Bardstown Bourbon Co. Founders Collaboration

Alcohol Professor: 7 of the Best Whiskey Releases of Spring 2022

Here’s my most recent piece for Alcohol Professor on some of the newest bourbon and whiskey releases this spring.

Spring has certainly sprung in the whiskey world, with new releases pushing up through the soil quicker than I can remove winter’s gook. There once was one big release period in the fall, but it seems nobody’s holding back their bourbon-soaked bounty for that anymore. So let’s take a look at some of the latest crop looking for a little sunshine and sippin’.

Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished In Ice Cider Casks

Angel's Envy Cider bottle

107 Proof | $249.99

In 2013, Angel’s Envy came out with rye whiskey finished in Caribbean rum casks that was — and still is — phenomenal. There truly is nothing at all like it in the marketplace today, so it’s no surprise they didn’t mess with it for nine years. Until now. As part of the Cellar Collection, this release finishes the Angel’s Envy rye (sans the Caribbean rum) in ice cider casks from Vermont-based Eden Specialty Ciders for 364 days.

The rye whiskey is 7 years old, so it’s solid even without the cider finish. You definitely get that hint of apple on the nose, and then once you sink your teeth in — er, I mean sip — it’s like Grandma’s apple pie. Straight up baked apple with drizzles of caramel, sprinkles of cinnamon and even some roasted cashews thrown into the mix. The price tag is a bit steep on this one, but if you’re a rye and cider fan, this is your golden goose.   

Uncle Nearest

Uncle Nearest bottle

118.4 proof | $149

Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey first came onto the scene in 2017, and as founders Fawn Weaver and company conceptualized the welcoming distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., they were smart to lay down some of their own distillate before ground was ever broken.

Now, that whiskey is about 5 years old, and the company will be switching over to that juice, which is 100-percent distilled, aged and bottled by Uncle Nearest. They’ll also be adding to their lineup of offerings, including some rye whiskeys, but first they celebrated the milestone with the release of the Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition, which is only available at the distillery.

There’s a reason Uncle Nearest is the most awarded American whiskey company for the last few years, and once you pop the top on this bottle, you’ll know why. The whiskey titillates with butter pecan, dark fruit and toffee notes — and that’s just in the aroma. The flavors are very impressive for a 5-year-old whiskey, and the notes I just mentioned are all heightened in that first sip, along with hints of butterscotch and caramel corn. The whiskey is thick and leaves you thirsty for more.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Collaborative Series: KBS Stout

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Founders Collaboration

110 proof | $159.99

The latest in Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Collaborative Series has them teaming up with the beloved Michigan beer company Founders Brewing. The finished whiskey began as a 10-year-old Tennessee bourbon and then was put into Founders Brewing KBS Stout Barrels for 15 months. As with most of these collaborations, the results are phenomenal. 

This is one that reveals new flavors with each sip. On the nose you get wonderful notes of coffee, cocoa and orange peel, most likely from the stout finish. And then that first sip explodes with black cherry, dark chocolate and even more coffee. It may sound complex, but the bourbon and the stout have intermingled well, making it a fun experiment and treat for both beer and bourbon lovers. I’m thinking about adding this to my coffee to see if those mocha notes come out even more.

15 Stars Timeless Reserve

15 Stars bottle

103 proof | $279

This is the newest bourbon to hit store shelves (in Kentucky only, sorry folks), and yet it’s the oldest one at 14 years old. 15 Stars is a new brand named in honor of America’s 15th state — you guessed it, Kentucky!

The father and son team of Rick and Ricky Johnson sourced barrels for this blend, called Timeless Reserve, and they recently revealed the website, which also highlights many historical artifacts from 1795. Although Kentucky was founded in 1792, it took three more years for a 15-star flag to debut.

The Johnsons will continue to put out sourced blends as well as some of their own bourbons and whiskeys they’ve distilled with the help of Bardstown Bourbon Co. using various types of heirloom corn.

At a perfect and deliberate 103 proof, this Kentucky bourbon truly is timeless, reminding you just how delicate and nuanced whiskey can be as it ages on past a decade. You get a little of that oak on the nose, along with a nice maple and butterscotch. And after that first sip, it’s a spring bouquet of fresh flavors bursting in your mouth. It’s got that viscous mouthfeel from its time in the oak, plus a few dark chocolate and roasted almond notes, along with hints of sweet vanilla and warm caramel. It’s a high price point, but it’s 14 years old!


