed by Bourbon Zeppelin contributors.

Andy Mansinne
Vice President of Brands, MGP 
Featured on The Bourbon Show - Today!

We have some great programming coming up on the ABV Network. Here's a sneak peak at some of the upcoming shows:
The Bourbon Show
July 1- Andy Mansinne, Vice President of Brands, MGP
July 9 - A Sazerac Cocktail at the Sazerac Bar in Roosevelt Hotel (New Orleans) is the Best Bourbon Cocktail Experience... Change My Mind!

The Bourbon Daily
July 1 - Whiskey Headlines
July 4 - What's Going to Happen in Craft Bourbon the Next 5 Years?
July 8-12 - Louisville Bourbon Bars & Restaurants Week
Bourbon Bettys
July 1 - Kicking Up the Restaurant Game at Distilleries
July 8 - Why We LOVE Bourbon

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

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

Bourbon Hunting – July 2019 by Jeremy Schell 

R.I.P the Bourbon Secondary Market. 

There is no denying, the bourbon secondary market has impacted bourbon hunting everywhere. It can be argued that the secondary market has helped bourbon hunters locate they favorite bottles, dusties and decanters from quite literally, all corners of the world. It can also be said that without the secondary market, establishing a valuation on many bottles would be especially challenging. Without a doubt, the secondary market has helped establish relationships and friendships within the bourbon community that may not have existed otherwise. Despite these potential benefits, the bourbon secondary market also existed with many evils that cannot be dismissed.

Prices and valuation often exceed common sense and have contributed to the pricing we are now more often experiencing at retail. Fraud and counterfeiting continue to be a constant concern with very little recourse for the impacted parties. Cool-headed, reasonable individuals within the social media groups can quickly lose their mild-mannered tempers when a newcomer asks a basic question or something else one of these six-month old members feels everyone should already know. Ironically, they often forget they were newbies once too and losing their shit in a long-winded thread of Facebook comments just makes them look like a tool. Then the dreaded FOMO and tater-envy oozes from comments and ISO posts. Let’s not even start discussing the excessive crotch shots from overweight guys in salmon-colored cargo shorts.

Regardless of all these issues, don’t forget, in most states, the private sale and shipping of alcohol is illegal. 

Facebook may have stated they are finally going to start enforcing their community standards against any group facilitating the illegal sale of alcohol, but I remain hopeful. We will survive. We will rebuild. We will move forward, and we will find ways to BIN again. Until that day, get out and make friends at your local retailer, join or start a bourbon society or get together with your bourbon friends and share a pour. 

Long live the Bourbon Secondary Market!!

Happy hunting!

July 2019’s Featured Bourbon to Hunt:
“It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” -- Ferris Bueller
Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye

There is no doubting that anything with the Van Winkle name on it is going to be sought after, coveted and commanding a higher than retail price. Rarely are these unicorns found in the wild and

even more elusive than sightings of Sasquatch, are witness accounts of these being opened and enjoyed. Equally unthinkable is being from St. Louis and winning the Stanley Cup after 52-years. Of course, when that happens, if you have one of these unicorns, the only option is to just open and chug it. That’s exactly what St Louis Blues’ center Robby Fabbri did after winning the Stanley Cup against the Boston Bruins in game 7. After the 52-year drought, no bourbon is really going to have the punch to celebrate this occasion, so Fabbri went for only the best, the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. 

First released in 1997, the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye released through 2013 varied in age from 12-years to 19-years. Sources of the whiskey are rumored to be combinations of Medley Rye, Cream of Kentucky Rye and in later years, and more recently, Buffalo Trace. These, especially the older ones, may be the best rye whiskeys ever produced. If you can find one, hopefully you don’t have to wait 52-years for a special occasion to open and enjoy it.

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

Big #ABVNetworkClub News

by Colonel Steve Akley
Well, the big news has to start with today's date. July 1. Today is the day, the #ABVNetworkCrew Club officially launches!

For those of you who have already signed-up, this means your membership is officially active today. The deals are now in-place with our 65+ partners so your can enjoy cost savings at a variety of businesses that include distilleries, bars, restaurants, gifts and more. Check out the complete list of deals on the club page at:

We also did something pretty cool in preparation for today's launch. We did the ABV Network Club's first ever barrel pick, a unique selection at Neeley Family Distillery. Neeley is offering members exclusive access to a barrel just for club members sold through their gift shop. This is an ongoing membership offering so we will continue to pick barrels there as they run out.

