Alright, folks, mark your calendars for Thursday, September 24th. The Louisville Speed Art Museum is holding their “Art Of Bourbon” online auction. It’s free to bid or participate but, registration is required. You can register here https://artofbourbon.org/  So go ahead and sign up!

Now that you’ve registered, we can dive into the fun part. There will be whisk(e)y involved!!

This event combines Kentucky’s official art museum with Kentucky (and mine and yours) most prized product to give you a fantastic whiskey auction. During the past two years, the museum has auctioned off some of the rarest whisky bottles and experiences ever. Expect nothing less this year. Exclusive and single-barreled whiskies along with exclusive bourbon experiences are all up for grabs. This will surely be something you’ll want to take part in. If you haven’t already, go and register. I’ll wait.

Here is a dram of what you can expect to see up for auction:

Black Bowmore 1964 50-Year-Old, The Last Cask  Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000

Maker’s Mark Barrel Selection: Your Own Unique Barrel of Maker’s Mark and Dale Chihuly Artwork  Estimate: $22,000

Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Rye Experience  Estimate: $18,000 

Hermitage Farm and Barn8 Restaurant Immersive Journey Estimate: $7,000

Here’s your chance to step back in time and enjoy an original Kentucky land grant farm. Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown invite 4 people to stay at the historic Hermitage Farm “Main House,” in Oldham County, Ky. As part of this bespoke experience, Steve and Laura Lee are including six bottles that are housed as part of the on-site Barn8 Restaurant barrel selections, and one very rare vintage bottle: • a rare 1973 Old Fitzgerald “Hospitality Decanter” • Weller Full Proof • Woodford Reserve • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked • Old Forester • Maker’s Mark Private Select • New Riff

In addition, as part of this bucolic getaway, you and your friends enjoy a privileged VIP bourbon tasting led by Bourbon Steward Adam Walpole as well as two crafted and curated dinners, one being in the Greenhouse, by Barn8 Executive Chef Alison Settle. The package also features a Royal Brunch under the canopy where Queen Elizabeth viewed yearlings in 1984 as well as special ride in an antique carriage. Cap-off this experience with a walk through the newly unveiled Art Walk “Night Magic,’ created by acclaimed artist Ricardo Rivera. The Art Walk just opened this month. 

Michter’s 25-Year-Old Estimate: $7,000

Old Fitzgerald 6-Year Bottled-in-Bond, 1961  Estimate: $1,500

Old Taylor 1960  Estimate: $1,000

Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Collection, 3 bottles Estimate: $750 Hand selected by Eternal Optimist Hospitality & Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen, these are some of the earliest barrels to be filled with Willett’s own product: Willett Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Bourbon – 6 Year, Barrel 191 Willett Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Bourbon – 7 Year, Barrel 44 “Feast BBQ” Willett Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Rye Whiskey – 6 Year, Barrel 233 

Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series: 2019 Edition, Limited Release  Estimate: $500

This last little bit may be the most important, all proceeds from this auction support education programs and exhibitions at the Speed Art Museum.

So, September 24th 2020 get your bidding fingers ready. 6:30pm ET: Hell or High water pre-show with Fred Minnick 7:05pm ET: Live auction

Make sure you head over to https://artofbourbon.org/ to register for this free event as well as get any additional information!

Happy Bidding, Y’all

Henry McKenna Single Barrel

Henry Mckenna, 2018’s SF World Spirits Competition “best single barrel bourbon”.

Try saying that 3 times after a few drams of Henry McKenna single barrel BIB. This is a Bottled-in-Bond offering from Heaven Hill. Some of you are like “hell yeah, I love a good BIB”, and some of you are like “what the fudge does Bottled-in-Bond mean?!”.

Well, Bottled-in-Bond is a set of legal regulations contained in the United States government’s Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, that was originally laid out in The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. This made the federal government the guarantor of the authenticity of the spirit and then some tax stuff. But there are some stipulations to having your whiskey labelled Bottled-in-Bond or Bonded.

Here we go.

First off, only spirits made in the U.S of A can be labeled Bonded. Your liquor must be distilled by one distiller at one distillery. It must also be a product of one distillation season (January-June or July–December). It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof or 50% ABV. The label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, where it was bottled if different.

Creating the Bonded Act was actually to control the quality of bourbon whiskey. Because, before the BIB act of 1897, whiskey being sold as straight whiskey was in fact, NOT. They were putting all kinds of gross stuff in it to procure more liquor and change the colour. I’m talking nails, tobacco, and even iodine.

Having BIB or Bonded on your label has garnered the attraction of some consumers as being an endorsement of the quality, and during those tragic times when tobacco spit could be used as a colour enhancer…this was a very good thing.

Now let’s get into Henry McKenna the best single barrel bourbon of 2018.

