Summary: Join Best Selling Author Drew Hannush as he explores the rich stories, myths, and legends that surround our favorite spirit. From the ghosts of the Scottish Highlands, to bourbon legends like Colonel E.H. Taylor, to popular myths around how we taste and experience whisk(e)y - Drew is on a mission to help enrich your whiskey experience by finding the stories that hide behind the labels.
What is a "dusty hunter?" Find out in this week's episode and join me as we talk about the largest collection of Pre-Prohibition whiskey sold at a Christie's auction. Whiskey that sat for a century in two vaults owned by a man who helped put Los Angeles on the map and also brought the citizens plenty of whiskey. And find out where I take 2 bottles of this Pre-Prohibition whiskey during my 6000 mile journey across the country.
One morning, I opened my email and read about one of the most fascinating finds any whiskey fan could hope for. A paralegal from Los Angeles who is also a fan of the show, had a client who recently passed away, and within their house was a store of whiskey filled with the most fascinating history imaginable. Not only from the dusty bottles themselves, but also the story of how they got there - a magical gift from the man who created what the LA Times called in 1919, "the wettest spot in America."
While on a journey out to California in search of details about an upcoming episode, I took time out to interview Seth Benhaim of Infused Spirits. Seth is taking a very unique approach to aging whiskey. We sampled his expressions using Mizunara oak, a Cask of Amontillado (something Edgar Allen Poe fans will appreciate), and scotch peat staves. We also talked about the history of light whiskey, a historic distillery in Kentucky they source from, and the concept of an oak bill.
Join me as I chat with Kings County Distillery co-founder Colin Spoelman, the author of a curious and entertaining whiskey history book called Dead Distillers. We'll talk about the origins of New York distilling, how Colin started his journey by moonshining in Brooklyn, we'll discuss the "who was the first to make bourbon" question, and discover a history of New York distilling that goes back to the Dutch West India Company.
When you start planning your trip to bourbon country, you will have a lot of unique choices of distillery experiences. One of the most unique is Neeley Family Distillery. Distillery Royce Neeley will tell us his family's journey to the new world, how it got to Kentucky, and some of the dangers the family faced. We'll also discuss some of the very unique processes they use in making their award winning whiskey and moonshine.
Continuing my journey through the Mississippi Delta, I made a couple of stops including Rosedale, mentioned in Robert Johnson's Traveling Riverside Blues, and Dockery's Plantation. My final stop was to be the final resting spot of Robert Johnson, but a surprise awaited me - and it would lead to a voice with first hand experience at partying at the juke joints - Poe of WABG-AM in Greenwood, MS.
Join me as I go on a hunt for juke joints in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way I'll taste a hamburger fried in 100 year old grease. I'll talk about the Father of the Blues and the Home of the Blues. I'll search for Robert Johnson's home in the Delta. I'll spend some time relating some of the great information I learned from Roger Stolle and his book Juke Joint Confidential and I'll have someone offer me a building Ike Turner worked in.
What a fascinating human being. Robert Johnson didn't live a long life, but he lived a full one for his years. Amazingly, researchers have retraced a large portion of his life and books released in the last 2 years have shown a bright light on who Robert the man was, rather than the legend. In this episode, I will tell the story of that man. From the day he went searching for his father, to the uncovering of myths, and his families quest to bring him peace.
A lot has been written about Robert Johnson, the legendary blues guitarist of the 1920's and 30's - much of it is based on half truths and legends. One of his most known legends is based in the story of the crossroads when he was said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar genius. But Robert faced more than one crossroad in his life. We'll look at the fact and fiction of Robert Johnson and see if we can find the real man behind the legends.
It's always great to chat with someone who love to share information about their town. Jimmy Rout (Shelby County Historian) had a chance to see the rebirth of Beale Street in Memphis and he is going to take us around the town that was and the town that now is. We'll hear about W.C. Handy, Boss Crump, and even Old Hickory makes an appearance in a tavern in Memphis...or did he?
Back in October, Lindsay reached out to me on behalf of B.R. Distilling Company. She mentioned that they had just won 5 gold medals at the 2020 MicroLiquor Spirit Awards and wondered if I wanted to chat with their CEO McCauley Williams about their Blue Note Juke Joint Bourbon and Riverset Rye. Always looking for a tie into history and being a music fan, I found it the perfect opportunity to learn about this new entry into the whiskey market, blue notes, and juke joints.
Steve and I continue our discussion of George Washington's distiller James Anderson and I get a chance to taste two of the rye whiskies made on-site using 18th century methods. We also talk about researching whiskey history and whether it is better to stick to traditions or evolve. And I'll also tell you how, as a Whiskey Lore Society member, you can hear more with Steve, including tips on when to visit.
Enjoy my conversation with Steve Bashore, Director of Historic Trades at George Washington's Mount Vernon, Distillery and Gristmill. In this interview, we walk around the distillery and Steve talks about recreating an 18th century distillery, George Washington and James Anderson, and the use of Mount Vernon's crops. He also walks me through the process of making George Washington's rye and brandy.
The story of James Anderson and his journey to becoming George Washington's distiller is a fascinating one. It starts simply enough on a farm in Inverkeithing, Scotland. But circumstances around him dictate his future and he finds himself bringing his wife and seven children to a new world. Listen to how he convinced a retiring president the benefits of the whiskey trade. And thanks to Steve Bashore, the Head of Historic Trades at Mount Vernon for sharing his knowledge on Anderson and Washington.
How did George Washington go from dealing with the whiskey rebellion to opening his own distillery? Well, I went to Mount Vernon to find out the answer to that question and ended up learning so much more. Join me as I talk with Jim and Jeanette about Washington's management style, his distiller and distillery, and some of the myths that surround him.