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....


How Does Japanese Whisky Stack Up Against Bourbon by Steve Akley

As a bourbon drinker, I am always on the lookout for something new and exciting. One thing I had been hearing more-and-more about was Japanese whisky. There are legions of fans who swear the blends made by the likes of Shinji Fukyo, who blends Hibiki whisky for Suntory, put out a product equally as good as bourbon. In fact, some people call the offerings from the likes of Hibiki "Japenese bourbon," even though only products meeting a strict set of criteria, and that are manufactured in the United States, can actually be called bourbon.

Just curious, I decided to get a bottle of the lowest end offering from Hibiki, a whisky called Harmony. It comes in a beautiful bottle with 24 facets representing the 24 seasons of Japan. At least that's what the promotional material tells you.

I typically post pics of new things I am trying on Instagram and when I did, I got a lot of questions about it. Did it taste like bourbon? Was it better than bourbon? Is Japanese whisky the new bourbon?

Well, my short answers were "no, no and no," but still, I was intrigued. I decided to see if I could get together a nice little sampling of Japanese whisky so I could see for myself if anything out there tastes as good as, or is better than, bourbon.

Luckily, the old barter system is still alive and well in the whiskey community. I traded a couple of my books for samples of Hibiki 12, 17 and 21 year old. Now I had four solid selections when you combined them with the Harmony I had already bought. Next, when I told my buddy Matt Saunds (our Secondary Market reporter) about this, he offered to donate a bottle of Yamazaki 12 Year Old.

Now I was up to five selections.

When a local store offered a special on a highly rated bottle of Iwai, I picked that up as well offering six different bottles of whisky from Japan for my research.

First up was the big gun... the big name in Japanese whisky: Hibiki. I have to say that it was quite an experience tasting four versions of Hibiki side-by-side. In fact, it was amazing. I'm a fan. The master blending of Fukyo is so good, it's like stepping up the rung of a ladder getting better with each age statement. There is absolutely a consistency in flavor profile there, but it gets more balanced and evens out nicely as you get one rung up on the ladder with an older whisky.

Was it good?

It was fantastic!

It's not bourbon, though.

Next up was the Yamazaki. I would say it was better than the Harmony, but didn't rate quite as good as the 12 year old Hibiki. The malt-base of these offerings didn't yield the flavor profile I was used to with bourbon. What also seemed to be missing was the presence of wood. Even though all of these are aged in barrels, none delivered the flavor of the barrel like this devout bourbon drinker was used to tasting.

My final selection was Iwai from Mars Whisky. As soon as you taste this one there is something familiar. Well, unlike all of the malt-based offerings from Hibiki and Yamazaki, Iwai is 75% corn and 25% malt. It's even aged in a used bourbon barrel. While there is no age statement, it spends enough time in the barrel for you to be able pick up the familiar taste of light oak. With a sticker of under $30, the price is right as well.

All of the whisky I sampled for this experiment was certainly worth trying. For those looking for something a little exotic that truly reminds them of America's indigenous spirit, Iwai is the clear cut winner.

While I'm not giving up bourbon any time soon, I would suggest any of these offerings for something just a little different.

Japanese Whisky is definitely the "new kid on the block." Check out this graphic depicting the date of the first commercial distillery opening for four different kinds of whisk(e)y and a look at the most famous person in the world at the time of it starting business.
In this issue...
As always we have a phenomenal issue lined out for you. We have a brand new columnist joining the team month in Andrew Wiehebrink. With so many bourbon fans visiting Kentucky to see the distilleries, it made sense to add a column reviewing restaurants in the area. Andrew is not only going to review he restaurants from the food and atmosphere standpoint, he's going to take a look at their bourbon selections and more in his 6 Point Inspection column.

As always we like to pull guest columnist into the mix and this month is no exception. Erik Hasselgärde gives us a look at the bourbon scene in Stockholm, Sweden and Ashley, aka @asax117 on Instagram takes us to visit a bar in Pennsylvania.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't correct an error that was totally my fault in last month's issue. The good folks at Independent Stave Company (ISC) have been so incredibly nice to me, and this publication, it's been unbelievable. Inexplicably, in my intro to the article about all of the great things they were doing I called them International Stave Company. Yes, it was more than once. I'm not sure what happened and I certainly disappointed myself and let down our team. Everyone works so hard to put out a quality publication it's not fair to anyone to make that sort of silly mistake. While I can never promise perfection, I can assure you I've taken measures to limit the possibilities of something like this happening again.

The newsletter goes out at 7:00 a.m. and literally within minutes the mistake was brought to my attention. I couldn't help but remember the line from the Jim Cary version of The Grinch where he was reviewing his schedule and how closely it married up to what happened with this mistake.Check it out:
We pick ourselves up and move forward with a great issue here.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as the BZ team had putting it together for you!

Bourbon Zeppelin

PS - Our value bourbon columnist Greg Schneider says he wants audience input as to what he's reviewing. Send him some ideas!
Reviews of Unique Bourbon Offerings by Steve and Four Bourbon Zeppelin Team Members

This month we take a look at:
Ozark Distillery Bourbon
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:

Reviewer #1
Mark "Cake" Hansen - 84.0
Aroma - Oak, sweet and you pick up the grains as well.
Taste - Oak, spice, vanilla. The sweet taste and finish you would expect from a wheatie.
Final Evaluation - Sip it neat.

Reviewer #2
Seth Brown - 80.0

Aroma - Very light and calm nose. Not overly complex. Sweet grains; wheat. Dark brown sugar. Light fresh cut oak. Hints of citrus; orange peel.
Taste - The taste is equally as sweet as the nose.  Wheat is pulled through here, a very calm pour but packs a lot of flavor. It has a very nice earthiness to it up front with roasted coffee. After rolling it around a bit that turns into some great maple syrup flavors. It’s like breakfast in a glass! There are hints of black pepper and young oak, just enough to provide a little spice. The finish is medium with some decent viscosity and a little mint bite to it.  
Final Evaluation -
This is a very approachable whiskey. It’s not overly complex, staying very consistent while mingling in enough varying flavors to keep it really interesting. The sweet flavors are just the right amount. I would love to see this aged a bit longer with a tad bit more barrel char. With a proof reaching a little closer to 100 (currently 92) this would be an absolute winner in my book. That said, it’s by no means a slacker. At $40 this is definitely worth trying.

Reviewer #3
Robin Ricca - 65.0

Aroma - Coffee, maple syrup, malt, toasty oak and a hint of orange.
Taste -  Orange, oak, clove, black pepper, butter and honey.
Final Evaluation - Not real complex on the nose. Hints of orange and toasted oak mingle with strong tastes of maple and malt. It is well balanced on the palate with just a little burn. Components of butter, honey, oak and clover all mingling together.

Tossed Reviews
Steve Akley - 86.0
Aroma - Light oak and citrus.
Taste - Oak, caramel, vanilla and orange. Smooth even balance and just the right amount of heat.
Final Evaluation - I'm a fan of this one. $40 is money well-spent.

Mike Swain - 65.0
Aroma - Nose is astringent and one-dimensional. Heavy brown sugar and alcohol on the nose.
Taste - Brown sugar and Leather on the tongue with a short finish. Has a candy like flavor mixed with leather notes that dissipates rather quickly.
Final Evaluation - For a young bourbon, this has a unique flavor profile but could possible benefit from more time in the cask. Not a bad pour by any means, but was not complex. Overall I would buy this bottle at the price point.

Combined Score
The final score for Ozark Distillery Bourbon is...

The Bouron Lifestyle
This month, the Bourbon Lifestyle section is dedicated to a reprint of a portion of an article created by Rachel Sanders of Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed's Guide to Having Bourbon in 100% of Your Thanksgivng Day Meal
Who is up for a challenge? How does an attempt at working bourbon into every aspect of a Thanksgiving Day meal sound? We thought you would be up for that one!

Be sure to see the link at the end of the article for her complete original article with even more ideas as well as the recipes to everything shown here.
A bourbon ginger cider cocktail should get your festivities off on the right foot.
You aren't doing it right if your cranberry sauce doesn't have bourbon!
Bourbon sweet potatoes? Yes, please!
Everything goes well with bacon butter.
A little bourbon-pecan stuffing is a nice touch!
Apple bourbon turkey, are you kidding me?
Keep it going... bourbon cream gravy!