The first barrel ended up being pretty a one-of-a-kind pick that will never be replicated. Royce was doing some experimenting in with a high wheat mash bill that he aged in 10-gallon barrels. He had four of those lined up for us in addition to three other offerings we tried in the rick house of the mash bills he will be using moving forward (those are aging in 53-gallon barrels).

We decided to go with one of the honey barrel from the 10-gallon barrels since when these four are gone, they are gone for good. The taste on this "high wheat" mash bill yielded a sweet, cereal like taste with a nice kick of cinnamon. As such, we named the barrel, "Neeley Toast Crunch." 

If you are in Kentucky, be sure to stop by Neeley Family Distillery, break out your #ABVNetworkCrew Club card and buy your a bottle (or couple of bottles) of Neeley Toast Crunch. This one won't last long!

If you aren't yet an #ABVNetworkCrew Club member yet, we aren't going to judge you and ask why not, Instead, we simply want to point you in the right direction and get you signed up by having you
click here to head over to the ABV Network Store to get your membership today.
A Look at the #ABVNetworkCrew Club Barrel Pick (Starting at the top and then going clockwise): 1). Our signed barrel of "Neeley Toast Crunch" after the pick was complete. 2). Our host for the barrel pick, Distiller/Company Owner Royce Neeley 3). Touring Neeley Family Distillery 4). Royce "thieving" the whiskey out of the barrel that soon would become known as Neeley Toast Crunch. 4). The barrel pick team. From left-to-right: Royce Neeley, Wes Hardin, Lori Mangum, Joe Ferrara, Colonel Steve Akley, Scott Sanders & Jeremy Schell. 

All photos courtesy of Martha Ferrara.

LEAF LESSONS 101 – Tools of the Trade: Glasses Part 2

by Joyce "Cigarfoxy" Larkins

As follow up to our Tools of the Trade: Glasses, in this article we decided to point out some of the trendier glasses on the scene whereas in the first article we took a deep dive into some of the more prevalent glass vessels used for nosing and tasting whiskey. 

When it comes to drinking whiskey, does the glassware matter? As we stated the debate about glassware is about as prevalent and hopeless as adding water to whiskey or not. Lol. 

To recap two of my favorite quotes: 

“The best glass to drink whisky out of is the one that doesn't leak.”

“"The right glass is the one with the best whisky in it."

While I’ve had the pleasure of consuming out of a number of glasses, there are so many new glasses popping up on the scene, there is no way I could afford to purchase and try them all!   

So here are a few that I found very interesting. While I have nose and tasted out of a few, others I’ve yet to experience. Please share your thoughts on those that you’ve tried.

This is a classic machine-made Single Malt Whisky glass. From a design perspective, it opens up at the lip rather than closes in. The design incorporates a small, slightly outturned lip that directs the spirit onto the tip of the tongue, where sweetness is perceived, and serves to bring out the elegant creaminess of a top-quality single malt.

Whereas the Glencairn almost focuses the aroma on your nose, this one doesn’t. The idea behind opening it up like this is so that the spirit “opens up” as it hits your tongue and lips. It’s a thin rather than bulky glass and tends to minimize the flavors on nose because of the shape.

Designed to enjoy spirits neat or with a few drops of water versus cocktails and is on the expensive side of glassware.

This glass has what’s called “double-walled insulation” which claims to keep your drink cool “for literally hours on end.” Now perhaps for a cocktail serviced with ice that is appreciated. However, for those who enjoy their spirit neat, not only do I not need it to be “cool,” but it’s not gonna last for hours anyway. Lol. 

Other interesting features include indentations at the bottom of the glass which claims to improve aeration and reduce the ethanol burn and it’s made with a lightweight borosilicate glass which is designed to not crack or break under extreme temperatures. Just my take on this one…I prefer a glass with some weight on it while this glass is aesthetically interesting to look at, the lack of weight made it feel inexpensive..almost like plastic. It was also odd to drink from given the thick lip as a result of the double-wall. Lastly, regarding the minimizing of ethanol, there is some difference when compared to a rocks glass. However, nothing has come close to the performance of the NEAT glass in this regard.

