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Issue 7 - A bourbon thoroughbred

Whisky Magazine Issue 7
December 1999


This article is 18 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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A bourbon thoroughbred

Stuart Maclean Ramsay was totally sedcued by Kentucky's smallest distillery, which uses Scottish copper pot stills and a rare method of distillation.

Autumn is a special time to visit the rolling hills and tree-lined hollows of central Kentucky. The distilleries are in full swing after a summer hiatus; the warm days and cool nights being ideal conditions for the white oak casks to nurse along the slumbering spirit.

About an hour's drive from Louisville is Labrot & Graham, Kentucky's oldest operating distillery. The landscape is dotted with farmhouses and corrals enclosed by white wooden fences. Thoroughbred racehorses graze on the fertile Kentucky bluegrass, shaded by white oak, maple and dogwood trees.

Nestled in this horse-country heartland, straddling the banks of Glenn's Creek, are the limestone buildings of the Labrot & Graham Distillery. Refurbished and reborn on 17 October, 1996, Labrot & Graham was conceived by its owner, the Louisville based Brown-Forman Company, as a tribute to the history and tradition of handcrafted bourbon whisky distillation in Kentucky.

Owsley Brown II, chairman of Brown-Forman, pledged the company's commitment to honouring these past traditions in a speech which he gave on the day the distillery reopened, “We believe this distillery has a story to tell, about bourbon's special place in Kentucky's history, and that the telling will be good for Kentucky and good for the industry ... touring the distillery and warehouses and walking around these beautiful grounds should be like stepping back to a time when Kentucky and bourbon whiskey were in their youth, when making and enjoying whiskey ...

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