Whisky Live returns to Louisville for its second year, bringing the broadest sampling of international whiskeys to a single tasting ever seen in the Bluegrass. Serving as the closing event for Kentucky Bourbon Affair on Saturday, June 10, this premier tasting event will allow guests to sample world-class Scotches, bourbons and other whiskies from around the globe. It also gives whiskey fans the chance to mingle with an international array of industry brand reps always full of insider stories.

Held at the Louisville Marriott East, Whisky Live runs from 6-9:30 p.m. General admission tickets for the event (click here) cost $139, while VIP tickets run $199. Those pricier passes get you 5:30 admission time and access to the VIP Experience area, plus a 25-item VIP pour list (click here and scroll down to see).

All attendees have access to a large dinner buffet, open tastings, live entertainment and get a souvenir etched tasting glass. A range of educational classes are also on offer.

“We’re excited to be back in Louisville again and proud to support Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Bourbon Affair,” said Dave Sweet, president of Whiskey Live USA, in a news release. “It seems like yesterday that Mayor Fischer helped us kick off our inaugural Whisky Live Louisville event in 2016, but we were overwhelmed with the support from the brands, the Louisville community and Kentucky Distillers Association. We knew we’d be back.”

Want to see the brands on hand for this year’s event? Click here and scroll down. Trust me, there are plenty of international whiskies the average bourbon drinker hasn’t tried but should. And at those brands’ booths there will be multiple tastes of their lines. All in all, more than you can manage to taste (so drink wisely, OK?)

To put it simply, Louisville is pretty lucky to host this event. The other three Whisky Lives in the U.S. are held in less humble ‘hoods as New York City, Louisville, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sweet told me last year that he’d always wanted a Whisky Live in Louisville since it gives the greatest access to the bourbon community for drinkers who want to explore.

“It makes total sense, does it not?” Sweet said last year. “The distillers here are all for it. They know what a privilege it is to put their products beside some of the best made anywhere in the world. They also want to see their fans learn more about whiskeys in general.”

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Few people from any generation spend 50 years working for a single employer. These days, five months seems a long stretch for some; clearly not for Al Young. When a newlywed in 1967, he was a bottom-rung clock puncher at Four Roses Bourbon Distillery who would go on to become its Lawrenceburg, Ky., distillery manager, and the brand’s lead ambassador in 2007.

Al Young, brand ambassador, Four Roses. | Photo courtesy of Four Roses

In his work, Young has earned the love of his Four Roses peers and bourbon fans across America. As the brand’s chief storyteller and archivist, his baritone pipes rarely get a rest from task of sharing the history of this storied brand. So, it seems only fitting that Four Roses would release a bourbon honoring him and his career—which isn’t ending, by the way.

The 2017 Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Small Batch Bourbon, created by Young and master distiller Brent Elliott, is a blend of four of the distillery’s 10 recipes: 23-year OBSV (5 percent); 15-year OBSK (25 percent), 13-year OESV (50 percent) and 12-year OBSF (20 percent). The June 10 release (to premier during Whisky Live Louisville) of the bourbon will see 10,000 bottles moved to market for a suggested price of $150. If you love retro packaging, a great bourbon story and tasting the skill of great blenders at work, this might be your bottle. (Click here for a piece with Young’s comments on the whiskey’s creation.)

Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Small Batch Bourbon

Appearance: Bronze to deep amber, depending on directness of light

Nose: Just delicious: toffee followed by green apple followed by maple syrup, toasted wheat bread and magnolia bloom. As it opens up, cereal grains arrive, followed by sawn cedar, bourbon ball candy and packaged chocolate chip cookies.

Palate: This doesn’t drink like a 108.9 proof bourbon, especially a Four Roses bourbon of such proof.
Some of the distillery’s high-rye recipes positively vibrate with aggressive spiciness (which I like, though in small doses or with ice), yet were one able to convert silk to liquid, this is what it would feel like at the midpalate. As revealed on the nose, the whiskey delivers on toffee, maple syrup, cotton candy, ripe apple and a bit of banana before returning to rye on the finish. It belies its age on the finish, which is barely dry and only mildly tannic. It is bourbon through and through, redolent with caramel and citrus and oak; dignified and complex, yet ever comprehendible. Just like Al Young himself.

