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Issue 35 - Kentucky on our minds

Whisky Magazine Issue 35
November 2003


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Kentucky on our minds

If you'll excuse the pun, Kentucky whiskey is on a roll at the moment. Dominic Roskrow went on a voyage of discovery that started with selecting his own whiskey and ended at the party to end all parties

It may have been the sunshine heat, it may have been the exquisite bourbon and it may have been no more than standard festival excitement, but in Kentucky in September there was a real sense that something pretty special's going on for the bourbon industry right now.

Under stunning blue skies, in the lushest of settings and in marquees and halls around Bardstown, the air of excitement was palpable. It's as if the people of Kentucky are celebrating the fact that the true diversity of American whiskey is finally being understood.

Throughout the year there have been signs that the interest in bourbon is growing, and that its influence is reaching out beyond its traditional base.

And while much of the evidence for this might be circumstantial, when put together collectively it makes for a pretty compelling and impressive case.

From the style bars and top hotels of London, to the interest expressed by some of Europe's top mixologists, to the displays that have graced the windows of some of our most serious whisky shops, people seem to be taking bourbon seriously.

Its reputation for fun is untarnished. Its association with traditional honest blue collar values remain.

But there seems to be a growing interest and respect for the qualities that it shares with Scottish whisky; those of heritage, quality and dedication. As the fashion fixation with vodka starts to wane and the trend-setters look for new challenges, bourbon is stepping in to the breach.

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