Heaven Hill Heritage Collection bottle

Heaven Hill releases 17-year bourbon from its ‘vast inventory of extra-aged whiskey’ — so how’s it taste?

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection bottle

Earlier this month, word spread about a new bourbon Heaven Hill was launching that would be a whopping 17 years old. Yes, there are older bourbons on the market — Pappy 23 to reference a popular one — but in this age where many distilleries cite limited supplies of aged whiskey, it makes headlines when out pops any release older than 12.

But then again, Heaven Hill isn’t your average everyday bourbon distillery either. After announcing the release of the new Heritage Collection 17-Year-Old Barrel-Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, they followed it up a week or so later with news that the next Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond release would be 17 years as well. Hot damn!

Call it gumption, call it ingenious foresight or call it great supply management, but Heaven Hill is sitting on a “vast inventory of extra-aged whiskey,” according to Susan Wahl, VP of American Whiskeys. Wahl spoke during a media event on the Heritage Collection via Zoom, which included a tasting of the 17-year bourbon led by Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll.

There are currently 1.9 million barrels aging throughout Heaven Hill’s six rick house sites, so yes, I can see where some of that probably is older whiskey, which is good news for them and consumers.

The new release is the first of the Heritage Collection, which will debut each spring and always feature some of the distillery’s oldest juice (15+). Their highly sought-after Parker’s Heritage Collection will continue to be released each fall and focuses more on the experimental side of the coin, including finishes, mashbills and more.

Tell me about the bourbon already!

OK, OK. This first iteration of the Heritage Collection features Heaven Hill’s standard bourbon mashbill of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. The proof on this one is a stout 118.2, so it does pack a punch for an older guy.

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection bottle
Fancy bottle, fancy box. | Courtesy

And, as we know, the age statement comes from the youngest bourbon in the batch — which is 17 years old — but O’Driscoll told us it also contains a good amount of 19- and 20-year-old barrels, which brings its average age to 18.7.

The barrels were also pulled from several rick houses, including Deatsville, Glencoe, Schenley and the main campus in Bardstown, and most barrels were from floors 1-4.

The suggested retail price on this fancy 750ml bottle is $274.99, and Wahl said it should be hitting store shelves any day now in Kentucky as well as across the country.

So how’s it taste?

It tastes delicious, thank you. I’ll have another.

Only kidding — about having another … unless I can get lucky and find one on the shelf.

From first sniff, you know this bourbon is going to be complex. It smells like walking into a rick house and all those wonderful notes that invade your nostrils — vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak, baked apple and dark chocolate.

Now onto the sip …

This bourbon is not overly oaked at all, which can be the case with older whiskeys. It’s also quite sweet for being 118.2 proof. Along with the aromas I mentioned above, I get some nutty flavors, like pecans and almonds, a lot more of that apple, this time with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and even a tinge of leather on the long finish.

If your tongue was a dance floor, it’s waltzing from left to right, gliding effortlessly like the mature spirit it is. After sitting inside a barrel for 17 years, this is the bourbon’s time to grab the spotlight and never let go — until the last drop has been savored.

Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022

The Woodford Derby 2022 bottle is revealed!

Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022
And we’re off! For Derby 2022. | Courtesy

March is finally here, which means Louisvillians can brace themselves for warmer weather, two chances to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and a looming countdown to the Kentucky Derby, even though we’re still 68 days away. The first news out of the gate: Woodford Reserve has revealed its special Derby 2022 bottle.

This year’s fancy bottle features the artwork of Kentucky native Jaime Corum, an equine artist known for her horse portraits. The painting on the bottle, titled “Dreams in Bloom,” features three thoroughbreds racing neck-and-neck, surrounded by a vivid spring flowers, including the iconic red roses of Derby.

Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022

“The attention to detail in Jaime’s artwork is remarkable — and so realistic,” said Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “This year’s bottle celebrating the 148th Kentucky Derby will make a gorgeous addition to anyone’s bar.”