You knew a bourbon pecan pie was going to be on this list!

Surprise: Pumpkin made it, too. How does a Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie sound?

Even cheesecake can get in on the bourbon bandwagon.
Ice cream option #1: Bourbon Butterscotch Ice Cream.
Ice cream option #2: Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream.

All Thanksgiving desserts need whipped cream. Make that they need BOURBON whipped cream.

When it's time for leftovers, how does a little bourbon glazed bacon sound for those turkey sandwiches?

To see Rachel Sander's original article, click here.
News About Bourbon the B.Z. Team has Heard
In celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Jack Daniel Distillery will release a limited-edition, Tennessee whiskey to commemorate the historic occasion. The Distillery was founded in 1866 by young entrepreneur, Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel, whose name remains on every bottle still produced at the original distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.

Master Distiller Jeff Arnett created a distinctive taste profile for this commemorative whiskey that combines the Distillery’s whiskey-making tradition with the artistry of modern-day craftsmanship.

“For this 150th anniversary whiskey, our coopers ‘slow-toasted’ the barrels to bring out the rich flavors and aromas of the wood, creating a contemporary expression of an 1866 barrel char,” explains Arnett. “We wanted to offer a unique whiskey that we think collectors and consumers alike will enjoy for their own celebrations and is as special as the anniversary that it celebrates.”

True to the process established by its founder, the grain bill for the anniversary whiskey is the same as the iconic Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, consisting of 80 percent corn, 12 percent barley and 8 percent rye. Each drop was then mellowed through ten feet of sugar maple charcoal, before going into specially-crafted new American oak barrels, adhering to the guidelines required of a Tennessee whiskey.

Once filled, the barrels were placed in the “angel’s roost” of one of the oldest barrelhouses at the Distillery where whiskey has matured for generations at an elevation and with the exposure to sunlight that creates the perfect climate for the greatest interaction between the whiskey and barrel.

Barreled and bottled at 100 proof, the 150th Anniversary edition offers complex tasting notes of butterscotch and toffee upon first taste followed by a full, smooth and lingering finish with warm flavors of toasted oak. It has a suggested retail price of $99.99 for a 1L bottle.

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

Most people who are really into bourbon know that one of the requirements to be called bourbon is that it must have a mashbill of at least 51% corn. So if 51% is the minimum, what is the maximum percentage of corn a mashbill can contain and still be called a bourbon?

The answer is below at the bottom of this issue (under Hasse Berg's column).

The Bourbon Virgin Tries...

Rebel Yell Ginger
(70 proof)
This month’s bourbon was as smooth as melted chocolate to my throat. Steve!? Where have you been hiding this one?! This went down easier than drinking Kool-Aid!

This could be dangerous folks! Either I will develop an addiction for this and start hoarding every bottle I can get my hands on or I will just set up a ‘Lemonade’ stand at the end of my driveway, get my neighbors drunk, and watch the sales shoot through the roof! Shots, Shots, Shots! Kool-Aid for everyone!

On the real though, it did not burn, I did not want to spit it out, I did not want to throw up, and I did not use a chaser after I drank it. Smile all, your little Bourbon Virgin is all growed up now!

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!
This issue marks our sixth since our June 1 launch. That means we've been at this a half of a year already!

Because we are simply a band of bourbon fans, and we dove into this without focus groups, roundtables or any type of feedback, we would now like to take a pause to hear what you think about how we are doing so far. We are requesting you take a few minutes to email us answers to five quick questions that will help us assess how we doing so far and possibly make improvements to increase your reading satisfaction.

Thanks in advance for your assistance in making BZ the best it can be.

Stockholm, Sweden

by Erik Hasselgärde

Stockholm has a bourbon scene–why didn’t anyone tell me?! Oh, apparently I’m supposed to tell you about it.


I’m originally from the northern part of Sweden, about two hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle. Five years ago me and my partner moved to Stockholm for work and we’ve been living here since. I first fell in love with bourbon in the late 00’s, and have been of legal drinking age in Sweden for another five before that.

 Me, at my favorite bar in Stockholm, Tweed.

Important to this story is context. In Sweden, the Swedish state has a monopoly, by law, on retail sales of alcohol beverages higher than 3.5% abv. Private import was not legal until ten years ago. There is one chain of state-controlled retail liquor stores, Systembolaget (The System Company). These stores all look the same and carry almost the same assortment.


The monopoly–in telling you about the bourbon scene in Stockholm–means that if you want to buy a bottle for home consumption, you have one type of store to go to with about six to eight different bourbons to choose from (the same six to eight in every store). On average, a new bourbon becomes available at Systembolaget once every other year. There are details to this, telling a more nuanced story, but that is basically it. Low availability, coupled with high prices because of taxation, means that possibility to experience new bourbon in Sweden is extremely limited.

Photography inside of Systembolaget is forbidden, so here is a stock image from their website. Service is great, stores are always very well kept and in some categories very well stocked.


But, not all whiskey in Sweden is treated equal. If bourbon is the distant uncle of the whiskey family, Scotch undoubtedly is the whisky patriarch. The different brands of blended and single malt Scotch brands available at Systembolaget are over ten times as many as those of American whiskey. This is for the most part true at bars and restaurants here as well, where you are lucky to find more than two options of bourbon among shelves and shelves of Scotch.


Bars are where I go in Stockholm to experience new bourbons. Not bars in general, but a handful of select establishments. Akkurat is probably the Scotch bar in Stockholm. The bar’s whisky patron, Micke, told me that Scotch tastings held there are fully booked months in advance, while bourbon tastings requires him nagging the whisky club members into showing up. Outsiders rarely ever participate.

The first batch of Stagg Jr. at Tweed in Stockholm–extremely fair-priced by Stockholm standards. The first time I tasted this it shifted my love for bourbon into a higher gear!


In my quest for like-minded people I searched for bourbon groups. I found a registered non profit-organisation (which anyone can start) called ”Svenska Bourbon Sällskapet” (The Swedish Bourbon Society), created in 2001. No other useful information exists, and there’s no proof found online of any activity.


There is however, a Swedish chapter of Thomas Lynch’s ’Bourbon Lovers’ group on Facebook, but not much seems to be going on among it’s thirty or so members, other than posts by the groups very friendly admin Linus, at least not in the Facebook group itself.


That’s about it. I’m sure there are bourbon lovers just like me somewhere in Stockholm. Maybe in the mixologist circuit. Gathering of close friends probably, and maybe a few enthusiastic traders spread out over the country, but for the most part there doesn’t seem to be much of a bourbon scene here at all.


So for now, I will gaze longingly over the Atlantic where the bourbon flows, wishing more Americans could come over so I don’t have to talk the ears off of friends feigning interest in my ramblings over open bottle oxidation.

Me with David Cuttino of Reservoir Distillery, from Virginia,
at the 2016 Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival.

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 Erik Hasselgärde for sharing info about the bourbon seen in Stockholm this month. Erik is a regular member of the Instagram crew (@northernbourbon).

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!
Booker's Rye Named "World Whisky of the Year"
Booker’s Rye, the first ever rye whiskey to be released from the Booker’s Bourbon brand, was named “World Whisky of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017, the world’s leading whiskey guide. Each year, only one whisk(e)y from across the globe is given this honor, and the team at Jim Beam was proud to honor founding distiller Booker Noe, and his legacy, with this prestigious accolade.
Booker’s Rye was released in May 2016 featuring a never-before-released rye mash bill that was made from some of the last barrels laid down by former master distiller Booker Noe. Booker’s Rye is the hallmark of Noe's big thinking and innovative spirit and was made true to Booker’s Bourbon standards — bottled uncut at its natural proof - 136.2 - after being aged for just over 13 years. 
Booker's Rye was tasted among more than 1,200 new whiskies this year, and was described in Whisky Bible 2017 as "simply a staggering example of a magnificent rye showing exactly what genius in terms of whiskey actually means.” This marks the second time in three years that a Beam Suntory product has been acknowledged with this honor.
by Steve Akley
Happy 1st birthday (October 3) to the bourbon aging at Boone County Distilling Company in Boone County, Kentucky. The Boone crew celebrated by tapping into the barrel and filling a bottle so the entire team could give it a try. They are pleased to report it tasted great and they are well on their way to being able to offer an incredible product.

