I attended the book release party in Louisville tonight for Mike Veach’s new book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
My collection of personalized bourbon history books is growing.
Look for my book review next week in Ace Weekly!
In the meantime, here’s a review of the book launch party. 🙂
One of the special things about Mike Veach is that he leaves a trail of rare, unique and specialty bourbons in his wake. He opened two ‘very special’ bottles for the launch party – a 1918 Old Crow and a 1955-56 Old Fitzgerald. (It may be no surprise that the history of both brands are covered at least in part in his book.)
I was fortune it enough to get to try both. (I stood next to Mike with an empty glass and begged.)
The Old Fitz is surprising like the better bourbons of today. It’s a little rougher around the edges but still qualifies are ‘bourbon smooth.’ The corn is obvious, and the traditional notes of vanilla and caramel are right up front. There’s a hint of spiciness but not too much. It was very pleasant and it was apparent why the brand was so popular in its day.
The Old Crow was night and day different than the modern bourbons. Because it pre-dated filtering, it had a very high content of oils and congeners (flavor molecules) that get removed from today’s bourbons. This gave it a slightly greasy and very rough-and-tumble mouth feel. It was actually smoother than the Old Fitzgerald due to the oil content. It had a muskiness to it but no unpleasantly so. Ice would have really fought the oils, but it was quite drinkable neat.
And this is part of the reason Mike Veach has a (literal) following. You never know what he’ll open next.
PS – someone asked him how he comes up with the old and rare bourbons. “People give them to me,” he said …