The Duo Glass reminds me of the Norlan in similar design and materials. It is a hand blown 10 ounce double-wall borosilicate glass that is crafted to insulate and measure and comes with ice ball molds that fit perfectly in the glass.

This glass is also designed or better suited for cocktails served chilled to take advantage of the design features. This “glass in a glass” is interesting but not sure of any other real benefits that would impact the nose and taste.

This glass is very interesting and could prove for quite a chuckle after several drams. Inspired by diamonds, this glass is designed to sit on its side with an intent to aerate what you’re drinking as it is poured, swirled and consumed. The 50-degree angles on the bottom of the glass allows it to rock around making it practically spill-proof. It’s a crystal clear, lead-free, high quality glassware that is marketed as an all-purpose glassware for wine and all spirits and is luxurious as much as it is durable.

This glass is a whiskey stone. Made from a solid piece of soapstone, the glass holds 8 ounces at pour temperature. Doesn’t seem right calling it a glass.

This glass includes a steel ball that you chill in advance for chilling your whiskey, a pair of tongs for getting it in and out of your glass and a design shape that allows you to roll the steel ball taking your swishing to therapeutic levels.  

If the molded ice ball isn’t fancy enough, this double old-fashioned glass has a silicone ice form that produces a thick slab in the glass to chill your whiskey. 

This double old-fashioned glass has a build in cigar holder. Now, as a premium cigar smoker, one would think this would be a hands down slam dunk. Well, not so much for many of us. Lol. First off, from a practical sense, the slot for the cigar is only useful to a certain point and that’s smoking thru the first 3rd. Beyond that, the heat will hit your glass. Also, it is just a rocks glass. There is no true nosing and tasting nuances that someone who is pairing a fine cigar and spirit would find appealing. This is honestly more of a novelty glass.  

Glassware has become as creative as the spirits we enjoy out of them. Science and sophistication along with creativity have all entered into the design equation as new products reflect. Regardless of the trends and fads the most important thing I keep in mind is “WILL THIS GLASS ALLOW ME TO ENJOY THE BEST THAT THIS SPIRIT HAS TO OFFER.” If the answer is YES to your glass of choice, all that’s left to say is “CHEERS”.

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

Quick Bourbon Notes, Steve Akley's 5-minute read of what's happening in the bourbon industry is a huge hit. He's routinely out ahead of the completition with scoop by 2, 3, 4 weeks. Check out past issues, or, get signed up here:

The Roots of Rowan's Creek: 
My Old Kentucky Home

John Rowan was about as Kentucky as one man can get. He poured his soul into the Bluegrass State, fighting injustice for freedom and a better way of life. His life included lots of twists and turns, but he spent his life living for what he believed, on the land that he loved. He lived simply and fought for what he believed.  
John Rowan was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Kentucky when he was 10-years old. Born in 1773, his family moved to the then wild frontier of Kentucky. His family set off from York, Pennsylvania, on a flat bottomed boat and disembarked near Maysville, Kentucky. The family expected the journey to take a few days, but instead it took 5-months and was wrought with hardships, including icy rivers, scarce food, and frontier foes. Eventually, the Rowans would find their way to a tract of land they purchased before leaving Pennsylvania. They constructed a fort on this property and named it Fort Vienna. Located near what is now known as Calhoun, the families who settled at Fort Vienna experienced a hard frontier life and often battled with the Shawnee Indians. After weathering the frontier conditions for six years, Captain Rowan moved his family to Bardstown.  
John Rowan completed his studies and set his sights on learning law. He moved to Lexington, where he worked under the Kentucky Attorney General George Nicholas and soon sat for the bar. Upon passing the bar, he moved to Louisville, where he launched his law career. Rowan fell in love and married Anne Lytle. As a wedding present, his new father-in-law gave the newlyweds a sizeable piece of property.  

