Maker’s Mark Handcraft Festival Coming


Kentucky for Kentucky

After a cold winter, Maker’s Mark is warming up with thoughts of sharing the second Maker’s Mark® Handcraft Festival.

This year’s Handcraft Festival is Saturday, April 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the distillery in Loretto! Take a jaunt on down to a little slice of heaven to enjoy a self-guided tour with food samples, cocktail samples, food trucks and live music while you stroll around the beautiful historical landmark Maker’s Mark likes to call “home.” You’ll even have a chance to meet Rob Samuels.

There will be 27 vendors selling their handmade wares from bourbon bottle tags to Maker’s Mark-inspired paintings on staves and much more. We have many new vendors this year, including Sycamore Hill, Kentucky for Kentucky and Legendary Boot Company from El Paso, Texas.

You’ll be able to find everything – gifts for yourself, family or friends of all different sizes and price points.


Bourbon ON the Water: Aging at Sea



Once in a while something odd passes by… and this is one of those items.

Ocean’s Bourbon is aged at sea, rocking and rolling around the world.

As bourbon lovers know, flatboats have an historic place in the bourbon biz. It’s why Kentucky has the world bourbon market over a barrel. (Flatboats were used to transport the golden liquid onto the Ohio River where they could reach the Mighty Mississippi and make way to New Orleans.)

Kentucky bourbon distiller Trey Zoeller is using the motion of the ocean to produce bottles worth $200 each.

“We’re going back to how bourbon was initially aged. The color and flavor came from the rocking on the water. Bourbon was loaded on to ships in Kentucky, and by the time it travelled to the people buying it, the flavor improved.”

From a long line of distillers, Zoeller said his great-great-great grandmother was among the first female distillers and his father, Chet, is a bourbon scholar. Zoeller has been in the artisanal whiskey business since the 1990s with his Jefferson’s Bourbon. A while back Zoeller was celebrating his birthday on a friend’s boat off the coast of Costa Rica  raising glasses full of bourbon.

“I was watching the bourbon in the bottle shift from side to side and I thought, if it’ll do that in the bottle, it’ll do that in a barrel on a ship.”

Chemist Tom Collins, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who has analyzed the flavor profiles of American whiskeys, says higher temperatures like those found in the tropics, and the swell of the ocean, can both accelerate the whiskey aging process.

“The daily swing in temperature matters. As the liquid warms up, it expands into the wood. And then as it cools down, it contracts, which can improve extraction of compounds from the wood – compounds that give aged whiskey its characteristic flavor. These reactions are generally favored with higher temperatures.”

Five barrels of bourbon roamed the seas on a boat linked to OCEARCH, an organization that tracks sharks and other endangered marine life. He kept the barrels on board his ship for three and a half years. 

So what happened when Zoeller tapped those first barrels?

“The experiment totally exceeded our expectations. The bourbon went in clear as water and came out black. Bourbon always picks up color in the barrel, but this 4-year-old bourbon was darker than 30-year-old bourbon.”

And the salt air gave the bourbon a briny taste — more similar to an Irish single malt — and coloring like dark rum, Zoeller says.

Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon is still on the high seas, with over 200 barrels reaching more than 40 ports. Each batch returns with a different flavor and color.

Putting Jefferson’s Ocean on my “need-to-try-quick” list. Sometimes odd is great.

Mila Kunis: Love Me for My Bourbon, Not My Body



Mila Kunis told a New Zealand newspaper that she chose not to play the role of “girl in a bikini” in the new Jim Beam ads.

We are sorry for her decision.

The Friends With Benefits actress is the new spokeswoman for Jim Beam. She says she’s not trying to feminize the bourbon brand, just break a few stereotypes.

“Breaking the stereotype of bourbon being a boys drink is really not necessarily my goal – I’m not trying to break any barriers. It’s just that I think showing that a girl doesn’t have to be in a bikini half-naked with an alcoholic beverage for it to be sexy, is a cool thing.”

Wait. What? “doesn’t have to be half-naked with and alcoholic beverage to be sexy…”


In the series of TV ads, she learns how bourbon is made, rolls a 450 lb barrel of bourbon, learns the “Kentucky chew” and shows up as a vintage time-travelling guide through the brand’s history.

In a bikini.

(I just made up that last part.)

