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A Bourbon Immersion

By Tom Wilmes |

This weekend's Bourbon Classic celebrates our state's native spirit with top-shelf bourbons and cocktails paired with dishes from regional chefs.

The depths of bourbon breath takes on new layers of meaning this week as the fourth annual Bourbon Classic unfolds in Louisville.


The nightly series of special events and tastings culminates this weekend with the Bourbon Classic Cocktail Challenge on Friday, Feb. 26, and the Bourbon Classic Taste on Saturday, Feb. 27, both held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.


Friday's event features top-shelf bourbon cocktails paired with inventive dishes from regional chefs, while Saturday begins with an afternoon of informative sessions capped by a grand tasting and a chance to talk with the distillers and distillery representatives.




Brothers Seth and Justin Thompson, the gents behind The Bourbon Review, along with Tony Butler, owner of FSA Management Group, founded the Bourbon Classic to further education and appreciation around our state's signature spirit.


While events like the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and the Charleston Wine + Food Fest have a strong bourbon presence, and events such as Whisky Live and WhiskyFest include bourbon among their offerings, the Bourbon Classic is the only major Kentucky-based event centered on celebrating the culinary and lifestyle aspects of bourbon here in bourbon country.


"It's such a huge part of who we are as Kentuckians," says Seth Thompson. "We wanted to do something that brought the best whiskey makers, the best chefs and the best bartenders together for a celebration of the bourbon lifestyle."




Friday's event, the Bourbon Classic Cocktail Challenge, begins at 7 p.m. and pairs bourbon from top distillers with top bartenders and chefs for a round of classic-cocktail and small-plate pairings, followed by a round of contemporary cocktails and pairings. Winners are announced at the end of the evening.


Saturday's event includes a series of informative Bourbon Classic University sessions beginning at 2:45 p.m.—such as bourbon and country ham pairings, bourbon and cheese pairings, entertaining with bourbon, and a panel with today's top young distillers—followed by a grand bourbon tasting with paired dishes.




While many Kentuckians regard bourbon as simply a fact of life—ingrained in our heritage and part of our blood—many new markets across the country and around the world are just beginning to explore bourbon and are helping to fuel its explosive growth.


"It's important that we don't overlook it here and just let this moment slide by—we need to embrace it," Seth says. "We're at the center of the bourbon universe."


For information and tickets to the Bourbon Classic, visit Tickets will also be available at the door until 9 p.m. each evening. 


For all your kick-ass bourbon gear, including our new "Work Hard, Drink Bourbon" prints, T-shirts and glasses, head on over to the shop. You can also pick some up during our huge Warehouse Sale this weekend at the KY for KY Fun Mall.


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