1916 Old Hermitage Bourbon Bottled 1927 American Medicinal Spirits Company (Prohibition Bottle) 100 Proof Pint
The history of wine and Bourbon production in Kentucky
Bourbon production dates back to the 18th Century, with early settlers from Scotland, Ireland and England using the corn that grew throughout the state to make whiskey. It is thought that the spirit became known as Bourbon after the state's eponymous county, itself named for the French royal family of the time.
The industry grew throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries, only briefly interrupted by the period of Prohibition from 1920-1933. During this time, several distilleries were granted licenses to continue producing "medicinal whiskey", which helped ensure that Bourbon production continued in the state. By 1937, there were 77 distilleries registered in Kentucky.
Wine producing in Kentucky is said to date back to 1798, when Jean-Jacques Dufour, winemaker to the Marquis de Lafayette, planted the first vines. By the middle of the 19th Century, Kentucky had the third-largest wine output of any US state, but its wine industry was almost eradicated by the Civil War (1861–65) and Prohibition.
It was not until the wine revolution that swept America in the 1970s that the state started to re-establish its winemaking traditions. In 1976, the state government repealed laws prohibiting the production of wine, and it was not long before enterprising farmers seized the opportunity to try out their Kentucky terroir.
Origins of Bourbon
The name "Bourbon" itself originates from Bourbon County, northeastern Kentucky. The county was named after the House of Bourbon, the royal dynasty that ruled France at the time of American colonization. This French connection remains today: the county seat is Paris, Kentucky.
The original Bourbon County was much larger than its modern-day equivalent and was actually part of Virginia rather than Kentucky. The area it covered is now referred to as "Old Bourbon". Ironically, today's Bourbon County produces virtually no Bourbon at all.
Legal definitions and production rules
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994, Tennessee whiskey can be classified as Bourbon, although a number of well-known Tennessee whiskey producers opt not to use the term. Other states which produce Bourbon include New York, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado and Massachusetts.
There is no standard, international definition of Bourbon as a whiskey style, although a number of governments (notably the US, Canada and the EU) have laws protecting the name and its usage. In most countries, any spirit labeled as Bourbon must have been produced exclusively in the US.
Ageing Bourbon in barrels
Bourbon's vanilla aroma and gentle sweetness is what distinguishes it from most other whisky/whiskey styles. This comes from its aging in flame-charred, virgin American oak barrels.
There is no official period for which bourbon must be matured, although to be labeled as "Straight Bourbon", it must spend at least two years in barrel. "Straight" is quite distinct from "neat" in this context. After use, Bourbon barrels are often shipped to Scotland where they are used for ageing Scotch whiskies, particularly Single Malts.
How to drink Bourbon
A highly versatile spirit, Bourbon can be consumed straight, on the rocks, mixed or in cocktails. When mixed, its most common partners are cola or dry ginger ale. As a cocktail ingredient its most famous uses are in the Manhattan, the Julep and the Whiskey Sour.
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A wine list from Flask published in the early 1970s
Driving down Ventura Blvd in Studio City in the 1960’s has something in common with today, Flask Fine Wine & Whisky- Flask first opened its doors to the public in 1962. Decades later and it still remains a respected fixture in the Los Angeles community.
We work directly with the wineries, distilleries and breweries to maintain a personal relationship with the creators of some of our favorite products.
We want to know their stories and how they produce bottles that fit into our unique collection. We make a point to keep our selection stocked with a wide variety, offering your classic Napa icons to your natural & organic wines.
We like to think of our whiskey and spirit section as more of a library where the rarest of bottles can be found.
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