A Short History of Bourbon

George Washburne, whom I’ve discussed earlier, edited the Wine and Spirits Review, a pre-Prohibition trade journal. The style was assured, intimate, confidential. The same tone informs the volume Beverages Deluxe, a coffee table book edited by Washburne and Stanley Bronner. The book was probably a (literal) gift to the good clients that advertised in the journal.

It canvasses many of the world’s great drinks. While a puff-piece in nature, still it conveys excellent, on-point information. The chapters are written by distillers or others knowledgeable in the trade.

Bourbon is not omitted, of course, since the Review was based in Louisville, KY, bourbon-central then and now. The extracts shown offer as good a short history of bourbon as I know. Coming from Mr. George Brown, a principal of Brown-Forman Company the information is most trustworthy. Brown-Forman is still a major force in distilled spirits.

Below also you see a period photo of Old Forester Bourbon, vintage 1911. As depicted it was, at least up to National Prohibition, a blend of (straight) “old Kentucky whiskies”. This shows what we have long advocated, initially at www.straightbourbon.com, that an intelligent combining of straight whiskeys can produce a superbly flavoured and balanced drink.





Note re images: the images shown are from the book Beverages DeLuxe, linked in the text above, via HathiTrust. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. Images used for educational and historical purposes. All feedback welcomed.