So how do you get the bottle for your bar and/or impending Derby party? Well, you can pre-order your bottle now at ReserveBar if you don’t live in Kentucky, but if you do, it should be available wherever you buy booze later this month.

Unlike most other limited-edition bottles, these tend to hang around a while, so no need to rush out or stand in line. The 1-liter bottle is priced at $49.99.

Woodford has released special Derby bottles since 1999. I think the oldest one in my personal collection is 2007, but I’m not really trying to collect them due to increasingly limited shelf space. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Diamond Pub in St. Matthews will soon be The Fox Den

The Fox Den logo
The Fox Den is scheduled to open in April.

I heard it through the grapevine that Diamond Pub & Billiards St. Matthews will soon be converted to The Fox Den by Louisville restauranteur Jared Fox Matthews. The target opening date is April 22, 2022.

News of Diamond Pub’s closure came earlier this morning on Facebook:

“After 15 years Diamond Pub and Billiards has decided to close our doors. We have loved serving you over the years, celebrating the good and the bad that life has to offer. One of our long time managers has decided to take over the space and to give the building a fresh, new look. Thanks for all the support over the years and we wish him the best of luck!”

Diamond Pub St. Matthews, Facebook

Matthews worked at Diamond for more than 15 years as bar manager and talent booker, and he now owns other Louisville establishments like Equus & Jacks, Black Rabbit and Lou Lou Food & Drink. He plans to give the space a much needed makeover but still keep the sports bar vibe.

So what does that mean? Well, the 11 pool tables are staying, and now there will be more darts, pinball, TVs and live music seven nights a week. There also will be chef-driven pub fare, an extensive beer menu and craft cocktails.

Matthews has been involved in the music scene, hence the emphasis on live music every night.

“Stepping away from the music scene was one of the hardest decisions, but now I get to combine my love for the music industry with my love for the service industry,” he says in a news release. “Having the opportunity to step back feet first in the same building to elevate a bar I helped brand and build 15 years ago is a dream come true.”

I asked if there would be any changes to Diamond Pub in the Highlands — aka “the old Jillian’s” — but as of press time, I haven’t heard back. Matthews did not purchase that location. I’ll keep you updated.

Green River Bottle

The revival of Green River Bourbon

Green River Distilling
Green River Distilling is in Owensboro, Ky. | Courtesy

I’m going to admit something that I’m extremely embarrassed about. I have never visited Owensboro, Ky., and I’ve lived in the bluegrass state going on 23 years. I have no excuse, but now, I have a really good reason to head west. Green River Distilling Co. in the ‘Boro has revived a long-lost bourbon brand called Green River Bourbon.

Before Prohibition, Owensboro was actually bustling with bourbon production, and there were more than 20 distilleries in the city. In fact, the Green River Distilling Co. is the 10th oldest distillery in the state.

And while it changed names and owners several times throughout the past century — O.Z. Tyler, Old Medley, etc. — the current owners of the distillery quickly restored its original name once they learned of the site’s rich past.

The original Green River Distilling was founded in 1885 by John W. McCulloch. According to a news release, he was a traveling man who loved to tout his bourbon wherever his path took him.

Green River Bourbon was known as one of the finest Kentucky bourbons in the world, and it even won several international awards, including a gold medal and “best of show” at the Paris Exposition in 1900, and later a grand prize at the 1905 Liege Exposition in Belgium.

Green River Bottle
Check out the cool bottle design on Green River Bourbon. | Courtesy

Green River also was known as “The Whiskey Without Regrets.”

Unfortunately the distillery eventually shut down during Prohibition, and some of the original structures were lost to a fire. The distillery sat dormant for years until 2016, and now it’s once again producing bourbon by the barrel — about 94,000 of them in 2021.

“I’m proud of our team’s great work bringing Green River back to life in Owensboro after years of dormancy — not only because of what it means to our company, but what it means for this wonderful city,” said Simon Burch, CEO of Green River Distilling, in a news release. “In its heyday, Green River’s success was intrinsically linked to Owensboro’s proud whiskey making heritage. The revival of the brand will make this true once again, and we plan to sell it far and wide, just like the original Green River.”

