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Issue 90 - Bourbon tastes

Whisky Magazine Issue 90
September 2010


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Bourbon tastes

Spent any time in Kentucky and you'll soon come across Jeff and Ann McMichael. Dominic Roskrow reports

Kentucky is renowned for its kindness, politeness and hospitality, but nevertheless it still bowls you over when you reacquaint yourself with it after a long period of absence.

Back in January I flew to Louisville to interview various people for my The World's Best Whiskies book at a time when Jeff and Ann McMichael were away.

But almost as soon as I arrived I received a message to drop by the Oscar Getz Museum in Bardstown.

There I was given a beautiful engraved box, containing a bottle of Bulleit and a set of smart branded glasses – a gift from the McMichaels from their new ‘taste of bourbon' business.

They have form for this sort of thing. On more than one occasion Ann has driven to Louisville to collect me off late night flights and take me back to Bardstown. They have driven me to distillery events, introduced me to influential folk around their home town, and often provided first class photography for little or no fee, just to help out. I've know Ann as long as I've known Kentucky, and Jeff just a little time less – and if ever anyone deserved the title of unsung heroes, it's them.

Ann was born in Bardstown so bourbon is in her blood.

“I've been around the bourbon industry all my life,” she says. “I have numerous relatives employed in the industry, at distilleries such as Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Barton.” Jeff's parents are from the area, too, and although he lived away and never called the town home, he visited regularly. He started work in televis...

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