Posts Tagged ‘bourbon’

Bourbon memories

Pond from the former Henry McKenna Distillery that shut down in Fairfield, Nelson County, Kentucky in 1974.

Ethan Suddeth photo

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Bourbon reincarnation

I watched the Henry McKenna Distillery shut down in Fairfield, Kentucky in 1974. Sad day for a small town. The only bar and the only pool hall closed—today they are just grassy lots. The town has sprung back, and McKenna bourbon is made in Bardstown, Kentucky using the original recipe.

Ethan Suddeth photos.

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Lord of Bourbon

God of Bourbon!

Borvo was a Gaulish/Celtic God of springs and healing. The French called him Bourbon—is a coincidence that Kentucky Bourbon is named after this God? I don’t think so!

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Monday June 14 is National Bourbon Day!

Kentucky’s favorite beverage or food flavoring. Chocolate bourbon fudge pictured. At home, I have Old Turkey Honey Bourbon (Lawrenceburg KY) and Silas Jones Bourbon (Louisville)

[use discretion, non-alcoholic Bourbon available]

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Most people know Bourbon—whiskey made from corn mash, aged in oak barrels and so on. The name was in honor of the French Bourbon dynasty. The name comes from a Gaulish French deity, Borvo, god of hot springs. Borvo meaning froth or foam—as in making the mash for Bourbon whiskey? Coincidence, I suppose, but a great coincidence. Bourbon l’Archambault’s spa in photos.

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National Bourbon Day!

Today, June 14, 2019 is National Bourbon Day. By my estimate, 80% of the bourbon is produced within 50 miles of Louisville, my hometown. The Urban Bourbon Trail will take you on a bourbon tour of Louisville. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail will take you all over the state. I like to write bourbon into my stories. Celebrate with me, but in extreme moderation and don’t even consider a vehicle.




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Haunting: Willie was a distillery worker who was killed by rolling bourbon barrels. Now he haunts Louisville’s Whiskey Row at Oshea’s Irish Pub. (CJ interview of Old Forrester employee)

Another Haunting: General Nelson, a Union Civil War General, was murdered in the original Galt House Hotel by another officer. Flying glass at Doc Crowe’s, a bar, is said to be his fault.

Yet another Haunting: A nun who died in an 1865 Galt House fire haunts the basement of Doc Crowe’s.

Angel’s Share: The evaporation in a whiskey barrel. The older the bourbon, the more the Angel’s Share.

Devil’s Cut: The whiskey present in the barrel’s wood. It can be extracted, but do you want to risk the Devil’s wrath? (also known as the Devils’ Share)

Crow’s Nest: The bourbon barrels stored near the top of racks in the Crow’s Nest. This is said to be the best bourbon. Don’t tell the pirates!

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Fairfield, Kentucky was home to the McKenna Distillery. Henry McKenna came from Ireland before the Civil War and started his distillery. Fairfield was also once home to a hotel, opera house (I saw it from the outside), bar, poolhall, & other businesses. The distillery closed down in the 1970’s & all that is left of Fairfield is a post office & grocery. The last time I went through I did not have a camera, but the closed-down distillery was still there.

McKenna bourbon is still available & I recommend it. I believe it is made nearby in Bardstown.

Sip responsibly.


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I remember the Old McKenna Distillery closing in 1974. (I was pretty much a baby) It was located in Fairfield, Nelson County, Kentucky. It was sad to see the town die: within weeks, the poolhall, bar, & other businesses closed.

The older people told me Fairfield once was a stagecoach stop with a hotel, opera house, bank, and so on. Now it is a sleepy village, not sure it still has a post office or businesses.


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  1. Why they call Louisville Derby City: Visit the Kentucky Derby! Celebrities, wild & friendly crowds, women in fancy Derby Hats, music, wagering, burgoo (fiery, three-meat stew), & mint juleps. All sorts of horse & betting stories. Did I mention horses?
  2. Boats are places: The Belle of Louisville is over 100 years old, the oldest paddlewheel steamboat in the country. Wharf, steamboat explosions, lots of stories. Did I mention romantic?
  3. Big, big water: The Ohio River is a mile wide and my stories sometimes venture across to Hoosierville (aka Indiana). Stand on the banks & watch anything from sailboats to towboats seemingly a mile long. Did I mention bridges? Bunches of them.
  4. How about a sample? A few miles southwest is Fort Knox, where the U.S. stores gold. You can tour the Army base, but not the Gold Depository. They don’t give out samples, but you can always ask. Good story: rumor has it the gold vanished years ago.
  5. Just a horse race? The Kentucky Derby Festival runs two full weeks of celebrating. And balloons, steamboats, rodents (you read correctly), human runners, & other things race for 2 weeks before the race. Did I forget non-stop partying and tales of partying?
  6. Some old rocks: The Falls of the Ohio River have been dammed off at the Falls of the Ohio State Park to expose one of the largest Devonian fossil beds in the world. Lots of blue herons and other waterfowl can also be viewed. Did I forget to mention it’s perfect for dam puns? Also good for dinosaur stories.
  7. Take me out to the ball game: Strange but true—Louisville Slugger is made in Louisville. At the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum, you can get your Major League bat made & engraved with your name. My stories have violence, but no bats as weapons, or do they? Oh, the stories with bats in a bar, bank, etc.
  8. Do you dare? Reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the country, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a TB hospital that closed in 1962, after thousands of people died. It’s been featured on several TV programs. Do you have the courage to tour? I don’t. Did I forget to tell you I’m chicken? Ghost stories, here we come.
  9. Under twenty-one? Skip to number Ten: The Kentucky Bourbon Trail covers much of Kentucky, but distilleries near Louisville or a few miles south in Bardstown hold tours and have gift shops. I included an abandoned distillery in Dream Flyer. Do I dare mention samples
  10. The Pitter-patter of really heavy feet: You can’t ride racehorses, but you can ride carriages downtown. Or drive a few miles east to Oldham County and Shelby County and visit their American Saddlebred, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horse farms. Not only can you tour, you can take riding lessons. Then maybe I’ll see you riding in the Kentucky Derby. Did I forget to mention Churchill Downs? That’s where the Derby is.


American Queen


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