I met with Green River Master Distiller Jacob Call and CEO Simon Burch on Tuesday at Neat Bourbon Bar as they chatted with some local media here in Louisville. They were excited to showcase the revived Green River Bourbon, and I could tell they genuinely were thrilled to be bringing back a piece of bourbon history.

The bourbon is about 5 years old and is bottled at 90 proof. And the actual bottle is super cool, rounded to match the horseshoe on the bottom. Apparently the design took cues from the brand’s past, including key icons like horseshoes, rivets and the original Green River colors.

Best of all, the bourbon is refreshingly affordable at a suggested price of $34.99! Call said he wants his bourbon to be consumed, not collecting dust on shelves. I shared a taste of the bourbon with Call and Burch, and I will definitely be adding it to my bar as a daily drinker.

With a mash bill of 70% corn, 21% rye and 9% malted barley, the bourbon has a nice spice from the rye and packs some rich flavors of caramel, nutmeg and apricot for being 5 years old.

They’re having the official Green River Launch Party tonight at the distillery, and you should start to see this on shelves around Kentucky very soon. Or you can join me in making a pilgrimage to the distillery to check it out in person!

Angel's Envy Rye

Angel’s Envy adds to its Cellar Collection: rye whiskey finished in ice cider casks

Angel's Envy Rye
Introducing Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks | Courtesy

In 2013, Angel’s Envy came out with a rye whiskey finished in Caribbean rum casks that was — and still is — phenomenal. There truly is nothing at all like it in the marketplace today, so it’s no wonder the Hendersons didn’t mess with the rye for nine years.

Until now.

Of course they know better than to tweak a product beloved by many, so instead, they’ve taken their rye whiskey surplus and experimented with a new finished product that will be the next bottle in the highly coveted Angel’s Envy Cellar Collection. For the fourth iteration of this collection, behold the Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks.

The late Lincoln Henderson, who founded Angel’s Envy with his son Wes Henderson, was passionate about innovation, so to honor him, they started the Cellar Collection to produce one-time releases that showcase both experimentation and unique flavor profiles. Wes recently announced his retirement from Angel’s Envy, so now his sons Kyle, Andrew and Connor run the operations at the Louisville distillery.

This newest concept features 7-year-old, 95% rye whiskey that has been aged for 364 days in ice cider casks from the Vermont-based Eden Specialty Ciders. Ice cider is a dessert-style cider that is produced primarily in the northern United States and Canada.

“The flavor profile of this whiskey is very unique — the spiciness of the rye is balanced by the fruity sweetness from the ice cider casks, and there’s a crispness that is really distinct,” said Kyle Henderson, distillery production manager, in a news release. “We’ve never seen a whiskey finished in ice cider casks before, so we’re excited to introduce this finish as part of our Cellar Collection.”

Kyle explained that it was Andrew who first suggested the ice cider finish, and after they took a deep dive into the world of cider-making, “we fell in love with the product and the process and knew these special casks would be an excellent match for our rye,” he said.

The whiskey is bottled at 107 proof and will be sold for a suggested price of $249.99. There will be 6,000 bottles as part of this limited-edition release, and it’ll officially hit store shelves around Feb. 25 in Kentucky, New York, California, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois and Texas. If you’re a 500 Main member, keep an eye out for an email on Feb. 15 where you can enter to win a chance to purchase a bottle.

So how does it taste?

I was fortunate to receive an extravagant media package this week that included a sample of the finished whiskey, plus all the ingredients and tools to make cheese fondue, complete with Vermont apples, Kenny’s cheese, a cutting board, Blue Dog Bakery bread and much more. I plan on trying my hand at fondue tonight, but for now I’ll just focus on the whiskey, since that is what we’re here for.

The release date is Feb. 25.

(If you’re curious to see how the fondue unfolds, I’ll post something to my Instagram later.)

Color: Since this rye whiskey is seven years old, it’s got a decent amount of amber hue to it, but in comparison to some of the other Cellar Collection releases, like the Sherry or Tawny finish, it’s much lighter since the finishing spirit is light in color. You’re probably like, “No duh,” but whatever.

Aroma: You definitely get that apple right up front, and if I close my eyes and inhale, I feel like there’s a late-season Northern Spy apple under my nose that I’m about to sink my teeth into. OK, so I don’t know my apples that well — I pulled “late-season Northern Spy” from the news release — but you get the point. On top of the apple, I get light caramel and roasted cashew notes.

