Bourbon Zeppelin
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Steve Akley Presents...

Steve Beam of Limestone Branch, Royce Neeley of Neeley Family Distillery, Me (Steve Akley of the ABV Network) & Lisa Wicker of Widow Jane

This Month's Bourbon Zeppelin Feature Article:

The Bourbon Festival Returns!

by Colonel Steve Akley
The focus of the event is on bourbon... how about that!

I've attended the Kentucky Bourbon Festival for years (now just the Bourbon Festival) and like most people, I thought it was really going downhill. There were times when you were at the festival and there wasn't anything there even related to bourbon. Think more along the lines of a county fair or maybe just a yard sale.

The Bourbon Festival was back this year with a solid focus on bourbon. Best of all, they figured out a way to make an event that felt safe and was still fun in the COVID times we live in. 

I liked the sessions and the booths filled with distillers and people making crafts that all tied to bourbon. The best part, though, was simply the people. It was nice to be able to gather with friends from the world of bourbon. I'm talking both the celebrities of bourbon as well as the fans.

I can't say it was perfect, but I almost feel like with the big changes and the fact we really haven't had any sort of big bourbon festival in the last year-and-a-half this almost had the feel like the first year of this festival and framing it out in that way, I have to say it was pretty darn amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I can say I am very much looking forward to this event next year which is something I haven't said about this festival in a long time. Congratulations to Randy Prasse of the Bourbon Festival and the rest of his team for putting on a great event that showcased bourbon and put the city of Bardstown firmly in the place of being the Bourbon Capital of the World.

Table of Contents
Click to go straight there!

With the Bourbon Festival coming one weekend and the Bourbon Burn bike event coming the next I couldn't help but feel like things were good. We had a sense of normalcy that felt pretty great since our world got turned upside down in March of 2020.

Of course, here at BZ, it always feels pretty normal. We've continued to deliver excellent content created just for you twice-a-month.

As always we've got all-original material written for you by your fellow bourbon fans. 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 (2000 & 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, Bourbons Bistro Barrel Selection Committee Member and Kentucky Colonel (2016).
The ABV Network Adds Text Updates to the Mix
On June 15, 2020, the ABV Network launched text messages as a way to keep our audience engaged and informed. We send out about 3 or 4 messages a week to keep you in the know on information like events, industry news and sales in our gift shop. To make sure you don't miss out, please fill out the form on the home page of
Riders getting ready to get started at the Bourbon Burn

The Bourbon Burn
Something to be proud of for bourbon fans!

by Colonel Steve Akley

The Bourbon Burn is a three-day bicycle ride based in Lexington, Kentucky. Participants ride through the rolling hills of Kentucky as they visit distilleries during the day and return to base camp at night where a whole village emerges complete with food, entertainment and bourbon tastings.

I've been lucky enough to be involved with the team that puts this race on since the beginning. I serve as the announcer kicking off each day as the ride starts and making announcements in the evening. While I don't ride myself, I'm in awe with what the event represents. It springs up at the Horse Park in Lexington and it literally has a community feel. If you are into riding a bike at all, consider this event for 2022!

Beth Burrows of Jim Beam (left) leads a tasting and Jason Brauner (right) holds court during a fireside chat.

