The Bourbon Renaissance
My name is Jordan Grigsby. I wanted to begin by introducing myself and to tell you a little about me before we started this journey together. I feel privileged to be working for the ABV Network and feel quite excited for what's to come. As any normal reader, you might like to know about the writer before you start investing your time in reading their work. I want to start by saying that I'm no bourbon snob. I enjoy my bourbon like legend Master Distiller Jimmy Russell does. He states, “I'll take it any way I can get it”. Of course, I pass no judgment on those who prefer their bourbon any number of ways, but I just prefer my bourbon neat. No water, no ice, just pure unadulterated bourbon. Just like the Master Distiller created it. You wouldn't add a hat to the Statue of David would you?
One could argue that all of the legendary Master Distillers could be compared to the top Renaissance artists. They spend years and years perfecting their craft and laying the groundwork for current Master Distillers. Renaissance artists are well known for perfecting the art of contrast shadowing to show depth and the ability to compose an aesthetically appealing space. Artists before this time didn't really grasp shadows and foreground. They were still great works of art, but seemed to lack that extra edge that made them realistic. It wasn't until the Renaissance era that the human form was perfected. Before this time the body was oddly shaped and distorted. It wouldn't be a stretch to call our present time period the Renaissance of Bourbon. Before people like Jimmy Russell and Elmer T. Lee, distillers were clumsily making a corn liquor to put in barrels, sometimes not even charred. These legendary Master Distillers perfected the distillation process and made it was it is today. The end result of their hard work is a very complex bourbon whiskey, like the perfected artwork of the mid 1500's. The Renaissance artists of the 1500's and the Master Distillers of today both took an existing art form and scientifically turned it into something unique. When it is all said and done and all of these legendary Master Distillers are gone we might look back and call this time in history the Renaissance of Bourbon. You will tell stories to your grand kids about the good old days when legends like Jimmy Russell and Jim Rutledge were still around talking about bourbon to whomever wanted to listen.
When will the Renaissance of Bourbon end? Current distilleries don't see it ending any time soon, as they are presently increasing production and investing more money into new buildings and properties. Bourbon royalty like Bill Samuels Sr. and others have done a excellent job paving the road through the Bourbon Renaissance and their successors have done an equally superb job keeping the momentum going. Are we on the tail end of the Bourbon Renaissance? I don't have an answer for you, but I hope not. All we can do is cherish the moment we live in and and let that soak in. If you can't call that the Bourbon Renaissance then I don't know what you call it, but we do in fact live in the greatest era for bourbon. So much good bourbon, so many great legends still alive, and no end in sight.