Taste: If you took an apple, cut it into pieces and sprinkled black pepper, brown sugar and cinnamon over it, as well as a light drizzle of hot caramel, that is exactly what I taste here. The rye doesn’t soften at all. You get a little of that ice cider sweetness on the tip of the tongue, and then the fury of the rye quickly warms things up as it moves to the back. The finish is quite pleasant as the spice shapeshifts back into sweet.

Thoughts: This is definitely a great experiment with rye whiskey and ice cider, and it certainly is a one-of-a-kind product. Would I swap it out permanently for the regular Angel’s Envy Rye? No. But nobody’s asking me to. Am I going to shell out $250 for a bottle? I suppose I should do my taxes first and then make that decision later. (Ahh, the benefits of freelancing.)

Bravo, Angel’s Envy, for always pushing the envelope of innovation. This is a great pairing, and I look forward to whatever else is up your sleeve.

Woodford Double Double Oaked

Woodford Double Double Oaked hits gift shop on Feb. 1, plus a lottery

We’ve got two chances to score a bottle of the highly sought-after annual release of Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked, so let’s hope we’re extra lucky this year! So far I have one bottle from each year they’ve come out, so I am determined!

First up, you can head to the Woodford distillery on Tuesday, Feb. 1, where they will be for sale (limit 2 per person) starting at 10 a.m. Chances are, people will camp out/line up early, so depending on how many they have for sale, it might be a cluster-f#$k trying to score even one bottle.

The second chance is a sweepstakes lottery-style release, where you can sign up online for the chance to win a bottle (one sign-up per person). The bad news here is that anyone in the country can sign up for a chance, so winning might be just about impossible. The caveat is winners must pick their bottles up at the distillery in Versailles, Ky., so that might deter someone from, say, Oregon throwing their name in the hat. But who knows.

Woodford Double Double Oaked
Double Double … Yes! Yes! | Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

“Double Double Oaked has such a cult following, which makes it very difficult for consumers to get their hands,” says Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “This sweepstakes will allow more of our fans to have the chance to try this special release.”

You can enter the sweepstakes anytime from now through Feb. 8. Winners will be notified by Feb. 10 and have until April 10 to purchase their bottles in person at the distillery.

So what makes Double Double so special special? Well, they take fully mature Double Oak and age it for an additional year in a second, heavily toasted, lightly charred, new oak barrel. The extra year creates a bourbon that is distinctly spicier and a little darker and richer than the original.

These bottles are also only 375ml and are sold for $49.99. The bourbon is 90.4 proof, following the standard Woodford Reserve proof of most of its products.

Good luck! And if you end up getting two, remember to reward the messenger!

Neat Bourbon Bar menu

Neat Bourbon Bar: It’s history by the pour

Neat Bourbon Bar
Neat Bourbon Bar specializes in vintage bottles. | Photo by (Neat bartender) Dante Wheat Jr.

If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “Oh no! Not another bourbon bar,” I’d be able to afford a decent pour of a Maker’s Mark bottled in 1972 at the newly opened Neat Bourbon Bar & Bottle Shop in the Highlands.

I don’t care what you think, Louisville does not have too many bourbon bars. Why are millions of visitors filling up our hotels year after year? Because they want the Wellerz and the Pappiez and everything else in between. They want a one-of-a-kind bourbon experience they can brag about to their buddies back in Kansas.

Besides, would you rather have another smoke shop or tattoo parlor? How about a pizza place or coffee shop? I think I’ve made my point, so let’s get on to Neat.

Neat is unlike any other bourbon bar in town because its particular niche falls firmly in vintage, dusty category. Opened by bourbon buddies Owen Powell and Danielle Elder, Neat caters to those curious about bourbon’s past.

You won’t find a wide variety of today’s releases on the shelves here, but instead you’ll find older expressions of some of your favorites — bottles that once they’re gone, they’re pretty much gone forever.

vintage bourbon
This vintage Yellowstone was bottled in 1941. | Photo by Sara Havens

I chatted with Neat General Manager Craig Rupprecht and Powell last night while I was there to try a bottle of Yellowstone from 1941.

