Some American icons get mature and strong while Louisville gins up and charts a course for good beer, all…on the Latest edition of The Drinkable Week.
• The global whiskey boom has been converging with an overarching trend that spans all spirits: trading up, or what the industry likes to call “premiumization.” The latest sign of this convergence comes in the form of some high-end offerings from some brands better known for their products with more mass-market appeal. Wild Turkey, now a division of Campari, announced this week that it’s rolling out its most mature bourbon to date: It’s called Wild Turkey Master’s Keep. It’s 17 years old, aged in a variety of rickhouses and bottled at 86.8 proof. It follows closely on the heels of a prestige release from another iconic American whiskey trademark, Jack Daniel’s. Last month, parent company Brown-Forman introduced Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel-Barrel Proof. The Tennessee Whiskey ranges in age between 7 and 9 years and is bottled at 134.6 proof. The retail on the Barrel Proof Jack is $65, while the 17 year old Wild Turkey is a more gifty $150.
• Wild Turkey and Jack Daniel’s may have been around for many generations, but one distillery that’s only a little over a year old has built such a following that even iconic industry legends would be envious. Louisville- based Copper & Kings is rather unique among Kentucky distillers, as it’s one of the few not making whisky. Its full name is Copper & Kings American Brandy Company and that should tell you what its specialty is. But in addition to that, it also has a knack for making some pretty spectacular absinthe. Well now it’s also adding gin to its repertoire. The distillers at Copper & Kings take one of their apple brandies, combine it with classic gin botanicals and then age it for 12 months in a single medium-char Serbian juniper barrel. The new offering has been christened Stray Cat Gin—sort of a nod to the Old Tom style of gin—as in tomcat—combined with the fact that it matures in a lone, stray barrel…also founder Joe Heron admits to an affection for Brian Setzer. And like Mr. Setzer, this cat is a rare breed…only 750 small, 375 milliter bottles are being produced and sold at the distillery store, with a tiny selection available at some very lucky bars and liquor stores.
• If there already weren’t enough reasons to get to Louisville, here’s one more. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer this week unveiled a map for the city’s craft beer trail. Dubbed Lou’s Brews, the map features 12 different craft breweries with a total of 14 locations in the area. You can pick up a copy of Lou’s Brews at the local breweries and at the convention center. It’s a nice companion piece for the Louisville Urban Bourbon trail, a passport to dozens of spots around town to sip the best whiskey Kentucky has to offer. You can find more information at GoToLouisville.com