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Issue 150 - A perfect Blend

Whisky Magazine Issue 150
April 2018


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A perfect Blend

In a new series for Whisky Magazine, Hans Offringa introduces us to the pleasures of pairing great music with fine drams

Bourbon and blues both originated in an agricultural environment as a by-product of corn and cotton.

They both resisted authority. They both went into steep declines but managed to resurface time and again. Prohibition nor Depression nor Segregation could kill them. They left their birth grounds to settle elsewhere. Today only a few whiskey distilleries can be found in Bourbon County, Kentucky and the blues music industry is far removed from the Mississippi Delta. However both icons toured the world and took centre stage, not ever to be thrown off. I think they do well together. Time to do a sound-check:

Hey, Bartender!

Performed by Jim Beam

and Koko Taylor

Where Jim Beam might be called the King of Bourbon, Koko Taylor decidedly earned her nickname Queen of the Blues. There are more comparisons to be made here. Beam is a long lasting family affair with Beams still working at various places in the whiskey industry. Koko Taylor started to play the blues at an early age with her five siblings.

They accompanied themselves on homemade instruments. That was in the early 1930s, probably shortly after Prohibition, when Beam made its comeback on the whiskey stage and eventually became the No. 1 Bourbon in the world, having won many prizes underway. Taylor in her turn would eventually become the most lauded blues woman in the world, having her own Koko Taylor Day in Chicago when on March 3, 1993 then mayor Richard Daley decided to honour its famous citizen in this specia...

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