Rupprecht and Powell have been friends for quite some time, bonding over bourbon and even starting an online club called Louisville Bourbon Hounds a few years back.

While that has since disbanded, you can see their friendship and passion for this hobby called bourbon is evident throughout the comfy confines of Neat.

Rupprecht says of the 165 open bottles on the shelves, about 90% are vintage. That being said, the prices aren’t stiff, which allows you to truly enjoy “history by the pour” ( a phrase Rupprecht coined that is used on the front of each bourbon menu).

Neat is a throwback to a time when bars were dark and moody. Red velvet curtains keep the sunlight out, and plush 1920s-style couches and chairs dot the main bar room. The bar itself is a dark mahogany dotted with red leather bar stools. And memorabilia from bourbon’s past is scattered throughout, a nice touch for fanatics who like to geek over an Old Crow statue or a J.W. Dant serving tray.

There’s even another room toward the back with more plush seating. And in the back corner of the main room, there are some shelves of both modern and vintage bottles that can be purchased.

Neat also employs some of the city’s best bartenders who can help educate you if you’re not sure what to order. But don’t be alarmed — it’s not all neat pours and men boasting about their latest bottle score. There’s a cocktail menu with seven different options, as well as wine and beer offerings. The Old Fashioned is always a solid choice, and Neat’s is quite good.

Neat ribbon-cutting ceremony
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Jan. 13, 2022. | Photo by Sara Havens

Neat is open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it opens at 1 p.m. There are no snacks, so eat before you bourbon. It’s located at 1139 Bardstown Road, across from where Highland Coffee used to be.

Elvis Whiskey bottles

All shook up about Elvis Whiskey?

On Saturday, Jan. 8, Elvis would have turned 87, if you can believe it. I don’t know much about the man’s sordid history other than the great songs he left us, but I do know he loved to entertain. So the fact that there’s now a whiskey named after him, I think he’d kinda dig it.

It’s not cold Kentucky rain — I mean whiskey — but it is bottled in Tennessee, where Elvis began his career and where his historic mansion Graceland still resides. In fact, the company that is launching Elvis Whiskey is Grain & Barrel Spirits, which is based out of South Carolina and doesn’t indicate exactly where this whiskey was distilled or aged. There are actually two Elvis bottles: Elvis Tiger Man Whiskey and Elvis The King Straight Rye Whiskey.

Elvis Whiskey bottles
Return to sender or not? | Courtesy

My guess is if you’re buying the whiskey because Elvis is on the label, you probably don’t really care where it’s distilled. It’s cool, it’ll look cool on your bar, and that’s that.

So let’s take a look at both releases.

Tiger Man Whiskey

Bottled at 90 proof and aged for 2 years — ack! — the aroma and flavor is very mild and sweet. Since it’s quite young for a whiskey and hasn’t spent much time in the barrel, the color is a light gold that you can see straight through. I like my whiskey aged at least 4-6 years, so for me it leaves a lot to be desired.

One of Elvis’ many nicknames was “Tiger Man,” and he had a song by the same name, which he first performed in 1969 at a Las Vegas concert. The mash bill is: 80% corn, 10% rye and 10% malted barley, and the suggested retail price is $49.99.

Elvis The King Straight Rye Whiskey

This 90-proof straight rye whiskey is also 2 years old and has that standard rye whiskey mash bill of 95% rye, 5% malted barley. It’s a bit more spicier, as you would imagine from all that rye and 0 corn, and it sticks around longer — like the chorus to the Elvis hit “Hound Dog.” It’s also priced at $49.99.

Elvis first launched his career in 1954 and quickly became known as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” With his controversial hip gyrations, his crooning voice and knack for hits, Elvis entertained millions and continues to do so. He even inspired many musicians then and now, including The Beatles. In fact, John Lennon once said, “Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”

Final Thoughts:
Elvis montage
Elvis was cute! | Courtesy

Again, I’m guessing if you’re interested in one of these bottles, you’re not buying it for taste. If my mom was still alive today, I would probably get her a bottle for display purposes because she was a huge Elvis fan.

I could never get her to truly appreciate the nuances of whiskey, but I bet I could talk her into a few sips (OK, maybe just one) of this while “Love Me Tender” — her favorite Elvis song — played in the background.