Now, back to resting for another year.

Note to Self: "Happen" to pop into Boone County Distilling Company next October 3.
"The Bear" - The still used to make Boone County's bourbon.
Filling the bottle. Let's get ready to party!
The Boone County team celebrating birthday number one!
Elijah Craig Gets A Makeover
Heaven Hill announced a major redesign of its flagship Elijah Craig Small Batch packaging. It includes a contemporary, yet traditional new look for its iconic bottle to better mirror the premium nature of the award-winning spirit within and celebrate the company’s unwavering commitment to its availability for years to come.

Elijah Craig Small Batch is made exclusively from batches of 200 barrels or less of 8-year-old to 12-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, with a large percent from the older barrels. Now available nationwide, its mashbill, proprietary yeast, proof, and aging regimen remain the same.

The newly designed bottle is taller and has cleaner lines that better appeal to today’s discerning Bourbon drinker. Using a custom-designed mold, 1789, the year the Rev. Elijah Craig founded his distillery, is embossed on the glass. Craig is credited as “The Father of Bourbon,” who pioneered aging his Kentucky whiskey in charred oak barrels that created the spirit’s signature amber color and smooth flavor.

In addition, the brand name and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey directly decorate the bottle to better showcase the beauty of the spirit. A small textured paper label on the bottom of the bottle’s front includes Elijah Craig’s signature, as well as product information. Crowning the bottle, its cork closure is made of wood that is stained dark brown.

Here is a look at the new design:

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

The Petschke Pick
After featuring the Petschke Pick in the Life of A Bourbon Barrel last month, a sample of Petschke Picks arrived in the mail at BZ Headquarters in St. Louis. The Petschke Pick is the creation of Tom Petschke who noticed how much more enjoyable chewing on a toothpick was when he dipped it in his after dinner bourbon. He set out to create the ultimate toothpick by using freshly dumped bourbon barrels still soaked with our favorite distilled spirit to create the most unique toothpick on the market.

Upon arrival, I noticed how great the product looks. The picks come in a shotglass with a wax seal on top. As soon as you pop that wax seal, and uncork the shotglass, you start picking up the scent of bourbon. I put a Petschke Pick in my mouth. While I didn't get an immediate taste of bourbon, after about 30 seconds here came a wave.
Notice how the Petschke Pick (center) dwarfs a standard toothpick (left) and a fancy banquet model (right)

The pick itself is amazing. I don't know that "artisan" and "toothpick" have been put together before, but those words work perfectly together here. The Petschke Pick has a rounded side so you aren't stabbing the inside of your mouth and a pick side if you do in fact need to put it to work. 

The real beauty of this item is the fact it becomes an experience. The Petschke Pick doesn't splinter and it doesn't turn into pulp if you have it in your mouth for longer than 15 minutes. In fact, with my initial run, I was busy working on this issue of Bourbon Zeppelin and kept it in my mouth for over 3 hours.

Three hours!

It was still as solid as when I started and delivering a nice taste of bourbon. Drinking bourbon is all about indulgence and the Petschke Pick is certainly a fun little indulgence to enjoy from time-to-time!
Over two hours in and I took a break from writing for this photo. The Petschke Pick still was delivering bourbon flavor and has no loss of stability at all!
Trey Zoeller Featured on The Bourbon Show - Today!
by Steve Akley
Trey Zoeller is featured on The Bourbon Show podcast led by BZ staffers Steve Akley, Evan Haskill and Seth Brown. The issue just came out today. You won't want to miss Trey talking about getting into the business, his current products and what the future holds for him/his company.

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!

The Bourbon Sipper Visits the former Old Taylor Distillery
Last week I was lucky enough to take a step back in Kentucky history when I visited the Old EH Taylor Distillery, now known as Castle & Key.  The distillery was originally built by Col. E.H. Taylor in 1887.  Taylor was a man with big ideas, he didn’t just build any distillery, he built a place where he could showcase bourbon and how it was made. He wanted people to come and see the elegance in bourbon and Kentucky.  In a time when no one really visited distillers he built a tourist attraction and spared no expense to push bourbon to the next level.
I won’t lie, I’m a bourbon nerd that loves the history and culture behind the industry. When I pulled up to the Castle & Key distillery it took my breath away, it was like I was getting ready to teleport back in time. The Old Taylor Distillery is nestled on 82 acres of land complete with a sunken garden, spring house, limestone castle, gazebos, stone bridges, railroad station, and huge rickhouses and the list could go on. Honestly it took me a few days to digest it all after I left, the vastness of the property is mind blowing.  Inside the limestone castle sit 22 fermenter tanks, some large enough to hold over 11,000 gallons of mash. That one building houses everything needed to cook and distill bourbon. Taylor believed the key to Kentucky bourbon was our water so he built a spring house that was shaped like a key.  The train station made the distiller even more accessible to the public. As the train would pull in one of the first things you would see is the elegant spring house and gazebos.  This was more of an experience than just a simple tourist attraction. A “go big or go home” mindset is what made this place what it was. Also on property there are two rickhouses still standing.  One of which is the equivalent of two football fields long, making it the largest rickhouse in the US. The other outfitted with concrete pillars that give it an elegance I’ve never seen before in a rickhouse. 
The Future of Castle and Key is in Good Hands with Marianne Barnes
Marianne Barnes is not only the first female master distiller in Kentucky (since at least before Prohibition), but she is also a super hero in my book.  She is crazy smart, a vegan, strikingly beautiful (just check out her Instagram page), humble, with a wonderful outspoken personality.  Does that sound too good to be true? Well it gets better yet. She is also helping bring back to life the Old Taylor distillery. In just a few weeks she will start making her first batches of bourbon in the historic old distillery. She is clearing the road ahead for other women to follower her lead in a mostly male dominated industry.
Okay so yes, I took over a hundred photos, and no, not all of them were selfies. I couldn’t help myself; it was like I was visiting the Atlantis of bourbon. The bourbon world got a lucky break when Peristle purchased the property and began working hard to restore and reopen it as Castle & Key.  They have kept a mindful eye to leave as much as possible in its original state, making it not just a new distillery but a historical site. They’ve made every effort to keep it in line with the way EH Taylor would have wanted it. He was a man of innovation and grandeur, and it is reflected in his creation. You can be sure I will be waiting in line on opening day to take another tour.
The Bourbon Sipper Old Tayor Visit Photo Album
A sampling of the 100+ photos she took
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

2255 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206
Hours: 4:30-10:00pm Weekdays
4:30-11:00pm+ on Weekends
4:30-9:00pm on Sunday
Right when you enter Bourbon’s Bistro, it is no secret that the establishment is built around America’s native spirit. Barrel heads adorn the walls and all kinds of whiskey memorabilia can be seen from every angle. The three-tiered bar stocked with whiskey takes up most of the back wall and it is the first thing you notice when you walk in the door. With dim lights, soft music during dinner, and the entire bar area being pretty well made of wood, it almost has a modern speakeasy feel to it. If you are a bourbon fan, you will feel right at home when you walk in the door. This is a place that makes you want to sit down and taste bourbon. The outdoor patio is covered and features a bricked fireplace for cold nights. Go outside during a chilly night and you will see factory defective Louisville Slugger bats providing fuel for a warm fire. Situated right in the heart of Clifton, an upcoming area for bars and shoppes in the Louisville area, the location is perfect for people watching and serves as an excellent first stop on your night out on the town.

You won’t need to worry about running out of whiskey to try here. With one of the largest bourbon selections in town, owner Jason Brauner has made sure your taste buds stay busy. Well over 100 ever changing bourbon selections grace the shelves. The bar runs from the counter top all the way to the high ceilings in the main room. Top shelf selections require a ladder to reach. Bourbon’s also participates in a variety of private barrel selection programs with Kentucky distillers. Jim Rutledge, former master distiller of Four Roses, regards owner Jason Brauner as having one hell of a palate for bourbon so you know the selections are going to be great.

