Jamar Mack | Photo by Erin Trimble

Jamar Mack started KOBBE — Kentucky’s Original Black Bourbon Enthusiasts — in 2017 as a way to help make bourbon more accessible to everyone.

Membership continues to grow each month, and Mack hosts philanthropic events throughout the year to give back to various nonprofits. The group is open to anyone 21 and over. 

On Friday, Dec. 14, Mack is hosting KOBBE’s biggest event so far, a tasting experience called Bourbon & Benevolence held at the Kentucky Derby Museum. The shindig will buck the traditional tasting setup, where an attendee goes from table to table sampling bourbons, and instead will arrange things more in a lounge-style atmosphere to foster conversation. 

In a news release, Mack explains it further. 

“Think of it as speed dating meets a speakeasy, or bourbon class meets barbershop talk,” he says. “We will have several lounge-style areas that will allow guests to actually sit and have conversations with brand reps.”

So which brands will be there? Mack tells Insider there are at least a dozen on board, including Michter’s, Heaven Hill, Kentucky Peerless, Lux Row, Copper & Kings, Bulleit, Uncle Nearest and Rabbit Hole, among others.

Courtesy of KOBBE

Mack says putting on a tasting event has been a goal of his since he started KOBBE, and he wanted to keep the price of admission, which is $50, affordable.

“I decided to organize it this way because most large bourbon events cost $100 to $200 a person,” explains Mack. “That price is not approachable for most average bourbon drinkers, so we priced as low as we could.”

The event includes music — soul, funk and disco, Mack says — as well as a make-your-own grits bar and s’mores bar. There also will be a silent auction featuring rare bourbons and gift cards, and guests are encouraged to bring art supplies for a weekend visual arts program in development with the YMCA.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what has taken months to put together finally come to fruition,” says Mack about Friday’s event. 

Bourbon & Benevolence runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at the newly renovated Kentucky Derby Museum. Tickets are $50, and designated driver tickets are $25.

Before Mack got too busy preparing for the big event, we asked him some very important questions. 

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

I would like to retire and live in Greece.

Tongue out, guns out. | Courtesy of Steve Lipofski/Basketballphoto.com

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

Michael Jordan.  

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

Douglas Weede.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

Green peppers and black olives. 

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

 25.

I got 99 problems but bourbon ain’t one. | Album cover courtesy of Def Jam

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

I get Jay-Z and Ludacris. 

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

Oprah.

Sara Havens

Sara Havens

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."