Welcome to Derby week!


Col. Bourbon here and I would like to welcome y’all to Derby week, whether you are visiting from afar or are fortunate enough to call old Kentucky home.

There’s a lot going on in the week leading up to the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, and some of it isn’t even associated with bourbon, believe it or not. But let’s start things off with some breaking news from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which reports this morning that for the first time in 40 years, Kentucky distilleries produced 1 million barrels of bourbon in 2012, further proof of the industry’s renaissance.

To be precise, distillers filled 1,007,703 barrels last year. The industry hasn’t created that much bourbon since 1973, when 1,004,877 barrels were filled, the KDA said. 

That year – 1973 – is remembered around here for another reason: It was the year that the great horse Secretariat won the Triple Crown. That anniversary will be celebrated on Wednesday evening at the Kentucky Derby Museum when Secretariat owner Penny Chenery and jockey Ron Turcotte will join Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge to unveil a commemorative bottle filled with a special selection of Four Roses chosen by Mrs. Chenery herself.

As I reported here earlier, there was also to be a special commemorative Secretariat decanter. Unfortunately, when the decanters arrived from the overseas supplier, they did not meet quality standards, and so Four Roses, the Derby Museum and the Secretariat organization have reluctantly decided not to provide them. Those who ordered decanters are being given a full refund and the option to purchase one of the 3,500 bottles instead. While that is disappointing, it’s ultimately less disappointing than receiving subpar merchandise. The bottles will also be sold along the Triple Crown trail. Having tasted the limited-edition bourbon that Mrs. Chenery selected, I can tell you it’s good stuff. 

That’s enough for now. Check back often this week for more Derby Week updates, reports from my first-ever visit to WhiskyFest Chicago over the weekend and maybe a julep recipe or two. Cheers!

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The Bourbon Babe