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Issue 35 - The feast of Bourbon

Whisky Magazine Issue 35
November 2003


This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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The feast of Bourbon

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is starting to attract people from across the world. Dominic Roskrow went to find out why

The party for Tom Bulleit at a private house in the suburbs of Bardstown was dead as a dormouse.

We – Whisky Magazine managing director Damian Riley-Smith, myself and a Polish writer we'd adopted called Jaroslaw Urban, had missed Bulleit Bourbon's brands ambassador earlier in the evening and had promised to return later - which we did.

But when we entered the house there wasn't a soul there. We tried the next room. Nothing. On to the kitchen. Zip. Then it dawned on us.

“I think,” said Damian, “we're in the wrong house.”

We were.

Given the ways things are in Kentucky, though, it really wouldn't have surprised me if someone had appeared and said ‘how y'all doin'. Can I fix any of you guys a drink?”

Kentucky in general and Bardstown in particular could put up a strong claim to be the most overtly friendly and hospitable place on the planet.

Every local person welcomed us to their state with a genuine warmth. Everybody I spoke to from outside of it – and there were people who had travelled hundreds of miles to be there – had let the generosity and kindness rub off on them.

I'm not sure I've ever seen so many smiling people in one place.

But there's a tangible sense of excitement about Bardstown, too, a sense that something special is starting to happen for bourbon – that people from countries across the world are starting to appreciate what it's all about.

Certainly the people at Four Roses have plenty to be excited about.

Friday morning they stage ...

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