Bourbon Classic Taste (or Pork n’ Pappy)

Hello, loyal Bourbon Crusaders! We made it back from a week of bourbon heaven at the Bourbon Classic in Louisville, KY, and we’re ready to start sharing some of our wonderful experiences. We have so much great information to post about, so we figured we’d put our exploits on a separate page in order to prevent clutter on the main page. In the coming week(s), we’ll be posting entries about our exploits including a fashion review of the event by guest writer Laura Lough. Expect at least one Around the Barrel podcast about the event as well. Without further ado, we bring you the opening event: Bourbon Classic Taste!

The event itself was held in a very contemporary and neat space in the Copper and Kings distillery in Louisville. The main attraction was Chef Edward Lee working his culinary magic in an open kitchen making delicious smoked pork sliders. We were lucky enough to get to try the ‘special’ as well, which was a plate full of spicy pork and peppers. Highly recommended. He is currently working at 610 Magnolia, and though we haven’t been, we can only imagine it is just as good. Just look at this beautiful pork footage below in the gallery!

But on to the bourbon: Julian Van Winkle and his son, Preston, were in attendance and brought along their 12, 15, and 20 year expressions to taste. They were delicious, as usual, but we did notice that Julian was drinking Weller 12 from the bar all evening. Both of the Van Winkles seem very unsure what to do with all of this recent fame and Pappy fever. They remember the days of the 20 year sitting on shelves below $60. Ah, if only we had been of drinking age then! Unsurprisingly, my favorite was the 20 year, but the rest of our table seemed to strongly prefer the 15. For Darren, a noticeable coffee flavor on the back of the tongue was the only drawback to the otherwise excellent 20 year.

Copper & Kings brought out their brandy for the event, which is aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for 2 years. Enjoyable stuff made with a blend of Muscat, Chenin Blanc, and Colombard grapes. I liked it more than I thought I would, but the real star was the immature Muscat brandy. We tasted all three individual immature grape distillates, and the delicate floral sweetness of the Muscat was a crowd favorite. They have started producing an absinthe as well, which was universally liked by everyone who doesn’t hate licorice. I found it far too strong on the anise/licorice for my personal tastes, but would love to try it in a sazerac.

The party was so fun, even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer showed up. He and Darren shared a little Trinity High School pride, and then we talked at length about his wife, who also happens to be a pathologist–small world! On the record, he thinks women are taking over the world, and is just fine with that. Kudos to him and the road crews for literally paving the way for us to get downtown! As locals to Kentucky know, it was a cold, snowy week, and none of the events of the Bourbon Classic could have gone so well without a way for everyone to get there safely.

The event had a limited amount of public tickets offered, and we would recommend you check it out next year if you get the chance so buy your tickets early. It was a swanky, small venue where you got the chance to mingle with Chef Lee and the Van Winkles at your leisure.  The tasting and open bar were nothing to sneeze at either. In addition to tasting all the Pappy, the open bar included highlights such as Weller 12, E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, and the Michter’s line of bourbon, whiskey, and sour mash.

Cheers for now, and we’ll be back soon with posts on our distillery tours, information and stories from the master distillers themselves, and more tastings!