You Need Grill Gloves If You’re Serious

Yeah, pretty crappy weather on the weekends for doing ribs… so I put on the grill gloves and fired up the grill for some good old fashioned burgers.

So sue me.


But I’m telling you, when faced with a smoker full of ribs in foil pans you will thank me for telling you about Mr. Grill grill gloves.


You know how impossible it is to get a good grip on the foil pans and not lose any of that juicy goodness just using hot pads or – yikes – a towel?

That’s why serious barbeque cooks need grill gloves. And I don’t know how you could do better than these gloves.

MrGrill grill gloves are made out of kevlar and nomex lined. They are heat resistant and said to withstand temps as high as 450 degrees.

I believe it, I had a nice bed of coals to cook the burgers and held my hand over the coals to check the heat resistance. Didn’t time how long I held my hand there, but it was long enough that I knew the gloves would serve me well and not make my hands well done when I grabbed six or eight trays off the smoker.

Two gloves come per package, medium size only, but Mr. Grill offers a free no-hassle return policy if they don’t fit.

I recommend you make the investment in grill gloves. You’ll find lots of other uses for them around the house other than just grilling. Buy a second pair to throw in with your camping gear too.

Schuster Art Graces Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby Bottle

Woodford Reserve®, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby® is honoring this year’s Run for the Roses with the release of its 2014 Kentucky Derby commemorative bottle. This year’s limited-edition Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle features the artwork of local Louisville artist David O. Schuster.

Schuster’s image on the bottle is entitled “The 4th Turn” and captures the horses and jockeys in their multi-colored silks racing down the final stretch and last turn of the Kentucky Derby, one of the most thrilling moments in sports. There is a blur of the stands of fans in the background cheering them on to victory.

The neck band features a diamond pattern of light blue and copper as well as the Kentucky Derby 140 date sealing the top of the commemorative bottle. An attached tag hangs around the bottle bearing information about the product and the artist.

“David O. Schuster has been a fixture of the city’s art community for over a decade, making him the ideal selection as the 140th Kentucky Derby bottle artist,” said Jason Kempf, Woodford Reserve brand director. “Schuster has a true ability to craft beauty and wonder from his equine subjects, and Woodford Reserve is honored to showcase his work on this year’s commemorative Derby bottle.”

The commemorative liter-size bottle is available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $43.99.

Bourbon Women Coming March 20

On Thursday, March 20 from 6 to 8 p.m., Bourbon Women will host its first event of the year at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience located at 528 W. Main St. on Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row.

This is a very exciting time for Bourbon Women as we enter our third year of bringing educational and fun programs to bourbon enthusiasts all across the United States. The Roaring 20’s is so hot right now with the “Downton Abbey” series and “Great Gatsby” movie that we wanted to create a similar theme with our Evan Williams partners on this event.

said Bourbon Women president Michele Bowling.

Guests will receive a secret pass code to provide upon entrance of the 1920s speakeasy. They will then be treated to bourbon tastings with the director of guest services Lynne Grant, and will have the opportunity to meet with Evan Williams’ artisanal distiller Charlie Downs. Tickets are $25 for Bourbon Women members and $50 for non-members. Attendees must be at least 21 years old. To register, visit by March 17.

Woodstock Bourbon: How a Bourbon Commercial Should Roll

WoodstockBourbonWe took Jim Beam to task for their uninspiring Mila Kunis’ commercial, so it’s only fair that we show you a clever bourbon commercial that is not only entertaining, but informative.

Woodstock Bourbon’s ad illustrates how the people of Woodstock, Kentucky (did you think there was only ONE Woodstock?)

The tv spot reminds us of the Coen Brothers movie O Brother Where Art Thou?

Right down to the bluegrass music and the homespun folksiness, this commercial just oozes sincerity.

Barrellel Parking? Clever.

It took an Australian advertising agency, CumminsRoss, and it’s made for the Australian bourbon drinkers, but we’re pretty sure the folks in Woodstock, Kentucky would enjoy the humor too – as would the rest of the U.S.

And the agency didn’t forget the unique selling point: Woodstock Bourbon says the more they turn the bourbon in the barrels the better it tastes.

Argue that all you wish, but compared to Mila Kunis wandering around a set inviting drinkers to “make history” doesn’t hold a candle to this very well done commercial.