Henry Mckenna is a product of the Heaven Hill distillery in Bardstown KY (sidenote: saying KY in front of Barbara my fellow co-host on the Bourbon Bettys, will make her giggle like a schoolgirl in health class). According to their website, it’s the longest-aged Bottled-in-Bond bourbon available today.

So, I know I’m tardy to the Henry McKenna party, but I live in Canada and it didn’t make its way organically to my province. So my Pal Brodie hooked me up. I was seriously dying to try this rather inexpensive bourbon that won such a prestigious title. Now I have a bottle and here’s what I think.

I absolutely believe it’s a great bourbon for the value. Not fussy and an easy sipper. It’s all caramel and dark fruits for me, with a nice long spicy finish. Heaven Hill definitely has others in its lineup, that quite frankly…I would love to never have again. But it ain’t Henry Mckenna. If this was something that was readily available to me, I would make it my house bourbon.

Ardbeg Grooves

Okay so…

I’ve gotten the taste for Islay whisky and I think I’m done for. Seriously, not in a million years did this bourbon drinker think that she would crave the smoke. But here we are. To be fair I’ve had very few Islay whiskies, but the ones I’ve had…have done a great job in converting me. If you’re not familiar with Islay whisky, I’ll give you a brief wiki-fueled lesson.

Islay Whisky: A whisky made on Islay. Boom…just dropped a knowledge bomb!

Jk’ing. That’s just the beginning. Islay is an Island located off the western coast of Scotland. Islay is one of five whisky distilling localities and regions in Scotland whose identity is protected by law. Whiskies made on the southeastern part of the Island have strong smokey characteristics derived from peat. What is peat you ask…peat is an accumulation of decaying vegetation or any organic matter that is native to an area known as peatlands, bogs, moors, muskeg, or mires. I literally have no idea what any of those things are, but goddamnit they sound cool. Also, the peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet. There’s some chemistry and science sh*t as to why, but I’ll let you google that yourselves. There’s also a bunch of other stuff but as I said already…you can just google those yourselves. That’s why we have google.

Let us get into Ardbeg.

Ardbeg is a distillery on the Isle of Islay. It’s owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. The distillery began producing whisky in 1798 and saw commercial production in 1815. According to the wiki, Ardbeg is considered to be amongst the peatiest of whiskies. They seldom release whisky with age statements and they don’t chill-filter. From what I’m gathering, Ardbeg releases an annual whisky for Ardbeg day on June 2nd. Which celebrates the distillery’s opening day. This year Grooves is to transport us back to the summer of love during the ’60s, saying they are rolling back the years to an Islay time gone by – back to the village of Peat & Love. Part of this whisky has been matured in re-toasted in red wine casks. I quite like it when whisky is matured in toasted barrels. I think it makes for some delicious flavour. The casks were charred heavily which produces grooves in the wood resulting in some pretty intense flavouring. Non-chill-filtered at 51.6% ABV or 103 proof. My bro on Instagram @damnfinedram sent me this sample and I am super thankful he did. This is like sniffing and sipping a campfire. I am always amazed at how something can smell sweet and smokey at the same time. I was blown away, almost literally. Groves has most certainly taken my palate to unknown taste territory. My first Ardbeg and not to be my last.

Mia Wallace said it best…’I said god damn, god damn”.

The Macallan Double Cask

As of late, I’ve been slowly transitioning from a bourbon drinker into a Whiskey drinker. Being in Canada limits my access to a lot of great bourbons. Don’t feel too sad for me, I have managed to snag some good stuff from my pal Brodie, but what I find on my own has been mostly limited to what I can get at the LCBO. But the scotch seems to be abundant.

So I put the word out to my insta friends asking for reco’s on great bourbon(ish) scotch and this one was recommended by my girl Jamie . And I am so glad she did.

Let’s first talk about the bottle, I’m a sucker for a good bottle. It’s what’s on the inside that counts but there’s nothing wrong with the outside being pretty. Or rather..sultry. I don’t know why that adjective comes to mind when I look at this bottle but that’s what I get…Sultry. It’s a classic-looking bottle. Not fussy, just confident…and sultry. You have to hear that in Al Green’s voice. It’s how I envision it.

Now to what’s inside. It’s just as special. Yes, it is. It looks like sun-kissed honey. Contrary to how sultry it looks on the outside, it doesn’t taste sultry. Yeah..Yeah…I have no idea what sultry is supposed to taste like…if sultry is even supposed to tastes like anything. But this my friends do not. It tastes wholesome but in a sophisticated sort of way. I feel like that has a lot to do with these rich notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. It tastes wholesome because it’s your Nan’s homemade raisin bread. I said earlier that the bottle looked confident, that’s how it tasted, confident. It knows it’s good. It can get by on being wholesome and unpretentious because it’s confident. I could go ahead and give my tasting notes and perhaps someday I’ll circle back and edit this post with some proper ones, but for now, I’ll just say…it smells good, tastes good, and I’ll likely finish this glass and pour another.