The Kentucky Bourbon Festival
It’s a time-honored tradition: men and bourbon. The drinking of it, the talking about it, the bragging about the special aged brews that come out when accompanied by a good cigar or while watching a big event such as the Kentucky Derby. In the fast horse hills of Bardstown, KY, also known as the Bourbon Capital of the World -- bourbon flows through the culture like a lazy river. Bourbon, with inexplicable origins from deep in the Bible Belt, has been hailed as America’s only native spirit, and men everywhere now revel in this handcrafted, barrel- aged, elixir of life. Indicative of the brew’s appeal is the Kentucky Bourbon Festival from September 13 to 18, when 11 renowned distilleries tap the barrels and let the smooth golden liquid flow.
Bardstown comes to life with samplers, cigars, jazzfests, mixology, boot-scootin, ghost tours, barrel rolling, crafts, horseshoes and the must-attend Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala. It’s a sound heard round the world by men. A sacred calling, and a sacred mancation. Here’s a small sip of this huge event.
Although Jim Murray, the author of the Whiskey Bible, calls the Barton 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select, “Fabulously different and wholly adorable,” you’ll forgive calling any bourbon adorable once the smooth, complex, full-bodied expansiveness kicks in. This rye, corn and barley masterpiece is the official toasting bourbon of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival., so we’ll help you out with the first toast of the day, which we stole from an Anonymous man: “Here's to the girls of the American shore, I love but one, I love no more. Since she's not here to drink her part, I'll drink her share with all my heart. Now ain’t that adorable?
The Mystery of Augustus Bulleit
Somewhere between the blue grass hills of Kentucky and the voodoo streets of New Orleans, Augustus Bulleit disappeared, along with dozens of barrels of his celebrated Bulleit Bourbon. The Bulleit Distilling Company located some 40 miles northeast of Bardstown, in Lawrenceburg, helps continue a celebration of the cherished bourbon, Even now with some imagination you can hear the sad wailing from the ghosts of those men awaiting the delivery in they. It was the 1830s, when Kentucky was still a hard drinking frontier, and even then all bourbons were not created equal.
This year there’s something new for men to take particular note of — a private tasting just for the ladies (Friday, Spalding Hall). Although it sounds like an event worth crashing, here’s a mancation move. Let the women get schooled on the sensory and sensual bourbon drinking trends that appeal to them. Then, coincidentally be waiting on the street as they exit and, offer to put the new knowledge to use with a guided tour along the bourbon trail. A woman that appreciates bourbon — now we’re talking that’s worth a shared toast.
Become a Master Mixer
If there’s an aspect of life a bourbon-drinking man wants to master, it’s definitely mixology. At the Bourbon Cocktail Mixology event on Friday and Saturday you’ll take on muddling, straining and become a master zester. You’ll learn how to weave bitters, blueberry liqueur and sour mix like Harry Potter. You’ll perfect the bourjito, Manhattan, Kentucky Colonel, bourbonball and ghost in the glass. And you get to the sample the results as a prelude to a challenge: which of your buddies can whip up the best bourbon drink? Ah, nothing like a smack down.
Sample till the Sun Goes Down
The tent pole experience you can’t miss is the Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting & Gala. The Saturday night black tie event harkens back to the elegance of yesteryear with a bourbon-infused meal, dancing, the official toast, and a special tasting of thVe finest bourbons in the world. There’s also the All-Star Sampler, the Tour The Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries on Wednesday and Thursday, the Sip & Savor food and bourbon pairing event on Saturday and the Bourbon, Cigars and Jazz event on Friday, which combines the best of the sophisticated bourbon social landscape and adds food and Mardi Gras masks, too.
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival elevates the mancation with fine drink, gentlemen galas, exquisite food and distractions for whatever shiny thing grabs your interest