The bartenders aren’t just bartenders…they are bourbon geeks just like the rest of us. Most of them have been around bourbon for years and their knowledge is extensive. And they love to talk about bourbon. It makes the experience much more enjoyable when you have a staff that truly appreciates whiskey. Ask Jeff or Mike a question about a specific bourbon and they can pretty much tell you everything you need to know about it. And if they see you have a genuine interest in bourbon, they aren’t shy to letting you nose all the rare selections they have available. Owner Jason Brauner was even a builder of copper stills at Vendome right in downtown Louisville. His private collection of bourbon and decanters full of old whiskey is something to be admired.

The food menu is something I don’t pay much attention to. When I visit the bistro I come for the whiskey. However, the restaurant side of the business is fine dining. Daily specials and seasonal menus will make sure there is always something new. All menu selections are prepared by their in-house chef and nothing ever seems to be bad. The burger and frites is my favorite dish and with that fried egg on top, it truly is a treat.

The pour is what separates the men from the boys as I like to say. You won’t find pour spouts or jiggers anywhere near the bourbon. When you order a drink, the bottle is brought to you and the pour is made right in front of your eyes. A cardinal sin for a bartender is to pour a glass of expensive whiskey behind the bar or away from the customers view. This is a good way to anger us bourbon geeks. Sometimes the pours are lighter, sometimes they are heavier, but always healthy and never measured.  The cocktails are basic but done right. Try their version of a bourbon lily for a real treat.

Bang for Your Buck
The price for bourbon is good. There are places in the area that are cheaper but the pour here always seems to be heavier. You can get a shot of whiskey for under $5.00 or you can get a shot of whiskey that is $350.00. Up to you but the range is there. Food is on the expensive side but like I mentioned before, this isn’t bar food. It is a white table cloth establishment. A burger will run you $15.00 and a steak can cost up to $40.00. The food is priced where it should be and the bourbon prices are a pretty good deal when considering the pour.
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.
Whiskey Barrel Coffee: The Tasting
Part 2 of 2
by Steve Akley
Last month, I wrote about Tal Fishman and his company Whiskey Barrel Coffee. Both the story of Tal himself, as well as the journey to starting his company, made for an interesting article. In speaking to the team at Whiskey Barrel Coffee, they made a very compelling case for the fact Whiskey Barrel Coffee being very different from anything you could find on the market today.

Certainly, there are other bourbon barrel aged or bourbon flavored coffees. What they say makes Whiskey Barrel Unique is the quality ingredients they utilize as well as the process which Tal worked on for two years to perfect. They say the end result is a coffee, which actually tastes like coffee but gives a bourbon finish. Literally, an after dinner coffee that also provides the satisfaction of an after dinner cocktail.

Stories and marketing can often be just exactly that... stories and marketing. Does Whiskey Barrel Coffee stand up to the lofty expectations they have created in branding their product?

Well, we're about to find out! Bourbon Zeppelin received two samples from Whiskey Barrel to sample:

1). A bag of their Angel's Share Blend
2). A bottle of their Dark Roast

Upon arrival at BZ Headquarters in St. Louis, you knew, if nothing else, they were clearly presenting their brand in the best way possible. The packaging is stunning, and the fact their signature coffee comes in a bottle filled with beans and sealed with a wax top... Amazing!

Check out what it looked like upon arrival in St. Louis:
Again, pride in a product through great packaging doesn't necessarily translate automatically to a great product. Yes, it's a good sign, but, the product itself must deliver on taste to truly be a great product. Here's a look at my tasting notes for both of the items sampled:

Angel's Share

Angel's Share is a blended coffee which means they tone down the flavor a bit by mixing it with quality non-bourbon barrel-aged coffee. With a reduced price point this could easily be positioned as an everyday drinking while the flagship could, perhaps, be reserved for special occasions.

As soon as you open the bag, you are immediately drawn into the incredible smell of the beans in the bag. It may be a blend, but had a strong presence of bourbon in it nonetheless. They could almost co-brand it as a room deodorizer because as it's brewing this great smell of coffee and whiskey permeates from your coffee pot and literally takes over the kitchen.

As you take your first sip it tastes as smooth and evenly balanced of a coffee as you will ever find. I can't imagine drinking this in any way other than black. There is no need to take away from the flavors here with creamer, milk or sugar. No bitterness at all. Just a great coffee.

As advertised, it delivers a nice gentle taste of bourbon on the finish.

I have bought every distillery branded coffee in their gift shops when visiting Kentucky over the years. Nothing even compares to what Whiskey Barrel delivers with Angel's Share. Those offerings have ranged from lightly tasting like bourbon, to smelling like, but not tasting like bourbon to just tasting like coffee (no bourbon smell or taste at all).

This is the real deal. It preserves coffee flavor while delivering on great bourbon taste as well. I'm not kidding when I rank this offering a 10 out of 10.

Whiskey Barrel Coffee (Dark Roast reviewed)
As my first pot of Whiskey Barrel's signature coffee was brewing, I kind of started figuring out my earlier review of the Angel's Share might have screwed me. I mean I'm not a professional coffee reviewer (in my defense I'm not even sure that's a thing), but that perfect 10 really boxed me in with what I would be scoring this one.

The aroma of the brewing pot was delightful. My kitchen smelled like I had opened a business called The Bourbon Coffee Shoppe  in it (yes, it would have the "e" at the end). The taste proved to be even more satisfying... in fact, I don't know that I have ever had a product description more perfectly aligned with what it stated and how it tasted.

The initial taste of my black coffee was a smooth, rich taste. No acidic-taste or bitterness that puts some people off. Then, you get the bourbon. It's as deep into the flavor as if you drank a shot of bourbon. The aftertaste you are left with is just satisfying. This is the ultimate after dinner drink.

What to do, what to do, what to do?

Do I lower my previous 10 for Angel's Share?

Do I create a different scale?

Do I give a 100 on a 10 point scale?

No, I think I leave the integrity intact and simply give this one a 10 as well.

They are both perfect in their own way. If you are looking for an everyday drinker to start your morning, Angel's Share is probably the choice pick for you. If you want to finish a meal perfectly, or are simply looking for a treat, the flagship Whiskey Barrel coffee is the right pick.
Click here to check out Whiskey Barrel Coffee's unique offerings on their website.
Blackback Rye
86 Proof
Afton, Viriginia

Color: Amber
Nose: Juniper Berries, Oak, Citrus
Taste: Woody, Braised Orange Peel, Pepper
Finish: Rye, Dry and Hot. The good kind of Hot.
Consume: Neat
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.
Customize Your Evan Williams Single Barrel Bottles

Looking for a customized gift or simply want to get creative? Evan Williams offers free customized labels on its website for their Single Barrel offering. You can create the message on the site and they then mail you the label. The stickers created now will be sent the second week of December so you will get them in time for holiday gift giving season.
Speaking of the Holidays...
Online British retailer, Master of Malt, has assembled some of the coolest advent calendars for distilled spirits fans. They feature 3cl bottles (approximately 1 ounce) that can be enjoyed daily for the month of December as you count down the days to Christmas.

There are a variety of distilled spirits featured, including offerings focusing on difficult-to-find and rare whiskey offerings. You can elect to keep these a surprise, of if you have to peek, the website has a clickable link that shows you exactly what is in each calendar (they mix it up as to what date they are on so it's a surprise what you get each day). BZ readers would probably be most interested in the bourbon advent calendar, available by
clicking here. In all, there are 25 different distilled spirits advent countdown calendars available.

by Emily C. Oursler
Emily Oursler is on vacation this month. Look for her column right here next month!
About Emily C. Oursler
Nicknamed Gypsy Silo because she likes to travel and has been known to collect enough things on the way to "fill a silo," Emily Oursler serves Bourbon Zeppelin as the Managing Editor. In addition to contributing stories to BZ, she helps with the marketing and strategy of the publication. You can find Emily on Instagram and Twitter (@gypsysilo).
Submitted by Matt Walker

This drink is my variation of a New Orleans classic called the Café Brûlot, a popularized bourbon and coffee drink. Really popular during the prohibition era as it was a great way to mask different liquor. The New Orleans' version is a spectacle to watch, as it's steeped with different liqueurs and spices then sent down a flaming orange peel spiral into a large silver bowl for serving. Don't get any ideas here! I'm all about a more home/bar friendly preparation that's still delicious. 

