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    Graduating The Filson Bourbon Academy
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    I recently attended the fall session of The Filson Bourbon Academy, and it was an amazing learning experience.  There’s really no better way to spend a crisp fall day than engaged in the pursuit of bourbon education, and The Filson Bourbon Academy is the gold standard.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there is more emphasis on bourbon history as it relates to Kentucky history than there is on actual bourbon tasting.  You will do both during the class, and it is structured so you are tasting whiskeys related to the material you just learned.  So when you are learning about the early period of American whiskey distillation, you are going to be tasting rye or even Tennessee Whiskey.  When you move to the Kentucky portion of the lessons you get to drink the good stuff.

    The Filson was opened in 1884, making it the oldest historical society in Kentucky.  Mike Veach, the Bourbon Historian at The Filson, started his career at United Distillers working in the Old Fitzgerald archives.  Since then he has risen to fame within the bourbon community as the keeper of bourbon’s history.  He is a Bourbon Hall of Famer and the author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey : An American Heritage.  The ease with which he recounts various aspects of bourbon history is really quite astonishing.

    According to Veach, Kentucky was the first American West.  Trade was slow and difficult, and the easiest trade route was the river, the highway of its time.  In the early days of Kentucky, whiskey was used for bartering because hard currency was difficult to come by.  He added that the Whiskey Rebellion, often credited for the beginning of distilling in Kentucky, also took place in Kentucky.  It was part of the union, so the tax applied here as well since there were already distilleries.

    Throughout the day we learned about Kentucky’s bourbon history, including debunking some popular myths.  At the end we were each presented with a newly minted graduation certificate.

    No matter your level of interest in bourbon’s rich and unique history in Kentucky, you will enjoy the Filson Bourbon Academy.  Right now it only comes around twice a year in Louisville, so be sure to take advantage of the next session near you!

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    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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