Rowan began construction on the family home in 1795, and called the estate “Federal Hill.” The cost, shipping time of building materials, and craftsmanship on such a large property translated to this being a slow to complete project. It was finally completed in 1818 and was a mansion to be admired!
Rowan lived a very interesting life. He was deeply involved in politics. He rather reluctantly killed a man in a duel, which stemmed from a card game and heavy drinking. He served as the Secretary of State. He did a stint in Congress. Rowan served as a Judge for the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He represented the Relief party and stood up for those who were suffering extreme poverty and felt voiceless. He was chosen to eulogize George Rogers Clark when Clark passed away. The City of Louisville selected him to host a visiting party for James Monroe and Andrew Jackson. He was then chosen to host a reception when Marquis de Lafayette visited.  Simply put, Rowan was a mover and a shaker and a strong advocate for the state of Kentucky. 
In his later years, he continued to fight tough battles. When many members of his family succumbed to cholera, Rowan survived. Seeing the importance of medical care for epidemics and a lack of standardized healthcare, Rowan and two other men founded the Louisville Medical Institute in 1836. The Institute was the predecessor to the University of Louisville medical school. The University of Louisville chose Rowan as the school’s first president, an honor he held until 1842. The Kentucky Historical Society also chose him as their first president, which he served from 1838 until his death in 1843. Rowan died while serving as a commissioner to adjust land claims of US citizens against the Republic of Mexico. He was buried on the Federal Hill property in an unmarked grave, as he requested. Relatives later added a stone to his grave, against his wishes. Legend says Rowan manifests himself in protest of the stone on his grave and often upheaves the stone.  
Federal Hill remained in the family until 1922, when it was preserved as a state shrine. Until it was sold, relatives would frequent the home. Steven Collins Foster, who was related to Rowan, spent a lot of time at the property. He was inspired by the imagery at Federal Hill and the Harriet Beecher-Stowe novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to write the ballad, “My Old Kentucky Home,” which was named the Kentucky state song in 1928 and remains popular today. It is a part of Kentucky Derby tradition annually.  
What you won’t notice, is his deep involvement with bourbon. He didn’t come from a lineage of distillers and wasn’t known for one of those backwoods secret stills. So why would the good folks at Willett name a product line “Rowan’s Creek?” Rowan left an indelible mark on Kentucky.  

In 1856, pieces of Fleming and Morgan counties were reconfigured and the resulting county was named “Rowan County.” The Federal Hill property is now included in “My Old Kentucky Home State Park.” The creek that ran through the Federal Hill property was called “John Rowan’s Creek.” It just so happens that that same creek runs through the Willett Distillery. As a tribute to the statesman and frontier man who made such a mark on Kentucky, Willett named Rowan’s Creek as a nod to John Rowan. A Kentuckian, through and through, it was a great way to honor his contribution to the state’s development.  
Cheers to you, John Rowan and your old Kentucky home!  
About Andrea Holak
Andrea Holak is a St. Louis resident where she works as a grant administrator at a local nonprofit which provides housing and related supportive services to people who are affected by HIV/AIDS. In her spare time, in addition to spending time with her husband, two Australian Shepards and a cat, Andrea enjoys all things bourbon. She has joined the BZ team to tell the stories of bourbon history. You can find Andrea on Twitter or Instagram with the name @redtumbleweed virtually hanging with the bourbon crew!
Kentucky Peerless' First Bourbon Release
by Colonel Steve Akley
What an incredible day they had with a huge turnout for the company's first bourbon release in 102 years!

I was there for the June 22 release of Kentucky Peerless' much anticipated bourbon release on a a drizzly Kentucky morning. Despite a line that wrapped down-and-around the block, spirits were good for those wanting to get their hands on Peerless' first bourbon offering since the relaunch of the company.

This was an incredible sight. Sure, we've seen Big Bourbon gather these types of crowds frequently with limited or one-time releases. A craft distillery, offering it's first bourbon? Well, that's a different story and we're in unchartered waters here.

This is no accident, though.

Peerless has created this demand with its amazing Rye it's been selling for the last two years. They have been exposed to much criticism from those questioning a two-year whiskey offering, but, most of that has come from those who haven't actually tried their product. Their rye will make you a believer, and their single barrel offerings sold at stores across the U.S. or in their gift shop, will make you a complete convert.

What stands out about Peerless is their dedication to quality. If you head to the distillery and take a tour you quickly see how it permeates into everything they do via every employee there. They have designed the distillery like a home, which oddly feels like your home when you are there. 

I am excited for the Peerless team for this new chapter in their company history. Congrats to not only owners Corky (who made the moment extra special by setting the date for the bourbon release on the birthday of his father) and Carson Taylor, Master Distiller Caleb Kilburn, but every employee at the distillery. Nobody does a better job of conveying how important every position there is, and it not only shows in your products, it shows in the consumers response to what you are doing.

