Savoring Bourbon, and Its Storied History, in Northern Kentucky
A year ago, when bourbon was once again in the midst of a revival, I was one among many people who, having sampled a few drops of a few brands, felt more than willing to write off the whole industry. Why bother? I thought. Because it’s hard to overstate the power of this drink, and its potential for change.
Bourbon has had its share of bad times. But I’ve found it’s also seen its share of good times. And so, after a lot of thought about the reasons bourbon is on the rise again — and so much more — I’ve decided to once again write what could be my new, definitive take on the subject: It’s never been more important to consider the history of bourbon.
The word itself, of course, originated as a slang expression to refer to an alcoholic beverage produced from a distillation of distilled grains. The word brouhaha, which means a large amount of conversation among participants, has always been present inside the bourbon world, and is still used quite literally by many.
“Bourbon is a word that has been around for centuries, but a lot of people don’t know it’s a big deal.”
“Bourbon comes from the French term for an alcoholic beverage derived from the word for the grains used (barley) during the distillation process,” writes a Kentucky native named Matt Kline. He goes on to explain that the word “bourbon” derives from the French word bouvre, which means “broth” or “stock.” This is a more poetic word that, in turn, derives from the Latin word for “strong drink.”
“The bourbon industry has used a lot of that term over the centuries. It has, in fact, become synonymous with a drink that is a product of Kentucky.”
This history is relevant to today’s discussion because bourbon is still an important part of Kentucky’s history. And it’s a history that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Because there’s only so much the bourbon industry can be expected to know when it’s still talking about the early days of distilling a mash of barley, and when it really should be talking about the late 1800s.
“People still do the