My take: $150 easily qualifies this as a super-premium category offering, but if you’ve got the urge to splurge, put this one on the list. I’ve tasted many similarly priced whiskies this year that don’t stand up to this one. Consider it a great buy—if you can find it.

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Lucie Slone Meyers is cooking with a purpose

March 24, 2017
Lucie Slone Meyers is cooking with a purpose

Four days before Valentine’s Day, Lucie Slone Meyers held court at a table in her nearly opened restaurant, The Red Light Kitchen & Lounge (780 N. Limestone). Between directing staffers on where to place tables, décor and bottles behind the bar, the grande dame of the Lexington restaurant scene talked shop with some of her […]

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BULLEIT DISTILLERY OPENS STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN SHELBYVILLE, KY.

March 15, 2017
BULLEIT DISTILLERY OPENS STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN SHELBYVILLE, KY.

Published first on EatDrinkTalk.net SHELBYVILLE, Ky.—If Tom Bulleit didn’t buy a lottery ticket on March 14, he should have. As the founder of Bulleit Distilling Co. welcomed a crowd of about 200 to the ultra-modern, Diageo-backed distillery that day, he mentioned that Tuesday was not only his birthday, but his 30th wedding anniversary. 2017 also […]

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AQUATIC BARREL AGING GIVES NEW MEANING TO “WHISKEY AND WATER”

March 14, 2017
AQUATIC BARREL AGING GIVES NEW MEANING TO “WHISKEY AND WATER”

When two barrels of Jefferson’s Bourbon—caged to the back of a 24-foot runabout—set off down the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky, last June, Walter Tharpe kicked himself. Symbolically, at least. “I said, ‘Dadgumit! I knew somebody was going to do it,’” said Tharpe, owner of Cane Land Distilling Co. in Baton Rouge, La. “I’d thought […]

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The Restaurateur in the Arena

April 8, 2016
The Restaurateur in the Arena

Influenced by Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote. It is not the restaurant critic who counts; not the man or woman whose poison pen points out how the restaurateur stumbled, where the chef could have seasoned the food better or the bartender stirred the Old Fashioned colder. The people who count are those actually in […]

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Restaurant soft openings are practice runs, so don’t complain!

April 1, 2016
Restaurant soft openings are practice runs, so don’t complain!

I love restaurant soft openings, but not for the food or even the drink. I like seeing the excitement in the eyes of owners who’ve worked their brains loose trying to get their vision from blueprint to fruition. I appreciate the risks required to move from a well-capitalized business to modestly liquid before a paying […]

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Here’s a must buy bourbon: Westport Whiskey & Wine’s Maker’s 46 Private Select

March 25, 2016
Here’s a must buy bourbon: Westport Whiskey & Wine’s Maker’s 46 Private Select

I’m like most folks whose liquor shelf is lined with bourbon bottles costing between $10 to $50. There are a few moderately higher priced goodies thrown in, but I don’t generally recommend spending $75 or more on liquid—until today. Go to Westport Whiskey & Wine and get a bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select Single […]

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After 3 years, Lynn’s Paradise Café sold to mystery buyer

March 24, 2016
After 3 years, Lynn’s Paradise Café sold to mystery buyer

It took more than three years to sell one of Louisville’s (formerly) busiest restaurants, but according to WDRB.com, Lynn’s Paradise Café has been sold. To whom, I don’t know. The story mentions a restaurant group that “will reveal itself in a couple of months,” but in the meantime, even my best restaurant real estate sources […]

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It’s a good deed to watch hoops in a Louisville bar this weekend

March 23, 2016
It's a good deed to watch hoops in a Louisville bar this weekend

It was bad news for local bars when the University of Louisville announced it would self-penalize its men’s basketball team by sitting out the post-season in the wake of a salacious recruiting scandal. Without a reason to head to one’s favorite drinkin’ haunt to cheer on the Cards, it was predicted local watering holes would […]

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