Looking forward to seeing what the future will bring for the team over at Peerless!

Our Favorite Brands of Whiskey in Amazing Photos!

About Nate Woodruff
Nate Woodruff's company, Whisky With a View, is dedicated to bring you beautiful pictures of whisky. He's a regular in the bourbon community on Instagram where you can find him with the ID of @whisky_nate.
Bourbon Ads of Yesteryear
Celebrating the history of bourbon by sharing ads used in the past.
Click the button to head to the ABV Network shop!
Bourbon Nuggets
The upcoming special week dedicated to Louisville Bars and Restaurants focused on bourbon is going to be pretty amazing. The Jeff Ruby show kicking off the week is insane. It truly is. One of the best interviews we have done. Be sure to tune-in starting July 8.
This Month's Selection...

Mount Nutt
by AZ Wilderness

Since we're well into the 100's here in Arizona, I am continuing on my quest to find barrel-aged brews that are on the lighter side, and in this search I was gifted this blonde barley wine from local brewery out of Gilbert, Arizona: AZ Wilderness. Mount Nutt is a 12.5% barley wine, aged for 7-months in barrels from an undisclosed distillery. It has matured with Arizona pistachios and lactose sugar.

I was instantly intrigued by the addition of lactose sugar as it is my new favorite adjunct. The nose on this is sweet butterscotch with a medium body. The first sip vanilla and boozy! Not alot of pistachio, but plenty of spice from the bourbon. The name suggests that there would be a nutty flavor, presumably from the pistachio, but it's just not there. The sweetness of your typical barleywine is present, and helps balance out the prominent booziness. Is this a barrel-aged summer beer? Maybe on the porch after sundown. It's a sipper for sure. I say split the can, and enjoy with a fellow bourbon drinker.
Try your bourbon in a beer. 

About Della "Six Feet of Dynamite" Fain
Arizona resident. Chi-town girl. Avid craft brew drinker. Stout and porter lover. Getting to love all things craft... one brewery at a time. Like most of the BZ team, Dynamite is a regular member of the bourbon crew on Instagram and her Untappd account is not to be missed (@sixfeetofdynamite for either Instagram or Untappd).
Thank God summer is finally here. I hate the cold and enjoy sitting by the pool with good bourbon on the rocks. I will be doing a lot of that this summer. I also want to wish a belated happy birthday to BZ I can’t believe it has been 3-years but I can because it is such an awesome publication with VERY talented writers. Oh yeah and we got the Colonel, too! 

This month I found something pretty cool. I don’t know if anyone watches that show on TV about the guys who make moonshine outdoors and illegally (Editor's Note: Moonshiner's on Discovery). I found a bottle made by one of those guys that is available at my local liquor store. It is called Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon. It is brewed and bottled by Two Trees Distilling Company in Fletcher, North Carolina. There is no mash bill available for this bourbon online but it is 90 proof. I like the idea of wood fired whiskey and I am excited to see how this will taste. 

All this talk about bourbon has made me very thirsty. I got my BZ Glencairn glass and my amazing new Bluetooth speaker. (I had to come into the 21st century one day). This month I am blasting a little Glen Danzig. I remember him from the Misfits and Samhain. They put on some amazing shows back in the day and I guess the Misfits are still doing some shows. “Twist of Cain” always puts me in the mood to slam bourbon. This is my take on Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon:

Color: Amber
Body: Nice burn up front
Nose: Apple, Oak, and Smoke
Palate: Smokey
Finish: Corn with a Smokey aftertaste

I like this stuff despite the very overpowering corn aftertaste. I guess it reminds me of when you grill corn on the BBQ. It does get a big \m/ from me because I like that smoke flavor. It kind of reminds me of the Crown Mesquite whiskey because of that smoke flavor. This stuff is as good neat as it is on the rocks. I would not dilute the taste by making a cocktail with it. I have let some of my friends taste it. They were remarking at how much it tasted like bourbon and not just a straight whiskey. I would have to agree that there is bourbon flavor there. I think that is also why I like it. This stuff would be great for a cook out. Well until next month I’ll be keeping it Metal and chilling in the sun with some of that good bourbon on the rocks in Detroit.
About Greg Schneider
Greg Schneider loves three things.... heavy metal music, bourbon and a good deal. He's managed to indulge all three in his \m/ Value Bottles column. Greg uses a simple system of "\m/" for bottles he recommends (the keyboard shortcut for the Ronnie James Dio "thumbs up") and "m/" for ones he doesn't like (the keyboard shortcut for "giving the bird").

