A Mini-history of Bourbon

George Washburne, whom I’ve mentioned earlier, was editor of Wine and Spirits Review which served the pre-Prohibition alcohol business. His style was assured, intimate, confidential, a tone which informs Beverages Deluxe, a coffee table volume he edited in 1911 with Stanley Bronner. The book was probably a (literal) gift to the good clients who advertised in the Review.

The book canvasses many of the world’s great drinks.  While of a puff-piece nature, it conveys a lot of good information – the chapters are written by distillers or others in various branches of the trade.

Of course, bourbon is not omitted especially as the Review was based in Louisville. The pages below offer as good a short history of bourbon’s development as I know. And coming from George Brown, a founder of Brown-Forman Company, still a major force in the distilled spirits business, the information is unimpeachable. In any case I can vouch, from my own extensive research, that it is an accurate albeit compressed account.

Below also you see a picture of Old Forester Bourbon, vintage 1911. One may note that it was, at least up to Prohibition in 1919, a blend of “old Kentucky whiskies”. This shows what Beeretseq has long advocated, initially on the forum of www.straightbourbon.com, that the intelligent combining of straight whiskeys can produce a superb and unique drink.




Note re images: the images above are from Beverages DeLuxe, via HathiTrust and linked in the text above. All intellectual property therein or thereto belongs solely to the lawful owner or authorized user. Images believed available for educational and historical purposes. All feedback welcomed.