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Issue 40 - Teaching an old distillery new tricks

Whisky Magazine Issue 40
June 2004


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Teaching an old distillery new tricks

Buffalo Trace takes its name from the great pioneering days when Kentucky marked the new frontier.Today, it's still blazing a trail for whiskey. Charles K. Cowdery reports

American straight whiskey is now taken seriously throughout the drinking world. This phenomenon is no longer new. Maker's Mark, the first craft bourbon, has been on the market for close to 45 years. Blanton's, Booker's and Knob Creek are closing in on 20.

Even in the glacially slow world of whiskey, these connoisseur bourbons have become established products.

Now virtually every major drinks company has at least one American whiskey in its portfolio that is made for the drinker who wants to savour the full range of sensory pleasures that a finely crafted spirit can offer.

This growing range of Kentucky bourbons, Tennessee whiskies and straight ryes provides a variety of taste experiences.

While it is now beyond argument that the American whiskey industry has offerings that are truly worthy of discriminating palates, there has long been a cloud over this happy scene. Depending on how you count them, all of the straight whiskey the United States produces comes from only about a dozen distilleries.

When it is possible to taste the output of every whiskey producer in one or two sittings, how much long term attention can the industry expect from adventurous aficionados who are always looking for something new to try?

Not a problem, says Mark Brown, president and chief executive of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. He and his team believe even a single distillery can produce an endless diversity of whiskies.

“Our goal is to provide different experiences for the consumer throug...

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