Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fall Bourbon Tasting Fundraising Event!

On November 6 twenty-four lucky folks got to taste a variety of Civil War themed bourbons, enjoy some tasty food, and hear one of the great Civil War historians of our time, Richard McMurry. The star attraction of this event was a bottle of 1960 circa Rebel Yell. This unopened bottle was given to long time member Lowell Griffin, by the founder of the LCWRT, Frank Rankin in about 1975.  This vintage Rebel Yell was distilled by the former Stitzel-Weller distillery owned and operated by the Van Winkle family as in ”Pappy Van Winkle” fame. It did not disappoint! It had a rich dark straw appearance and a great nose (fragrance or smell) for those who appreciate bourbon tasting talk. Everyone agreed this was the best tasting bourbon of the lot and maybe the best that many had tasted in a long time. Our tasting guide and host, Mike Veach, commented that it tasted better than today’s very expensive Pappy Van Winkle. High praise indeed!

Attendees also tasted the current Rebel Yell distilled product and though good, nothing like the vintage bottle. Our thanks go to Lowell for donating this bottle and inspiring this event. We also tasted “Battlefield Bourbon”- Small Batch distilled with “fresh spring water from the battlefield in Franklin. Tn.”, “Johnny Drum” Private Stock - a Willett distilled product from Bardstown, Ky.; “Burnside Double Barreled” An Oregon state distilled product; “Rebellion”- a Willett distilled product from Bardstown, Ky.; and “Cassius Clay”- 100-proof whiskey aged for around 8 years in charred American oak.

Richard McMurry treated us to a humorous and informative talk on four Confederate generals from the Western theater of the war of whom opinions have changed in the last 50 years or AC, ‘after Thomas Connelly”. Historians now evaluate Generals Braxton Bragg and John Bell Hood much higher than previously and Leonidas Polk and Joe Johnston lower than before. Richard pointed out that this is primarily because historians now look at all contemporary sources and do not rely solely on the memoirs of the Generals who always cast themselves in the most positive light possible.

Richard McMurry
photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member, John Davis

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