Sunday, January 19, 2014


Louisville - Kentucky's hipster town, wanted a piece of the bourbon pie. Kentucky has promoted its Bourbon Trail for years now and has generated a lot of buzz for the state and bourbon industry. But, Louisville was getting left behind. Historically, Louisville has been the home of many distilleries - Evan Williams, Brown Forman, W.L. Weller are a few familiar names - so, the Urban Bourbon Trail was created. 

The state of Kentucky has really capitalized on the bourbon business by promoting the numerous distilleries with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail gives visitors a firsthand look how "America's Native Spirit" is produced. I have visited all but one official distillery on the tour, some of them several times, and hope to complete the Kentucky Bourbon Trail soon. 

My last trip to Kentucky, instead of heading to my last stop on the Bourbon Trail (Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown), I had my sights set on something different - Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail. I figure if Lonely Planet named Louisville as a top travel destination, it was time to spend some time in Kentucky's largest city. With almost 30 bars and restaurants, I had two different days to rack up some stamps on my passport. Instead of stopping at the Louisville Visitor's Center for a printed passport, I downloaded the UrbanBourbon App on my iPhone. Right off the plane, we headed to Louisville's NuLu neighborhood, for brunch and bourbon at Harvest Restaurant. Delicious bourbon french toast at this classy farm-to-table stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail, I was a happy traveler.

Fast forward a week, I am back in Louisville and ready to continue along the Urban Bourbon Trail. After lunch at the famous Brown Hotel (birthplace of the Kentucky Hot Brown) and a Kentucky Cocktail (Maker's Mark and Ale 8 One) at their Lobby Bar, we head down to Whiskey Row. Whiskey Row is a stretch of West Main Street that had its heyday when bourbon was shipped along the river. Unfortunately, because it was early afternoon, the bars of Whiskey Row were not open for business and those establishments remain unstamped on my passport. We walked down to the Old Seelbach Bar, which is located in the hotel that inspired F.Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", and enjoyed a flight of single barrel bourbons (Four Roses, Jefferson's, Noah's Mill) in this authentically restored, early 1900s bar.

With just 3 stamps on my Urban Bourbon Passport, I'll be back in Louisville to do some barhopping and experience more #urbanbourbon...


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bourbon Heist: Stolen Pappy

Sad news to report from the bourbon world this week - on Tuesday, October 15, the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky discovered that roughly 65 cases of 20 Year Pappy Van Winkle was stolen. Supposedly, it was an inside job and occurred over several months. This quantity and quality of bourbon is valued over $26,000!

Pappy is one of the nation’s most sought-after bourbons, with a reported production of about 7,000 cases a year from the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. This bourbon is aged 20 years and bottled at 90.4 proof for a “wonderfully smooth and rich profile,” according to the Buffalo Trace website. One of these 20 Year bottles retails for about $130 and can be very difficult to find due to low production volume and high demand. Some bourbon aficionados have said, "there’s Pappy Van Winkle, then there’s everything else." I have not been so fortunate to taste this high-end bourbon. And I hope that when I do sample a 20 Year Pappy Van Winkle, it won't be one of the stolen bottles.

Each bottle of the Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year bears a unique code that is stamped directly on the glass, in addition to a UPC, which identifies the batch of bourbon, when it was filled and labeled. The Buffalo Trace Distillery has not yet released the codes and likely, the stolen Pappy will end up on the black market or on online auction sites with these codes removed.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Department is following a few leads, and if you have a tip, you can text the hotline 502.320.3306 or call 502.875.8740.

If you have any leads, contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 502-875-8740. - See more at:
This specific code, which is in addition to the UPC, identifies when the bottle was filled and labeled and/or from what unique batch the spirit inside was derived. - See more at:
This specific code, which is in addition to the UPC, identifies when the bottle was filled and labeled and/or from what unique batch the spirit inside was derived. - See more at:
This specific code, which is in addition to the UPC, identifies when the bottle was filled and labeled and/or from what unique batch the spirit inside was derived. - See more at:
This specific code, which is in addition to the UPC, identifies when the bottle was filled and labeled and/or from what unique batch the spirit inside was derived. - See more at:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bulleit Bourbon - Frontier Whiskey

In August, Brian and I celebrated our ten year anniversary! Drinking a 10 Year bourbon, seemed only fitting for this milestone in our marriage. But, which 10 Year bourbon to choose???

We headed down to one our favorite liquor stores in Bozeman, East Main Liquor, and checked out our options - Russell's Reserve Small Batch (90 proof), Eagle Rare Single Barrel (101 proof), and Bulleit Small Batch (91.2 proof). After thoughtful consideration and help from the E-Team, we decided on the Bulleit 10 Year - plus the Bulleit was packaged in a fancy box, which gave it that extra special touch. 

One of the things that initially attracted me to Bulleit Bourbon was their tagline, Frontier Whiskey - I think it has something to do with living in Montana. Of course, then I tasted it and love it for its spicy rye content. 

Augustus Bulleit, founder of Bulliet Bourbon, was an adventurous man. He was born in France, moved to New Orleans and eventually made his way to Kentucky via flat boat up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Louisville, where he started distilling bourbon in the 1830s. According to Augustus' great-great grandson Tom Bulleit, Bulleit Bourbon is a product of an era when the frontier was just down the road; a time of hardship, hard work and hard drinking. The western frontier offered hope for those willing to take a chance, and legend has it that Bulleit Bourbon traveled with the folks that moved westward. 