About Colonel Steve Akley
Steve Akley, a Kentucky Colonel, is the company owner of the ABV Network, LLC, as well as an author, podcaster,  movie/TV show producer. He has been a bourbon fan (legally) since 1989, but notes that while his family didn't drink very much, when they did, it was a cocktail with bourbon as the base so he's always been around it. He enjoys splitting his time between his home with his family in his beloved hometown of St. Louis and Kentucky, where all of the bourbon fun is. You can reach Steve via social media or the web with everything under the name Steve Akley, or, you can go through the company website at:
Lia Niskanen brings back her focus on education with her Virtual Bourbon event on Zoom, The Journey from Oak Tree to Bourbon Barrel. In this session, she will taste four whiskeys that showcase the impact of the barrel on taste. Click here to learn more or sign-up for this October 12 event.
Bringing You The Best Bourbon Finds on Amazon!
To order on Amazon, click image.
The ABV Network Zip Hoodie
We've already had some chilly mornings. Time to get your ABV Network Zip Hoodie!
Get Involved with the ABV Network
Live events are back!
Be Part of the ABV Network Family
While we love bringing you original content via our podcasts, blogs, newsletters and Bourbon Zeppelin, our favorite thing to do is interact with our audience via our live events. This year we've already done an ATV tour at Hard Truth Distilling and taken a Tiki Cruise down the Ohio River and a farm-to-table event at Neeley Family Distillery. Coming up, we have a Halloween-themed pub crawl and our yearly Key West trip in January scheduled. Get involved by joining our ABV Network Crew Club at:

We'll see you at an upcoming ABV Network event soon!
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.

Jane Bowie

Master of Maturation / Director of Innovation
Maker's Mark Distillery
Featured on The Bourbon Show - Today!

We have some great programming coming up on the ABV Network. Here's a sneak peak at some of the upcoming shows:
The Bourbon Show
October 1 - Jane Bowie, Maker's Mark Distillery

October 6 - Mom Interview
October 12 - Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame

The Bourbon Daily

October 1 - Cocktail Contest Winner #5 / Molly Wellmann (Guest Judge) 
October 2 - Cocktail Bourbons
October 3 - StilL 630 Missouri Bourbon Batch #11

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 Nuggets

Check out our new logo merch available for sale at Amazon by clicking here. Free shipping on everything if you are an Amazon Prime member!

Bourbon History: Full of Boos

Tales from the Ricks!
Fall brings all of my favorite things: crisp leaves, bonfires, s'mores, and great ghost stories! As many of the distilleries have such long and storied pasts, you can bet they have some ghoulish figures walking their halls. So, curl up with some warm spiked cider and settle in for a few good ghost stories.  

Distillery hauntings aren’t anything new, but this time of year, the creepy stories gain in popularity. One of the reportedly most haunted distilleries is Buffalo Trace, which offered a ghost tour prior to COVID. Tourists visit famed Warehouse C, where the distillery tells of one of its most famous ghostly tales. Warehouse C, which was constructed in 1885, was full of workers one day in the early 19th century. The foreman was reportedly taking a bit of a siesta while his workers labored away. The foreman awoke to a voice telling him, “Get out.”  Seeing no one around, but heeding the mysterious warning, the foreman evacuated the workers. Seconds later, a brick wall in Warehouse C collapsed, falling right where the workers had been standing. The foreman asked if anyone else heard the voice and no one did, nor did any of them give the warning themselves.  Many suspect it was the ghost of Col. Taylor, who took great pride in the safety and care of his workers, as well as the quality of his bourbon.

Visitors to Buffalo Trace have also reported seeing a man in the rickhouse who was seemingly part of a tour of Warehouse D. At first, he looked like someone who had just wandered off from the group, but when asked to rejoin the tour, the man walked directly into the rows of barrels and vanished into thin air. Several others on the tour reported seeing the same thing without prompting, but did not feel threatened or otherwise scared by the man. He just seemed to be going about his business in the rickhouse—except he wasn’t actually there. 

The historic Stony Point Mansion is said to be one of the most haunted buildings at the distillery property.  Believed to be haunted by Col. Blanton and his housekeeper, Sarah, visitors report hearing a woman singing and seeing a vision of a man walking about the property. A man wearing his Col. Blanton’s signature bowler hat and long black coat has also been seen in the sunroom, where he passed away in 1959. Others report seeing Col. Blanton in the window of the mansion, as if to be keeping a watchful eye over the grounds.
Jim Beam also has a spirit roaming the grounds. Legend has it that a security guard still keeps watch over the distillery. He was known to yell and howl at the moon during his shift. Lucky (or unlucky…) visitors can still hear him howling when the moon is full. A ghost adventure show filmed at the distillery and detected paranormal activity during their visit. 