A couple of things play into this cocktail. A sweeter bourbon like a wheated bourbon plays well as there are a lot of acidic ingredients. And a decent espresso will go a long way to your enjoyment. Make your espresso in advance and chill it on ice or in the refrigerator if it's that far in advance. The goal here is not to melt all the ice with hot espresso and end up drinking coffee and water.

Enjoy this as an after dinner cocktail or morning if it's your day off! 


2 oz Wheated Bourbon

1 oz Espresso (chilled)

1/2 oz Averna amaro

1/4 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz Ancho Reyes


Place all ingredients in a mixing glass with a stirring spoon from your collection. Fill glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with an expressed orange peel. (If you still want some of that original New Orleans flare then express the orange over a flame.)

Matt Walker / @walkerincharleston on Instagram
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:
Russell's Reserve
Al’right, Zeppelin readers - last month was Willett. This month I am taking a look at:

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel.

It’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of Russell’s Reserve single barrel. It’s 110-proof and non-chill filtered. Plus, Jimmy and Eddie have been putting out amazing bourbons for 60 years now - they are specially hand-picked by Jimmy and Eddie.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel was released in 2013, it has the same mash bill as Turkey 101: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Wild Turkey uses # 4 “alligator” char, and enters the barrel at a low proof - so when bottled, there are minimal amounts of water added. Russell’s single barrel is bottled at 110-proof, and is non-chill filtered, which results in a big, bold, and spicy flavor!
The bottle I am reviewing today was hand-picked by Jamie Farris for the Lincoln Road Package Store. This is Barrel # 502, Warehouse T, and Floor 6. This Russell’s single barrel is one of the best Russell’s I have tasted, as it is packed with major strong flavors, and it is super complex - without being too hot - for its 110-proof. It drinks more like a Kentucky Spirit, so it can be pretty dangerous. 
In the glass it is a rusty, darkened-amber color, while the legs are thick and oily. 
 The nose is just amazing; I wish I could make a candle out of this! It is cinnamon toast coupled with raisins, caramel-toffee, brunt sugar, toasted oats, and oak with a mere hint of pipe tobacco. 
 The palate is thick, creamy, and packed with flavor.​ Upfront it is very sweet with caramel, butterscotch, and sugarcoated pecans. Mid-palate there are big notes of rye spice, orange zest, and cherry pie, followed by toasted corn and oak.
 The finish is long and hot - big Kentucky hug with this one - oak, peanuts, and cinnamon! 

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).
$11.50 for BTAC in Columbus, Ohio?
It's true... if you are interested in a pour. Our own Aaron Cave shared a receipt from a recent outing where he enjoyed a drink of a few of the stars of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and some Seasoned Wood from Colonel E.H. Taylor. Check it out:
Bourbon Nuggets
Most people know that bourbon matures at different rates in different sections of the warehouse. This leads to many people assuming that it means bourbon barrels are rotated to provide a consistent flavor. In reality, that's not the case at any of the large distillers other than one: Maker's Mark. That's right, Maker's rotates its barrels to ensure a consistent flavor profile in every batch.
Enhancing Your Woodford Reserve Drinking Experience
by Steve Akley
How do you enhance your drinking experience with Woodford Reserve?


A few drops of water?

Those are the typical means to open up the flavor experience for bourbon drinkers, but the team at Woodford Reserve believes there might be a different way to positively alter the flavor of a bourbon poured neat and it's with specific food pairings. Woodford suggests the following six foods to match up with your bourbon to enhance your drinking experience:
Aged Parmesan
Brings Out: Pecan and other nutty flavors.
Brings Out: Wood, nut and pecan
Brings Out: Cherry, blackberry and cooked peach
Brings Out: Orange, lemon and peach
Brings Out: Chocolate, coffee, clove and tobacco leaf
Brings Out: Caramel, honey and hints of grass notes
Woodford has taken this concept further by lining out exactly how to layout a plate and even has steps to maximize a tasting experience. According to Woodford, you should follow these four steps when pairing food and bourbon together for flavor:
  1. Chew the food sample and breathe through your nose to take in the full breath of the flavors.
  2. Take a sip of the bourbon.
  3. Cleanse your palate with a sip of cool or room temperature water.
  4. Observe a conversational pause before moving on to the next sample.
A plate set and ready to sample would look like this:
With the holidays right around the corner, friends and family will be gathering for parties. It sounds like an interesting and fun way to highlight your bourbon collection, perhaps even for those who haven't traditionally been bourbon fans. Yes, it is the responsibility of bourbon fans to be good stewards of our beloved distilled spirit so this might be a unique way to introduce bourbon to some new potential fans.

For more information about food pairings and bourbon, including a video of Woodford Distiller Chris Morris discussing how these six specific foods bring out the unique flavors of Woodford,
click here.
Whoop and Holler by Orphan Barrel

Reviewed by: Mark "Cake" Hansen

"The nose is almost neutral but it has a charcoal peat body and a spicy warm finish."

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

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

This Month, BZ Staffer Hasse Berg Talks About:
Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10

Do you know the type of person who always goes left, when the group goes right? Well let me tell you a little bit about myself. In my early teens, when all my classmates were active in some sport club, I spent my time skating, and building skater ramps, wearing oversized pants and hoodies. Skate or die, all the way baby. When all my friends started on their education, I got myself a nine-to-five job, started a webpage about upcoming Danish literature, and spent my weekends hanging out with underground rock musicians and struggling writers. My love for whisky started out with Scotch, and don't get me wrong, I still absolutely love it, but most Scotch whisky lovers don't give a hut for bourbon! So what do you know Joe, I just had to make a left turn, and starting drinking bourbon.

Now, the time has come, and it’s finally my turn to share my story of my Current Favorite Bottle of Bourbon, and that shouldn’t present a problem; my top ten list has been written a long time ago. Sometimes a bottle swaps seats with another one on the list, depending on the mood I’m in, or I have just tasted a new arrival that was so amazing that it manages to push an old time favorite out of my list. All-in-all, my top ten remains pretty steady. So, now I just have to choose one from my list for you here.

You know what, the safe bet can be a bit boring. Sometimes you just have to light a match in the middle of an armory, for nothing else, than to see the whole place go off! But before we light that match, let’s hear it from a guy in a dirty tank-top; “Yippie kay yay mother f….”  “That’s right man!”  “Yippie Kay Yay” my Current Favorite Bottle of Bourbon is Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10!
A month back I killed a bottle of their Old Scout 7 Year Old Straight Bourbon, and I could just as easily have picked that one, because they are both great. I know Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout line is sourced bourbon, and so what? John Little and his crew sure as hell know how to pick them, and the guys have done a fantastic job with their (yes "their") bourbons. I have nothing but respect for how open and honest they talk about their products. They say it as it is; “From time to time we come across great spirits, and buy the crap out of it."

There aren’t any made up bourbon fairytales, about Smooth Ambler Spirits buying two barrels of Stitzel Weller juice off a guy from Lower Manhattan, that miraculously had forgotten all about their existence, until now, when he had just discovered them lying in the trunk of his late wife’s car. No bull! Just great bourbon, at a reasonable price... just how mother use to like them.  

Let’s take a closer look at this bad boy, shall we?
This Smooth Ambler is at least 10 years old, non-chill filtered, with a mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malt.
Nose: Tons of caramel and dark syrup upfront, followed by orange peel, marshmallow and cinnamon.
Palate: The Old Scout Ten is a nice mouth-coating and full-bodied bourbon in absolute harmony. There are apricot, vanilla, dark chocolate and a handful of tobacco leaves to round up the party. Towards the finish, a hint of black pepper sneaks in, and spices things up a bit.   

Finish: The black pepper increases in the marathon long finish and lingers with banana, vanilla and toasted oak; ending up in one big soul warming hug.
Hasse Berg
Special thanks to Bourbon Zeppelin staffer Hasse Berg for sharing his current favorite bottle. Hasse Berg serves BZ as its Associate Editor, and perhaps top cheerleader and motivator. He loves delivering quality content to readers.

He's a legend in the Instagram Community. Check him out there (@hasse_berg) or search out his blog (

Please reach out and tell us so we can feature you in a future edition:
Click here to tell us about your favorite bottle!
Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon

The Review
The latest offering from Jim Beam takes bourbon that has been aged in a brand new charred white oak barrel and rebarrels it into a second brand new charred white oak barrel. The double "oak-ing" doesn't result in a flavor profile overpowered with wood. Instead, it just mellows this bad boy right down. The finish on this one is something special. It doesn't bite, but it is warm and lingers. Clearly, this one was meant to be enjoyed neat.

