Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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On May 4, 1964, Congress designated bourbon as a distinctive product of the United States, and it remains the only spirit produced in this country to enjoy such protection. Its history stretches back almost to the founding of the nation and includes many colorful characters, both well known and obscure, from the hatchet-wielding prohibitionist Carry Nation to George Garvin Brown, who in 1872 created Old Forester, the first bourbon to be sold only by the bottle.
Although obscured by myth, the history of bourbon reflects the history of our nation. Historian Michael R. Veach reveals the true story of bourbon in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Starting with the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, he traces the history of this unique beverage through the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the present. Veach explores aspects of bourbon that have been ignored by others, including the technology behind its production, the effects of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how Prohibition contributed to the Great Depression.
The myths surrounding bourbon are legion, but Veach separates fact from legend. While the true origin of the spirit may never be known for certain, he proposes a compelling new theory. With the explosion of super-premium bourbons and craft distilleries and the establishment of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, interest in bourbon has never been higher. Veach shines a light on its pivotal place in our national heritage, presenting the most complete and wide-ranging history of bourbon available.
The book is published by University Press of Kentucky.
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|Listening Length||2 hours and 34 minutes|
|Author||Michael R. Veach|
|Audible.ca Release Date||June 25 2013|
|Publisher||University Press Audiobooks|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #146,184 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#508 in Food & Wine (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,184 in History of Food
#1,725 in Liquor (Books)
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The author also gives a nice discussion of how sweet and sour mash differ and why they yield slightly different end products. One of the bits of trivia included that I found interesting was what the difference in spelling of WHISKY and WHISKEY implied. The lore is that WHISKY spelling supposedly implied distillers who originally had ties to England as Canada and Scotland, while those allied with the colonists as the Irish spelled it WHISKEY. It turned out to be marketing lore, but it still makes for a good story.
The manufacturing principles of distilling with many early recipes are given.
What I found to be a most interesting section was on some of the early innovators in the business of making bourbon and even how bourbon supposedly got it name. For instance we learn that a Louisville physician named Jim Crow made several improvements to the distilling process and was credited with using a thermometer to record the temperature which allows greater accuracy in distillation and allows various cogeners to be included thereby affecting the desired end flavor; he also was credited with using a hydrometer to more accurately assess the true ABV level; and he used litmus paper at various steps in the process to prevent bacterial buildup from spoiling a batch. We also learn that central Kentucky is famous for its bourbon due to the limestone filtered water which is low in iron content thereby giving it its distinctive taste. We even learn how Kentucky whiskey differs from Tennessee whiskey, again this is marketing hype more than anything else.
We are introduced to George Remus, called "the King of bootleggers." He was a lawyer who owned a string of pharmacies, and after prohibition was enacted, he decided he could make much more money making his own booze than buying from the few legal distillers enabled to sell to pharmacies, which could only dispense the precious spirits with a doctor's prescription. George also thought of a neat gimmick of hijacking his own insured shipments and then reselling it at much higher prices than he could in the pharmacies. He made about 40 million in the 1920s. He was eventually sentenced to two years in jail, during which time his wife Imogene filed for divorce. George wasn't too happy about what Imogene had been doing while he was behind bars. He got out before the divorce could be finalized; hunted her down; killed her then pleaded insanity and got off. He died of natural causes in 1952. Is that a cool story or what.
We learn about Hiram Walker and how his Canadian whiskey morphed into a club whiskey [and what that means] called Canadian Club. There is much more in the story of bourbon whiskey than I briefly covered in this short synopsis. Highly recommended and greatly enjoyed while sipping my own favorite Kentucky bourbon.