Whiskey Row in Louisville is also reported to have ghost sightings. Over the years, ghostly figures have been seen throwing glasses off the shelves, pushing tables around, and appearing out of thin air to send spine-tingling chills down the backs of an unsuspecting guest. Some speculated that the delays in getting Whiskey Row finally completed could be attributed to some of the playful spirits still wandering the grounds. Visitors to pubs around the Whiskey Row area also report seeing apparitions and hearing unexplained noises. Deadly fires, duels, and other grisly deaths fueled lore that there may be unsettled souls around, just looking for a place to rest. 

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, just the inkling of uncertainty adds to the lore that goes into the history of bourbon. Generations have gone into the labor and production of bourbon, and it is neat to think that those spirits may be influencing the spirits we are drinking today. Keep exploring the legends and ghosts of bourbon--you never know what may be lurking around the next corner!

Just keep that flashlight close.  

About Andrea Holak
Andrea Holak lives in sunny St. Louis, where she is the Executive Director of a local affordable housing agency. Andrea can usually be found at Busch Stadium watching baseball or hiking pretty trails, but you won’t find her without a flask of bourbon! She has joined the BZ team to tell the tales of bourbon history. Connect with Andrea on Twitter or Instagram at @redtumbleweed. 
Featured YouTube Video
Steve Talks to Jason Brauner
Steve ran into Jason Brauner at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Check out their conversation by clicking on the photo above. 

Please subscribe to our Bourbon Sasquatch Channel while you are there!
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

Check out our catalog of Virtual Bourbon events by clicking here.
This Month's Selection...

Ales from the Crypt: Moulin Bruges

Summer's over and now's the time to bust out those hoodies and shoes that cover our toes. Not me, but the rest of y’all can enjoy the changing of seasons. Although we’re still in the upper 90’s here in the desert, I still act as if I’m in the midwest when fall comes around. I’m celebrating with a Belgian Quad that would warm your bones, if you needed it to. 

One of my favorite local breweries out of Gilbert, Arizona, OHSO, has a stellar barrel-aged series: Ales From The Crypt. It never disappoints and its releases are always something to look forward to. Moulin Bruges spent over 2-years resting in Buffalo Trace barrels making it the most aged beers OHSO has released to-date. It is finished on fresh toasted walnuts, hazelnuts, coconut and Ugandan vanilla beans. 

The color is a dark reddish caramel with no head and medium body. The nose is candied sugar and rich vanilla. First sip, it is surprisingly smooth considering the whopping 17.4% ABV. There is no burn, but all the booziness you’d expect from the ABV. You’ll get charred sugar and sweet barreled oak, glazed walnuts, dates and a pecan pie. This quad is complex in flavor but simply beautiful on the palate. Of course, the can art is perfect for Halloween festivities.

What a treat!


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).

Fistful of Bourbon

Which would you rather have a fist full of dollars or a fist full of bourbon???

Remember, money can’t always buy you bourbon. This month, I am going to find out whether I would rather have a fist full of dollars or Fistful of Bourbon. Fistful of Bourbon (hereby referred to as FFB) is a 45% ABV offering from William Grant and Sons in Edison NJ.

On their website they say, "We’re an award-winning family-owned Scottish distilling company founded in 1887. The art of Scotch making requires mastery of blending — we own thousands of casks of whisky that we blend in all kinds of ways to create all kinds of flavors. To make Fistful of Bourbon, we applied all that generational knowhow to bourbon. Every year, we’ll find five whiskeys that create the same balance and match the same flavor profile that you taste today.”

So each year, the batch is different. On the back of the bottle is a list of the barrel profiles. First, is their back bone barrel which is “balanced and sweet”. Second is a leafy floral barrel. Third is a barrel with “soft spices with hints of nutmeg.” The fourth barrel is “Buttery Toffee.”  The last barrel used to make this bourbon is “Cinnamon Licorice.” I have been hearing and reading a lot of talk about blending lately so I thought I’d give it a try. I hope all the sweet tasting barrels don’t make it syrupy. I don’t like my bourbon that way unless it is bourbon maple syrup.

