Small-batch bourbons have become big news. Here's the latest on the turnaround of an American spirit.
I hold in my hands a relic of a golden age, granted to me by the gods of eBay. It's not much, a flimsy little pamphlet with a red paper cover. But for a whiskey fiend like me, it's a monument to a lost civilization, the Statue of Liberty's torch in Planet of the Apes. What it is, you see, is the October 10, 1911, issue of William C. Biles & Co.'s Cincinnati Whiskey Price Current, a catalog of American whiskeys and their wholesale prices. The booklet lists a whopping 176 different brands of straight bourbon alone, with another 74 rye whiskeys. There are a few surviving names among them — Old Grand-Dad, Early Times, T.W. Samuels (whose descendants now make Maker's Mark). But the others are long gone, fine whiskeys like Glenmore, Belle of Marion, Belle of Nelson, Queen of Nelson, Chickencock, Susquehanna, Crab Orchard, Big Spring, Old Oscar Pepper, Old Fire Copper. Their names alone are enough to bring a tear to my eye.
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