Click here if you would like to email a suggest value bottle to Greg. His Twitter I.D. is: @schneiderg63.

Wilderness Trail Event Will Aid Local Humane Society

Wilderness Trail Distillery’s First Friday takes a furry twist July 5th with a Patriotic Paws theme. The distillery invites all pet lovers to join us for this 6 to 9 p.m. event that will feature a donation to the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society’s (DBCHS) community cat spay/neuter program.

The distillery is donating the proceeds from a charity barrel auction held during the Kentucky Bourbon Affair and will announce the amount during the event.

Shane Baker, Wilderness Trail Distillery co-owner, chose the humane society because he and his wife, Melissa, are animal lovers and wanted to support the local nonprofit’s efforts to control the animal population.

“We are overjoyed by the generosity shown by Wilderness Trail Distillery,” says Fizzy Ramsey, president of the DBCHS Board of Directors. “They are the metaphoric pebble in a pond creating a ripple for change, not only in the bourbon industry, but for our own community. Their partnership supports and inspires our paradigm shift in humanely addressing pet overpopulation.”

In addition to making the donation announcement, First Friday will feature free music by Stonewheel Acoustic of Louisville and food sales by The Combination. Wilderness Trail will have its Bourbon, rum and vodka cocktails for sale.

DBCHS has been working with a consultant to determine the humane society’s needs and an expanded community cat spay/neuter program is one of the biggest. The consultant recommended the local shelter use the “return to field” process for cats. That means in lieu of shelter intake or possible euthanasia, any community cat brought to the shelter will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to its original home location. The report recommends DBCHS find $49,210 in funding —  $39,000 to get an estimated 600 community cats sterilized through the return to field program; $10,000 to help with income-targeted spay/neuter through Happy Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic for cats and dogs; and $210 for portals needed in between cat cages to improve their living quarters.

Since the community cat program began this spring, Ramsey says Boyle County Animal Control and shelter staff has helped organize over 110 surgeries, which also involves community education on cat behavior and population control. “People arrive to surrender a stray cat(s) and we give them the opportunity to keep the cat as we schedule spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination. If the cat is feral and they prefer not to handle the cat, we get their permission to spay/neuter, vaccinate and return the cat to its original location; maintaining its place, and preventing new, likely unaltered, cats from moving in.” Area veterinarians have been instrumental in the success of this method in addressing community cats. 

For more information about First Friday, call Wilderness Trail at 859-402-8707.

Breakfast with Bourbon

I’m sure it’s safe to assume that if you are reading this article, you have at some point in your life had bourbon with breakfast. It could have been a camping trip, golf trip or just a lazy long weekend at home, bacon and bourbon seems to always set the right tone for the beginnings of a great day. Now as a Public Service Announcement, I want to say, what I’m about to share with you is highly addictive!!! Precede at your on discretion. I assume no responsibility for what happens next. You have been warned!

Now let's enjoy this together. 

The first item, I just stumbled on a few months ago and is a breakfast game changer. The good folks at Evan Williams Bourbon and Oscar Mayer’s have married bourbon, maple and bacon and it is simply PERFECT! The favors are evenly balanced, the bourbon and maple are not fighting each other for control of your palate. More importantly all the reason we love bacon, are not overpowered by the maple or bourbon.

Stepping up your breakfast game just got easier. If you see it in your local grocery store, don’t hesitate, just grab it! You will not be disappointed. Now, if you’re not a breakfast person, no problem. I’ve used it in baked beans, smoked stuffed jalapeno peppers, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin and few more ways, and they were all awesome. Well done Evan William’s and Oscar Mayer’s this is beautiful creation. 

The next one is a shout out to my favorite local distillery, Woodinville Whiskey. I’m really not sure how long ago I found this, but I do remember when I saw it, it was love at first sight. I didn’t even have to taste it and I knew, I was in love.