For the price point of $25 (and less) you would be hard-pressed to beat this one!
The verdict on this AWESOME offering...
About The Awesome Meter
A lot of bourbon passes through Bourbon Zeppelin Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Since we are bourbon lovers, we recognize a lot of it is really great and clearly we enjoy having it in our respective collections. Still, there are times when a tasting reveals an offering with something a little more to offer. One that extends the charts beyond great and into "awesomeness"... hence, the development of the Awesome Meter.

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





Elizabeth Jones is on vacation this month. Look for her column right here next month!
About Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Jones is the field reporter for Bourbon Zeppelin. As such, she brings firsthand accounts of bourbon topics and events, research pieces and personal narratives. In her personal life, she is a distillery worker and bourbon fanatic. She currently lives in the U.S. with her husband and dog-child. She has a tendency to take her work home with her, as her main hobbies are drinking whiskey, reading about whiskey, and following whiskey trends on social media.
Husband and wife team Kate and Kris Kettner answer your bourbon questions!
What is the availability of hard-to-find releases in Oklahoma?
- JD5219 - Alton, Illinois

When it comes to booze, Oklahoma is a weird place. The amount of brands distributed here pales in comparison to the surrounding states. For example, you won’t find normal things like Whistlepig or any KBD brands such as Willett on the shelves here. I’ve never seen a single BTAC in the state other than one or two at a bar, and you just flat aren’t going to find Pappy in the Sooner State. From what I was told by some trustworthy sources, exactly zero bottles of 2016 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon came in to Oklahoma this year. Such Crap.


We do, however, tend to luck out from time to time and find something awesome on a shelf. Notable recent releases were Booker’s Rye, which just happened to be sitting on a counter waiting for me to walk up and snag it, and Parker’s Heritage 24-year Bottled in Bond. That one was sitting with two of its twins in box behind the counter, visible to all that cared to look. I took two of those puppies home.


Other releases like Elliot’s Select, E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood, and the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection expressions definitely come in and are not too difficult to find as long as you have a couple of stores that you have a good relationship with. We were even able to get some Weller 12 a few weeks back thanks to a great tip from an Instagram buddy here in the state (thanks, Casey).


When it comes to whiskey in Oklahoma the real treat is the prices. At the very worst a release will be spot on with MSRP (that Booker’s Rye cost us a cool $300), but most come in under the suggested price point. That Parker’s Heritage I mentioned carries an MSRP of $250, but the little white sticker on the bottle rang in at $185, and that tends to be a trend in these parts. Hopefully the state’s desperately needed alcohol law reform on the horizon doesn’t mess with prices too much, but honestly I would be willing to pay MSRP if that means I could get more hard to find expressions!

Thanks to JD5219 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!
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).
This month Bourbon Zeppelin Reader Ashley reviews:
The Summit
Mt. Washington, Pennsylvania
High above the city of Pittsburgh in Mt. Washington, nestled on the corner of Shiloh Street and West Sycamore Street sits The Summit.  One of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets, The Summit is equal parts classic, trendy, and sexy.  I could write a true critic’s review about the intimate setting, the well-poured cocktails, and the knowledgeable bartenders – and all of those things would be true, but I am no critic.  I am merely a woman who enjoys a solid double pour of bourbon – always neat, of course – and a quiet place to read my book and be left alone.  This is what I find at The Summit.  Behind the bar sits a haunting painting that echoes Pittsburgh’s rich industrial history.  I know nothing of its origin or its artist, and I don’t want to know.  I have fantasized about its creation time and time again, each version more tragic and more sorrowful than the last.  I scoured Instagram for a photo of this painting and found nothing.  I like to believe this is because it is not meant to be seen by anyone outside of The Summit.  If you want to see it, you will just have to go.  I’ve often found myself pondering ways to distract the bartender long enough to swipe it and escape.  Art theft is so romantic.
Being a natural loner, I do not often visit The Summit with friends, but thanks to the wonderful selection of board games, you can kiss the awkward bar conversations goodbye.  Grab a friend and head for a table to play a game of [dirty] Scrabble, Guess Who, Battle of the Sexes, and my personal favorite, Jenga.  Each Jenga piece is delightfully vandalized by past patrons with ex-lover’s phones numbers and promises of “a good time,” Truth or Dare instigations, Never-Have-I-Ever confessions, and professions of love.  Watch your drink when the tower falls, I can seldom think of a greater tragedy than a filthy Jenga block diving into my mouth-watering bourbon.  I’ve never ordered food at The Summit, likely because those who know me know that my diet consists of sugary breakfast cereal and gummy worms, but the food there looks amazing and the menu is ever-evolving.
True Pittsburgh natives know the struggle of century old architecture.  Conversions from former uses limit options for facilities placement, and one often finds himself staggering into a dark basement searching aimlessly for relief.  The Summit is no exception to this architectural limitation, but local artists have graced the catacomb walls with bright and beautiful graffiti to light your way.  Be careful on those stairs though – after a number of bourbons one can’t be too careful.
If you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh, abandon the downtown scene and take a trip up the Goat Path to Mt. Washington.  You just might find me at The Summit, snuggled on the corner church pew for the night with a book, some bourbon, and my lonesome self.  Feel free to say hello, but for the love of God please do not ask what my book is about.
Ashley is a regular in the Instagram bourbon crew where she can be frequently found discussing Woodford Reserve (her favorite bourbon), gardening, reading or the antics of Leroy Samson, her English Sheepdog. Follow her on IG: @asax117.
Cask strength congrats go out to our September contest winners. We had four people take home some great prizes. Way to go Tatum Fishel (Two Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn glasses/storage box), Monty Putman (Bourbon Trail Goodies Pack), Jerry Munson (Whiskey Bottle Balancer from Roundtable Woodworks) and Bill Alexander(Two Bitch Spirits hat and shot glasses).
This month I am going to discuss 2 topics.  “Doubling down” and “never say no” (I know how that sounds).  These 2 things will help you score extra on the road and keep great bottles coming in from your favorite stores.

So, you did it.  You just scored a bottle that you have been hunting for all month!!  I bet you wish you could “double down,” right?  Well that’s EXACTLY what you can and should do.  Most of us hunt while on the road and when we score a great bottle we are excited, thankful, and quickly run to every store in a 5 mile radius searching for more.  But what happens when it was the “only store in town that got any”?  In most cases that means this particular store is part of a larger chain or group and they were kind enough to send a bottle or 2 to their “remote” location out of pity.  Do some research!  Go in the parking lot and google their store and see where more locations are.  DON’T ASK THE EMPLOYEES OR MANAGERS!  I made that mistake once and by the time I reached the next location the managers were already told that I was sold a bottle at the other location and I was denied the second.  Find out where their next location is and if you are close enough to drive, drive.  Never call asking about the bottle you just scored, they will surely brush you off.  You’re not going to bat 1.000 on this, but your odds will be far better and much more efficient than expanding your 5 mile radius to a 10 mile radius.

Second is “never say no” when someone calls you with a “special bottle.”  Most of us have been there, you ask a store about a bottle and they get it for you.  You are excited to have the bottle, they are excited to have a new loyal customer that will buy anything and everything semi-rare and up.  But now you have 3 stores that are all helping you and they call you every time a bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof comes in.  But now you have 10 on the shelf and a wife that is watching your bourbon budget. Surely the store can find someone else to purchase the bottle, but they thought of YOU! Turning bottles down is the quickest way to lose loyalty from store and to miss out on the next great bottle they get.  So don’t do it! Don’t say no!  We all have tons of local friends that are not as fortunate as us and some of us have hundreds, or thousands, of Instagram friends that would KILL for what you are turning down.  ******Legally I don’t condone re-selling or transferring bottles********* but I’m sure you have friends, local or Instagram, that would be happy to reimburse you the cost of the bottle and put it on their shelf!  This will help insure that you have great, long term relationships with stores that will constantly be in your corner.