One hundred eighty years later Bulleit Bourbon, and specifically the Bulleit 10 Year, does not disappoint. It is a little sweeter, bolder than the younger Bulleit. If you are looking for an adventurous and smooth bourbon the next time you visit your local liquor store, I'd recommend spending the extra on the Bulleit 10 Year.


As always, please drink responsibly. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy National Bourbon Day

Today is National Bourbon Day - I love these holidays celebrating alcohol and their history. Bourbon distillers have a lot to celebrate, as demand for bourbon whiskey is at an all time high. Remember when Maker's Mark was going to water down their bourbon whiskey...

June 14, 2013 is the 223rd anniversary of the day that the Reverend  Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from corn in Bourbon County, Kentucky - it is said that he stumbled upon the idea of aging bourbon whiskey in charred oak barrels when he stored his alcohol in fire-damaged barrels. Elijah Craig's legacy and name lives on, branded as a premium bourbon by Heaven Hill Distilleries (America's largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits company) in Bardstown, Kentucky. Heaven Hill barrels Elijah Craig (94 proof) as a 12 Year-Old Small-Batch  and 20 Year-Old Single Barrel. Both bourbons have been honored by whiskey enthusiasts worldwide. Personally, I am not very familiar with Heaven Hill or its products, so this National Bourbon Day, I am headed out to buy a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. I'm sure it will be tasty...

Until next time, I wish you all a Happy National Bourbon Day! The photo (credit: below was my reminder about today's significance and inspiration for my blog. If you don't know about the Kentucky for Kentucky Campaign, get on board, because we all know, Kentucky Kicks Ass. - Cheers, Emily

As always, please drink responsibly.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

World Whiskey Day

Today, May 18, 2013 is World Whiskey Day!

Whiskey is quite the international liquor - the Scots, Irish, Canadians, and Tennesseeians all have their claim to this tasty drink. I continue to choose Kentucky Bourbon, simply because there are so many I still have not sampled. But, with the number of micro-distilleries popping up around the country, I appreciate the range of whiskeys on the market.

Last year was the inaugural World Whiskey Day and was created by Blair Bowman, a Scottish university student/entrepreneur, to toast Scotland's national drink. Bowman encourages all whiskey lovers to drink any kind of whiskey and log on this link,, to connect with the global whiskey community. What a fantastic idea! There are events on almost every continent - c'mon Antarctica, who doesn't need a little whiskey to warm the soul.

These days, I am drinking Bulleit Bourbon (90 proof) - which is a little spicier because it has a higher rye content, and Willett Bourbon (94 proof). Willett  is a tasty bourbon that is not distributed in Montana, but with the right connections (fellow Montuckians who trace their lineage through the Willett Family tree) and a drunken barter, the bottle that resembles a copper pot still made it into our liquor cabinet.

Cheers to World Whiskey Day, really just another day to celebrate drinking bourbon whiskey...


As always, please drink responsibly. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Sun Shines Bright...

...on my Old Kentucky Home. One of the most affecting experiences in the world of sports is the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby. The University of Louisville Marching Band, strikes up the ballad as the horses make their way to the starting gate and the crowd sings. For anyone attending or watching the Derby, the song is a point of pride and one many know by heart.

I was in Kentucky last week for the Derby and Oaks festivities. The nostalgia of the first weekend in May in Kentucky was just too much for me to handle, so I hopped on a plane across the country to take it all in...

Last year, Maggie and I went to the Oaks - we had covered seats in the Grandstand, we dressed in our fancy dresses and fancy shoes, donned our hats, decorated in pink (the official color of the Kentucky Oaks, honoring the official flower, the stargazer lily) to celebrate the fillies and soaked up the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs. It was an incredible experience! Maggie bet the winner, I'll Have Another, so to celebrate, I drank another Oaks Lily (the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks). We still have a lot to share about our trip to Kentucky. Back to this year...

Upon my arrival in the Bluegrass State, it was beautiful (so green and slightly humid - coming from southwest Montana, these are a few things I have come to appreciate), but calling for a rainy couple of days. However, Friday, the running of the Kentucky Oaks, the weather looked sunny and warm. I whimsically called my friend Schuy to see if she wanted to spend a day together and go watch the ponies. She did. We went. To the infield. Fine fashion was ever present with another pink out event and so was the casual side of the Oaks. It was a thrilling crowd with lots of hats, lots of booze and even a slip n' slide, as the long-shot Princess of Sylmar rallied to win the Oaks.

It really doesn't get any better than the first weekend in May in Kentucky. I spent Derby Day with my family celebrating the 139th Running of the Roses. My brother, Ian, chose Shug McGaughey's first time Derby winner, Orb, in our pool. And, if you were wondering, we were definitely drinking mint juleps - the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, with Woodford Reserve (90.4 proof), the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, as we cheered on the horses. Even though it was a rainy day, the sun was shining brightly, on my old Kentucky home...


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Maker's Almost Missed the Mark

The bourbon world experienced a near miss during the month of February.   

Maker's Mark (90 proof), one of my favorite bourbons, announced they would be cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch every drop of brown water they produce.  I understand that demand is up, Maker's Mark claims it has doubled in the past seven years, but diluting and changing their age-old recipe?!?

Well, it turns out the American people have spoken and the Samuels Family has listened.  Maker's Mark Bourbon will remain 90 proof  or 45 percent alcohol and not be cut to 84 proof or 42 percent alcohol.  Check out Bill Samuels Jr. and his son Rob's official statement (or apology),!/live-feed/news/34-you-spoke-we-listened

Let's hope that's the last we hear of watering down bourbon whiskey!