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    The Bourbon Classic is coming soon to Louisville’s Kentucky Center for the Arts, and if you are a bourbon lover who hasn’t yet had the chance to attend the Classic, this is your year.  On February 20-21, bourbon lovers will gather together to celebrate Kentucky’s native spirit in a fun and unique way.

    The Cocktail competition kicks off Friday night’s festivities.  This is a unique cocktail competition in that chefs and mixologists from some of Louisville’s best restaurants team up with a specific distillery to make a cocktail and small plate pairing with the distillery’s product.  Last year the food and beverages were amazing.  There are no losers in this competition.

    The Saturday festivities begin with “Bourbon Classic University” panel discussions.  This year’s topics are country ham and bourbon, the life of the barrel, essential bourbon cocktails: past and present, straight up storytellers, and bourbon and cheese pairings.  After the panels have concluded, the bourbon comes out.

    After the first session of panel discussions, Fred Minnick will emcee the “Bourbon Masters General Session.”  Panelists this year will include Mark Coffman of Alltech Brewing & Distilling Company, Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy, Ken Pierce of Barton 1792 Distillery, Fred Noe of Jim Beam, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery, Jim Rutledge of Four Roses Bourbon, Denny Potter of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Nicole Austin of King’s County Distillery, Willie Pratt of Michter’s, and Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey.  Topics discussed last year included the bourbon boom, historical figures in the bourbon industry and changes in the bourbon marketplace.

    Following Bourbon Masters will be another set of panel discussions.  Topics include the art of the glass, entertaining with North American Whiskey, bourbon collections, bourbon flavor profiles and bourbon icons.  The biggest challenge with so many great topics is choosing which ones to attend.

    Following the panels will be “The Ultimate Bourbon Experience.”  Guests will have the opportunity to sample bourbons from multiple distilleries while mingling and enjoying appetizers.

    A lot of bourbon events try to pull off this level of bourbon education, culinary wonderment and actual bourbon tasting, but few actually do.  The Bourbon Classic is a great event and a great value- packages range from $249-355- and it’s like boot camp for your bourbon education.  Click here to buy tickets, and I hope to see you there! 

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl and Jordan McFarland

    Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.com/Tradeville

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    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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