Until next time, happy hunting everyone and good luck in the search for Pappy and BTAC!
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
Through a collaboration with the team at the bourbon blog Breaking Bourbon, we are pleased to present their Bourbon Release Calendar to BZ readers. This tool is invaluable for seeking out those hard-to-find bourbon releases. As our own Corey Chandler notes, scoring big at the liquor store involves a significant amount of planning. This calendar can help you put together your blueprint for success and we thank the crew at Breaking Bourbon for allowing us to share it with you!

- Angel's Envy Bourbon Cask Stength
- Jefferson's 20 Year Old
- Maker's Mark Private Selection
- Rebel Yell 2016 L.E.
- Whiskey Row Bourbon
- Michter's 10 Year Old Straight Bourbon
- Willett Bourbon
- Woodford Reserve Master's Collection: Brandy Cask Finish

- Orphan Barrel Library Set (Barterhouse, Old Blowhard, Rhetoric, Lost Prophet, Forged Oak, Gifted Horse and Whoop & Holler)
About Breaking Bourbon
Breaking Bourbon was created by Eric, Nick, and Jordan, three lifelong friends who share a passion for bourbon and whiskey. The website features bourbon and American whiskey reviews, an always up-to-date release calendar, articles, and more. Visit online at and connect on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook via the handle @breakingbourbon.

How Bourbon Got Its Soul

When most people think of bourbon, they usually think of Kentucky. And one can’t be a true bourbon lover without paying a bit of homage to Bourbon County, Kentucky. It’s a place with a storied past and is still thriving today.  You can actually say that they put the “bourbon” in, well bourbon!

Before America was America, the land that sits in Bourbon County was a part of the French territory and bore the name “Bourbon” after the French House of Bourbon. Bourbon County was initially located in the state of Virginia when it was established in 1785. As the state lines were drawn and redrawn, it eventually came to rest in Kentucky. It's located in the northeastern part of Kentucky. The land is thick with rolling hills, which posed a challenge to those early settlers. They farmed small plots of land where they grew mostly maize. Insulated by steep hills and rugged terrain, early farmers struggled with what to do with their excess crop to keep it from spoiling. The solution:  distilling the corn and other grains into whiskey and transporting it down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in oak barrels. The barrels were stamped with “Bourbon County” as their origin, and a new American staple was born!  The whiskey naturally aged as they were slowly transported to other parts of the newly formed country.  The deep amber color we know today would develop as the barrels traveled down the rivers and to their final destinations. So, while the finished project varied in finish due to aging time, people still demanded that great tasting “bourbon whiskey.”  Though disputed by some, Bourbon County claimed the namesake and produced bourbon until 1919 when Prohibition brought it to a halt.

As we know, Prohibition thankfully didn't last, and the spirits were soon flowing again. Congress declared bourbon a distinctive product of the United States in 1964, forever etching bourbon’s place in history. It is commonly referred to as “America’s Native Spirit.”  Bourbon continues to rise in popularity. Today, you will see bourbon made across this great nation, and not just in the bluegrass covered hills of Bourbon County, Kentucky. Though the process has been modernized, the craftsmanship that goes into making a barrel of your favorite bourbon are the same as it was for those early settlers in Bourbon County.
Today, you'll find more thoroughbreds than distilleries in Bourbon County. It's a city with a population just shy of 20,000 that boasts claim to the great racing champion, Secretariat. The city remains proud of its heritage and has left permanent footprint on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and of spirit enthusiasts everywhere.  You can't raise a glass of bourbon without giving a nod to those wise settlers in Bourbon County. Kentucky!

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!
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.
Our friends Grumpy Dog Candles have been busy once again. Check out all of these new candles they have available:
This month Chrissy shares a recipe created for Bourbon Zeppelin Readers
Apple Butter Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
This Recipe Uses:
This is one of my favorite pie recipes during the holiday season.  I am that person who eats the filling of the pumpkin pie and leaves the crust behind. So when I learned this recipe from a friend of mine, it was life changing! 
Any way you serve this, crust or no crust, your family & friends are going to be asking for more of this delicious pumpkin pie! 
1 Cup Apple Butter
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
3 Eggs (slightly beaten)
3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk ( I used unsweet almond milk to make this dairy-free)
4- 6 Tbsp. Bourbon + A lil dab more (I used Russells Reserve 10 year) 
1 Unbaked 9 inch pie shell (optional)
Sweetened Whip Cream for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine apple butter , pumpkin, sugar, salt & spices in a bowl
3. Stir in eggs
4. Gradually add bourbon, then milk & mix well
5. Grease the pie dish with the softened butter (if you are going crust less) or place your pie crust into  a pie dish
6. Pour the pie mixture into the greased dish or the pie shell
7. Bake for about 40 mins or until your pie is set (I was told the pie is set, when you jiggle the pie dish and the middle isn't jiggly) 
Recipe Notes:
**Dairy Free/Lactose free option use a vanilla almond milk or cashew milk. You will want to make sure to add 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch to the milk and mix well before you add it to the pie mix.
Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey and Chrissy Martin
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!
If you've been on a distillery tour, you might have noticed a black fungus on warehouses and trees growing on the property of distilleries. It's actually called Baudoinia compniacensis and it's a fungus that thrives on airborne alcohol. (Apparently all of the "angel's share" isn't going to the angels.)

Don't worry, other than being a nuisance, it's a harmless derivative of the alcohol-making process.
Mellow Corn
by Steve Akley
The "newest" thing in whiskey really isn't new at all. Mellow Corn was born in 1945 and really hasn't changed much over the last 70+ years. Even the label has maintained the same basic design since its inception.

Priced in the $10ish range in Kentucky, you can still pick it up for under $15 anywhere in the country. Unlike most corn whiskey on the market, Mellow Corn has been aged for four years and comes in at 100 proof meaning it's a Bottled in Bond offering.

Besides a mashbill heavy on corn (corn whiskey must come in with at least 80% corn compared to bourbon with 51% as the minimum, so most, but not all, bourbons are under 80% corn), the other difference between Mellow Corn and bourbon is the fact Mellow Corn is aged in used barrels instead of the brand new charred American white oak barrels used in bourbon production.

What does the flavor taste like?

Corn, mellow.


It does yield a strong corn base, but there is more to it than that. There is a sweetness you don't typically get with most bourbons. It's equally adept as a cocktail base as it is neat. For a retail under $15, you'd be crazy not to try this one!
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...
Bourbon Barrel Quad
by Boulevard Brewing Co.
This Bourbon Barrel Quad by Boulevard Brewing is phenomenal!

Now that I've gotten that outta the way, let me tell a story about a brew that will send your tastebuds on a journey of plums, figs and dried fruit. Making a stop to pick up vanilla, cherries and finally landing in oak. Not overly boozy especially for 11.8% ABV.

This smooth and sweet quad earns a deserving 5 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!
1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel
Winemaker Bob Blue, of 1000 Stories, has enjoyed experimenting with aging wine in bourbon barrels since he started winemaking. No longer just an experiment, Bob has brought the concept to market with his Bourbon-Barrel Aged Zinfandel. The suppliers for 1000 Stories bourbon barrels include Heaven Hill and Four Roses.

At only $18.99, this one is worth trying. You save 10% for the purchases of a case (12 bottles) or more. Shipping is also very reasonable. A flat $10 for orders of 11 bottles or less and only a penny for 12 bottles or more. Pick your bottle(s) of 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel 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:

John E. Fitzgerald 20 Yr Bourbon
Retail - $300
Secondary $750
Willet Family Estate 12 Yr Bourbon
Retail - $118
Secondary - $250
2015 William Laure Weller 
Retail - $80
Secondary - $600
Four Roses Elliots Selection
Retail - $125
Secondary - $300
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.
McAFEE'S Old No. 8 Brand

When I got to the liquor store I went to the shelves by the back where they keep all the stuff that nobody is buying. I looked up on the top of the shelf and found a bottle that I never heard of. I didn’t know if was going to be good or not because it was 10.99 for a fifth. I was pretty sure this one would get my first one finger salute. The bottle I picked was McAFEE’S Benchmark Old No. 8 Brand.

