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Issue 37 - Welcome to the Bourbon Bunker?

Whisky Magazine Issue 37
February 2004


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Welcome to the Bourbon Bunker?

So you thought there were only a handful of bourbons? American correspondent Charles K. Cowdery tracks down some collectors who have hundreds

What do you consider a well-stocked drinks cabinet? For some people, two or three bottles will do. For others, 10 or 20 are plenty. For John and Linda Lipman of Cincinnati, Ohio, 400 different bottles of American whiskey is little more than a good start.

The Lipmans began collecting American whiskey in 1997, as souvenirs from their trips to places in the USA where whiskey is or has been made.

“John had five or six bourbon bottles in my spice rack,” says Linda. “I told him that if he wanted more, he would have to build a shelf in the basement, because I needed the rack for my spices.”

Today, many shelves later, their collection – augmented by whiskey advertising signs and other memorabilia – fills the basement and threatens to engulf the rest of the house.

One highlight of the Lipmans' collection is a bottle of Pennsylvania straight rye whiskey produced in 1878 by Thomas McMullen & Co. Another is a Mt. Vernonrye, bottled in 1914, that they found in a Maryland antique shop, complete with its original box and lead seal intact. “We collect history,” says John.

Bobby F. Cox Jr. of Clermont, Kentucky, is another avid collector. His ‘bourbon bunker,' as he calls it, has a collection approaching 200 bottles.

“It started during the Y2K scare,” says Bobby, whose home stands in the shadow of one of Jim Beam's distilleries.

“I didn't buy a generator, but if anything happened I figured a few nice bottles of bourbon might come in handy while waiting for the l...

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