Whisky Magazine Issue 44
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This year's Kentucky Bourbon Festival was the first since the legendary Booker Noe passed away. But as Dominic Roskrowreports, he was remembered in the best possible way – with a whiskey
Ivan the Terrible, the Mean Jeanie, Karl the Snarl… America's hurricane season did its best to put a dent in this year's Kentucky bourbon Festival, but it failed miserably.
Indeed by the time country legend Charlie Daniels took the stage for a free concert in front of 7,000 fans, the rain that had threatened to put a damper on events on Friday had long gone, making the need to stage the show under canvas a superfluous one.
And by the weekend it was business as usual; lots of Kentucky sunshine, a large dollop of southern hospitality, hundreds of revellers enjoying a family day, some great local cuisine and of course, for those legally old enough, as much bourbon as you might care to see in any one place at any one time.
This being Kentucky, nothing gets fixed when it isn't broken, and this being whiskey, any changes that do take place take their time. So the festival pretty much operates as it always has done.
That means there were all the festival favourites such as the barrel rolling competition, the wonderful gala dinner and the fascinating rare whiskey auction.
What made this year different, though, was the shadow cast by the sad death of Booker Noe. Without saying so directly, the makers of bourbon came together this year and remembered a whiskey legend in a manner that he would have approved of – by drinking fine whiskey to his memory.
On Friday Jim Beam staged one of the highlights of this year's festival, a tasting at Booker's house in Bardstown, and in part...