This is a barrel-aged pure American made grade A dark maple syrup, aged in a freshly emptied whiskey barrels! I was sold on it at barrel-aged!! To say it’s amazing is an understatement. The moment you pop the cork on the bottle, your addiction will begin. That sweet maple and bourbon smell is intoxicating. Awesome mic-drop by Woodinville Whiskey on this one.

Well I hope I’ve made it somewhat easier for you to enjoy bourbon for breakfast or at least added another way to have more bourbon in your life. Enjoy my friends!

Please let me know of any feed back at or look me up on Instagram or Facebook @slo_mo_que.

About William Whitfield
Will Whitfield was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his wife moved to Seattle in 2004. He is a union plumber by trade and in the plumbing commercial world for 25-years. His true passion is cooking and mainly just cooking for friends and family. Will's earliest memories of wanting to cook started as young as 7, where he was allowed to cook dinner for the family (it was spaghetti)! He is also passionate about whiskey, both with an "e" and without and "e!"

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

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

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

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

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

Grab your copy today!
Buy Now
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The Bourbon Zeppelin Sample Policy
Bourbon Zeppelin accepts product samples in exchange for a fair and honest review by a B.Z. team member or members.

The Bourbon Zeppelin Jack Daniel's Policy
We love it. While it's classified as "Tennessee Whiskey" it's treated with the same as any other bourbon here.
By the way, the same goes for George Dickel (we love them, too!)
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Goal = 1,000,000 Likes (0.001109 of goal achieved so far)
All-Time Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beer Reviews by Six Feet of Dynamite Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbon barrel-aged beer reviews that have been rated by Six Feet of Dynamite for Bourbon Zeppelin: 5 Sticks of Dynamite: County Pumpkin by Superstition Meadery -- Black Butte XXXVIII by Deschutes Brewery -- Pump[KY]n by Avery Brewing --  Bourbon Barrel Quad by Boulevard Brewing Co.-- Maple Jesus by Evil Twin -- So Happens it's Tuesday by The Bruery -- Headless Heron by Central Waters Brewing -- Devil's Teeth by Modern Times -- 4.75 Sticks of Dynamite: Shot in the Arm by McFate Brewing -- 4.5 Sticks of Dynamite: Stickee Monkey by Firestone Walker -- Old Leatherman by Lasting Brass Brewing Company  4.25 Sticks of Dynamite: Highwaymen by Wren House -- Morning Grind by O.H.S.O. -- Harvest LE by J.W. Lees -Johnny Cash'd Imperial Coffee Stout by Mason Ale Work -- Dark Adrenaline by Shop Beer Co. -- Mash by The Bruery -- Kentucky Old Fashioned Bourbon Ale by Alltech -- 1st Anniversary by Stoic Cider -- 4 Sticks of Dynamite: AZ Nutt by Mount Wilderness -- OTHRORIR by Drinking Horn Meadery -- Genie in a Bottle by The Dudes' Brewing Company -- Mishka by Scottsdale Beer Company -- Dementia by Ska Brewing -- Oil Man by Elevation Beer Co. -- The Lost Abbey Track #08 -- 3 1/2 Sticks of Dynamite: Collaboration #6 by Boulevard Brewing -- Bell's Brewery Black Note Stout -- 3.75 Sticks of Dynamite: You Asked for It by The Bruery -- Barrel-Aged G&T Goes by Anderson Valley --3.25 Sticks of Dynamite: Dark Apparition by Jackie O's -- 3 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 2 1/2 Sticks of Dynamite: Quintaceratops by Brooklyn Brewery -- 2 1/4 Sticks of Dynamite: "K" is for Kriek  2 Sticks of Dynamite: No entries yet -- 1 Stick of Dynamite: No entries yet
Bourbon Zeppelin - The Team

In addition to the guest contributors, Bourbon Zeppelin has an incredible staff in addition to editor and publisher Steve Akley. Steve's daughter Cat runs the BZ Facebook page. The writing team includes feature writer Monica Caron, Editorial Writers Samara Rivers, Armond Davis and Tony Freund, Assignment Reporters Wes Hardin, Jordan Grigsby, Stephanie McNew and Stacey Spears and the following Columnists: Andrea D. Meriwether, Abby H., Nate Woodruff, Joy "CigarFoxy" Larkins, Jeremy Schell, Six Feet of Dynamite, Evan Haskill, Andrea Holak, Greg Schneider, Kim Moser, Zac Smith, Justine Mays, and Raymond Culbert..

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