So, let’s find out by tasting. I got my BZ Glencairn glass. I also have my blue tooth. This month it is blasting Reek of Putrefaction by Carcass. They are cool guys from England that used to visit Detroit a lot in the past. They are the biggest band out of Mersey since the Beatles. Here is my take on FFB:

Color: Dark amber
Body: Smooth
Nose: Fruity with hints of spices
Palate: Sweet with spices
Finish: Medium burn with a hint of licorice.
This one gets a \m/ from me... it gets my horns up. I like this one. It goes down smooth and has a nice sweet but spicy after taste. I will definitely have to pass this around the fire next time with my friends. I tried it on the rocks it is also good. You could mix it but tastes good enough to drink it by itself. If you can find it I recommend you try it. Until next month I’ll be pounding the bourbon and keeping it totally Metal 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.
Additional Reading
by the team at the ABV Network
Our blog, the Whiskey Corner covers whiskey reviews, the whiskey lifestyle, events, product sampling and much more. You can check out this ABV Network exclusive offering by clicking here.
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Bourbon Zeppelin accepts product samples in exchange for a fair and honest review by a B.Z. team member or members.

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We love it. While it's classified as "Tennessee Whiskey" it's treated with the same as any other bourbon here.
By the way, the same goes for George Dickel (we love them, too!)
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All-Time Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beer Reviews by Six Feet of Dynamite Rankings:
Here is the ranked complete list of all bourbon barrel-aged beer reviews that have been rated by Six Feet of Dynamite for Bourbon Zeppelin: 5 Sticks of Dynamite: County Pumpkin by Superstition Meadery -- -- Nojoch Mul by Superstition Meadery -- Black Butte XXXVIII by Deschutes Brewery -- Pump[KY]n by Avery Brewing --  Bourbon Barrel Quad by Boulevard Brewing Co.-- Maple Jesus by Evil Twin -- So Happens it's Tuesday by The Bruery -- Headless Heron by Central Waters Brewing -- Devil's Teeth by Modern Times -- 4.75 Sticks of Dynamite: Cake Eater by OHSO -- Double Vanilla King Snake by Wren House -- Shot in the Arm by McFate Brewing -- 4.5 Sticks of Dynamite: Steel Toed Flip Flops by Wren House -- Dosivdanya by Destihl Brewery -- Concurrence Blend 3 by Creature Comforts -- Who Hit John by Wren House -- Puvachev's Cobra by Hanger 24 -- -- Ales from the Crypt: Moulin Bruges by OHSO -- Prairie Artisan Ales Bourbon Barrel Aged Weekend -- Stickee Monkey by Firestone Walker -- Old Leatherman by Lasting Brass Brewing Company  4.25 Sticks of Dynamite: Gordo by Clown Shoes -- Charleston BA Dream Crusher by The Shop Beer Co. -- Fourteen Barleywine by Surly Brewing Co. -- Highwaymen by Wren House -- Black is Beautiful by Second Chance Brewing Company -- Grand Cru by Tombstone Brewing Company -- Choosy Moms by Black Hog Brewing Co. -- Heavy Meddle by Meddlesome Brewing -- Whiskey & Cabernet Cask Finishd by Boulevard Brewing -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 -- Full of Sin by Meddlesome Brewing -- Legion (2019) by Community Beer Company -- Significant Stout by Buckledown Brewing -- 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 -- 3.50 Sticks of Dynamite Bruery Luchador at Sunrise by Clown Shoes --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: Wild Ale by Soquel Fermentation Project -- 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 Editorial Writer Shane Leonard, Assignment Reporter Wes Hardin and the following Columnists: Will Whitfield, Della Fain aka Six Feet of Dynamite, Andrea Holak, Ryan Blackwell, Greg Schneider 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.