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Sunday 20 April 2014

On this day…

14th June, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Legend has it that on this day in 1789, Baptist minister Elijah Craig distilled the first batch of Bourbon whiskey.

elijah_craig_woodcut1

Elijah Craig

Although it is generally agreed that Craig did run a distillery in Kentucky, it was in Fayette County not neighbouring Bourbon (though both counties were named in honour of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman from the House of Bourbon who fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary War).

His role as the sole creator of Bourbon whiskey (similar to that of Dom Pérignon and Champagne) has been called a “charming legend” and it is more likely he was making whiskey in exactly the same way as his fellow distillers.

In fact, by 1785 when the counties were formed, many producers were already calling their grain whiskies “Bourbon”, to distinguish it from the rye whiskies made east of the Allegheny mountains.

Nevertheless, every movement needs a figurehead and Craig’s memory lives on in the Elijah Craig Bourbon produced by Heaven Hill.

True or not, what would life be like without its legends?

As if you needed an excuse, therefore, why not raise a glass tonight to Elijah Craig and the early Bourbon pioneers?

 

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