Bourbon aficionados, media, experts, distillers and those simply curious to learn more about Kentucky’s native spirit descended upon Louisville last week for the fourth annual Bourbon Classic. The event pairs bourbon tastings and education with a chance to meet the folks who make and represent the product — and provides innovative fare from the city’s finest chefs as well. It’s produced regionally by The Bourbon Review magazine and FSA Management Group.
Organizers say this was one of their biggest turnouts, which is no surprise considering the one-of-a-kind experiences the Classic offered between Feb. 23-27. A quick glance at the itinerary reveals a who’s-who of regional bourbon and cuisine. For instance, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, attendees sampled Pappy alongside appetizers whipped up by Chef Sean Brock of Husk Restaurant (Nashville and Charleston). Another event on Thursday, Feb. 25, featured the renowned culinary team from Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.
The final two days of the Classic are a bourbon drinker’s dream. Friday featured cocktail and food samplings with the Cocktail Challenge, which paired Louisville’s top bartenders with a bourbon brand and a chef — and the two had to work together to create a match made in heaven. And Saturday’s finale featured a day full of informative sessions followed by an evening of tastings from a handful of distilleries, most of whom had several products available to try.
Insider was invited on the daylong media tours and nightly events, and we were able to get an up-close and personal experience with all things bourbon. Here’s a glimpse of our time at the Bourbon Classic, shot by shot.
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). 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."