Elvis Whiskey is available online and will also be available in Kentucky starting in February.

Pappy bottles

Let’s go Krogering: Pappy lottery starts Friday!

Pappy bottles
Hopefully gettin’ lucky in Kentucky! | Courtesy of Sazerac

Kentucky Kroger stores are about to get busy — as if they’re not busy enough this time of year. It’s time for the annual Pappy Van Winkle lottery, where thirsty bourbon hunters and gatherers descend upon every Kroger store within a 50-mile radius to enter their name for a random drawing of five varieties of the highly sought-after bourbon.

I’m included in this badass bombastic bourbon bunch, and lucky for us, we’ve got some extra time to make it to as many stores as we can this year. Entries will be accepted at all participating Kroger liquor stores between Friday, Dec. 17, and Tuesday, Dec. 21.

If you’ve never participated, here’s a quick rundown. You walk into the Kroger liquor store, fill out a slip of paper with your name and phone number, and then do a “Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky” rain dance while dropping the slip into the large bin filled with everyone else’s bourbon wet dreams.

If your name is selected Wednesday morning when they draw winners, you will win the chance to buy one of these five Pappy brands:

  • Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon 10 Year Old: $69.99
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old: $79.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old: $119.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old: $199.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old: $299.99 

It’s as simple as that. And let’s say you win but don’t feel like spending that much money on bourbon. In that case, you message your favorite Bar Belle ( and she will happily purchase the bottle from you, plus $20 extra for your troubles. It’s the least I can do.

Each store will have at leasts six bottles up for grabs, and you can only enter once per store (although I’m not sure that’s once, period, or once per day).

Here’s the list of participating Kroger stores in Kentucky, starting with the Louisville area. Gather up a group and go hit all the nearby Krogers while singing carols and sippin’ eggnog. Good luck!

Louisville Area Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 2219 Holiday Manor Center
  • 2200 Brownsboro Road
  • 9812 Linn Station Road
  • 2440 Bardstown Road
  • 3039 Breckenridge Lane
  • 5533 New Cut Road
  • 12501 Shelbyville Road
  • 6900 Bardstown Road
  • 5001 Mud Lane
  • 4501 Outer Loop
  • 9080 Taylorsville Road
  • 291 N. Hubbards Lane
  • 9440 Brownsboro Road
  • 12611 Taylorsville Road
  • 3165 S. Second St.
  • 1265 Goss Ave.
  • 9501 Westport Road
  • 10645 Dixie Highway
  • 4915A Dixie Highway
  • 2034 S. Highway 53 (La Grange)
  • 5929 Timber Ridge Dr. (Prospect)
  • 185 Adam Shepherd Parkway (Shepherdsville)
  • 234 Eastbrook Pointe Drive (Mt. Washington)
Lexington Area Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 4101 Tates Creek Centre Drive
  • 150 W. Lowry Lane, Suite 190
  • 1808 Alexandria Drive
  • 3650 Boston Road
  • 3165 Majestic Drive
  • 4750 Hartland Parkway
  • 1060 Chinoe Road
  • 3175 Beaumont Centre Circle
  • 1600 Leestown Road
  • 704 E. Euclid Ave.
  • 106 Marketplace Circle (Georgetown)
  • 212 Kroger Way (Versailles)
Other Kentucky Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 102 E. John Rowan Blvd. (Bardstown)
  • 568 Bypass Road (Brandenburg)
  • 200 Skywatch Drive (Danville)
  • 111 Towne Drive (Elizabethtown)
  • 3040 Dolphin Drive (Elizabethtown)
  • 1309 U.S. Highway 127 S. (Frankfort)
  • 302 Brighton Park Blvd. (Frankfort)
  • 810 Indian Mound Drive (Mt. Sterling)
  • 515 N 12th St. (Middlesboro)
  • 967 S. Main St. (Nicholasville)
  • 1650 Starlight Drive (Owensboro)
  • 2630 Frederica St. (Owensboro)
  • 890 Richmond Plaza (Richmond)
  • 181 S. Highway 127 (Russell Springs)
  • 311 Boone Station Road (Shelbyville)
  • 50 Stonegate Center (Somerset)
  • 1661 Bypass Highway 1958 (Winchester)