Benchmark Old No. 8 bourbon was created by Seagram’s in the late 1960s as a luxury brand and was originally named Benchmark Bourbon. It was produced at the Four Roses distillery when Seagram’s owned it. The brand name was purchased by Sazerac in 1992 and McAfee’s was added to the name in honor of the McAfee brothers who surveyed a site just north of Frankfort in the late 1700s. It is now made by Buffalo Trace who made last month’s sample. I guess next month I’m going to have to try something from another maker. I have been looking in the book at the liquor store and found some interesting bottles. I have ordered one for next month. Benchmark has won 2 awards this year. It won the 2016 Double Gold Medal - New York World Wine & Spirits Competition and the 2016 Silver Medal - International Wine & Spirits Competition. It is marketed as cheaper alternative to that popular Tennessee Whiskey.

So with my Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn glass and Slayer blasting in the background I took a sip. I really liked it. This might just be my new go to cheap Bourbon. Here is my review:

Color: medium amber
Body: medium
Nose: Vanilla Apple 
Palate: Dark oak. Nice burn
Finish: Oak

I LIKE this!  I was surprised how good this was. Like I said, it was 10.99 for a fifth. It would be an awesome alternative to the overpriced Tennessee Whiskey. If you turned the bottle around someone might believe they’re drinking it. This one definitely gets a BIG
\m/ from me.

I am always happy when I get good bourbon at a value price. You can tell how much I liked it by looking at the picture.  This picture pays homage to the Day of the Dead which is November 1st.  (Celebrated in Mexico) It celebrates family. I love the skulls and skeletons I collect them. My wife says no more our house is full of them and always looks like Halloween. If you have an idea for a bottle review you know how to contact me. I’m kind of disappointed nobody has suggested anything for me to try.

Oh well, until the next time, I’ll be sipping bourbon and staying Metal.
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.
This fine selection of bourbon comes from Rishi's International Beverage in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our own Evan Haskill, who goes there everyday, took a break from his aggressive shopping schedule to snap this photo for us. It looks like Rishi's is a definite place to stop if you happen to be in Grand Rapids.
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!
Perfect Cocktail for Your Thanksgiving Day Gatherings

With U.S. readers celebrating Thanksgiving later this month, here's a great fall cocktail to have at your event.
Baker’s® Autumn Seelbach
Recipe by Dominic Venegas (NYC)
1 part Baker's® Bourbon
1/2 part JDK & Sons™ O3
1/2 part Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
5 dashes Baked Apple Bitters
5 dashes Tiki Bitters
Hard Cider
Combine Baker’s® Bourbon, JDK & Sons™ O3, fresh pressed apple cider and bitters in a mixing glass over ice and stir. 

Strain into a coupe glass and top with hard cider. 
Garnish with a long apple twist.
And finally...
Learning to Fly

I think most Americans take bourbon for granted, and why shouldn’t they? After all, you guys are producing it. It’s your heritage... a part of your story and right there, up for grabs, whenever you decide to adventure into the wonderful unknown territory bourbon is. The bottom shelf’s are booming with bourbon that you can pick up for almost next to nothing. They make out for an important part of the bourbon journey, because it’s here, that you can zero in on your preferred taste, without breaking the bank in the process. More importantly, you can learn to enjoy bourbon.

“Learn to enjoy bourbon?”  

That’s right; no one pours bourbon and instantly loves it. It’s a slow long walk to adjust and learn to enjoy and appreciate Bourbon. Just like red wine, cigars and other healthy products, that this fine world has to offer.

I think a lot of people make the classic mistake, thinking to themselves, that buying expensive bourbon for starters makes them instantly fall in love with the taste simply because the product they are buying is of higher standard, than the cheaper bourbons. Well, that’s as far from the truth as you can get. Sure, some of the more expensive bourbon is, in some cases “premium bourbon," and has spent longer time in the barrel and are bottled at higher proof.

In reality, that’s not really any of your concern at first. The issue here is that the untrained palate is not use to the intense alcohol flavor, and therefore, not ready to appreciate any kind of bourbon... no matter how expensive. Therefore, you could make the case that the bottle is a totally waste. If you don’t believe me, just ask The Bourbon Virgin and I’m sure she will tell you about hellfire, stomach issues and other unpleasant feelings.

So why do people start drinking bourbon? I really can’t say, because it doesn’t really seem logical, right? Why would someone go through all the trouble, learning to enjoy something that at first tastes really unpleasant?  

Because it’s all worth it!

When I was younger, I guess it just sounded cool to order a late night Scotch without ice at a bar.

Did I enjoy it? 

Not really folks!

So, my love for whisk(e)y didn’t start there. After all my crazy beer weekend nights out with the boys, I slowly started getting into red wine. What made me grow tired of vino was when I finally found my preferred wine countries and wine regions, and fell in love with some winery’s wine, the next time I was visiting my local wine pusher they were no longer selling that bottle... or that exact year. Sure enough, the current year’s bottle had suddenly turned mediocre, because of a bad wine year in that region. I know a lot of guys in the wine world, love wines for that exact reason, but I find it a real pain in the ass! Well, that and all the wine snobbery going around. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me a Pinotage from South Africa or a Brunello from Italy, but damn girly, I can buy a bottle of bourbon for the price of a mediocre bottle of wine!

But hey, all forgiven and forgotten because wine led me into drinking whisky, without an "e".... at  least at first, because, I started as a single malt man who later grew into loving bourbon just as much as Scotch.

When people are starting to appreciate bourbon, they often begin to read about it, educating themselves; learning about the different brands, the bourbon history, the distilleries and the distillers. At some point, they are bound to stumble upon a bourbon review and that can be very bewildering, for a newbie in the whiskey world.

"Why can’t I taste the same flavors as the reviewer?"

Simple answer, and sorry to say it: you can’t!

What you can do is to enjoy bourbon and that’s what’s it’s all about. If you want to learn how to breakdown the different flavors in bourbon, be prepared. Like everything else, it takes years of training to become good at it! Don’t bewilder if you can’t taste all, or even the same flavors the reviewers are pointing out. They make it sound so easy don’t they?

Please remember that taste is different, and most important is, what you taste is what matters. There are no wrong or right answers in the tasting game. Some reviewers go all mad dog style and point out 50 different, and sometimes very obscure notes, out of their bourbons.

Let me tell you, I have really put a lot of work and practice into my palate and I have been in the whisk(e)y game for quite some time. Even so, I can’t designate an unlimited amount of flavors and I’m definitely not one of those guys, who can immediately point out 8 – 10 flavors after the first sip.

I really have to spend time with a bourbon before I can give you the full body. So my advice is to start slow. There are some very common flavors and notes in bourbon. Look them up, and try to learn and remember what these smell and taste like so you easily are able to pick them out. Many you should know from cooking or baking. When they appear in your bourbon, and there are almost always some spice flavors and notes, you should be able to pick them up. See if you can’t find a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg or peppermint next time you take a sip. Most important of all, give it time, have fun, and enjoy.

There is no wrong or right bourbon and definitely no wrong tasting notes... only the wrong kind of bourbon drinkers and those are easily avoided. 

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
So 51% is the minimum amount of corn a mashbill can contain to be called a bourbon, but the answer to our trivia is there is no maximum. While rare, a bourbon can actually be made of 100% corn. Don't believe it? Well, here's a link to Tuthilltown's Hudson Bay Baby Bourbon... made from, you guessed it, 100% corn. 
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
Steve's Featured Book of the Month
The Legend of Bear Island is a short story I began writing as a part of a homework assignment. Thirty-five+ years later I actually finished it by completing the story. This ended up being a mini masterpiece that I am as proud of today as an adult as I was reading it aloud to Mrs. Varusa's class in third grade at Wohlwend Elementary in south St. Louis County.

Only $1.49 on Kindle.
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)!
125 Likes as of November 1, up from 115 on October 1. Help us get more!
Goal = 1,000,000 Likes (0.000125 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). Ozark Distillery Bourbon/76.33  #5). Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn/72.2 #6) 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 (2), the Kettners (1) Mike Swain (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: -- 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. -- 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
  • A bourbon mixologist to host a monthly column
  • Artists willing to share their work that includes bourbon
  • Poets who incorporate bourbon into his or her work
  • Guest cartoonists for the Inside the Bourbon Barrel cartoon
Special thanks to the following individuals who are involved in the production of Bourbon Zeppelin yet help us promote the brand just because they are fans of our work: 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.