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If you have not met Bernie Lubbers, then you have not been to very many whiskey events in the last decade. Bernie is sent to all of the major events and many of the smaller ones. He is a popular speaker and a talented musician. He is also very knowledgeable about Bourbon and the leading cheerleader for Bottled-in-Bond whiskey.

When Bernie moved from stand-up comedy to becoming a brand ambassador for Jim Beam, he needed to learn more about Bourbon. Someone in his past, I think a teacher, told him that the best way to learn about something is to write about it. Bernie took this to heart and this book is the result of all of the research he did learning his new job. I am glad he received that advice because this book is a great book whether you are new to Bourbon or have been studying it for years.

Bourbon Whiskey, Our Native Spirit: Sour Mash & Sweet Adventures. Bernie Lubbers. Indianapolis, In.: Blue River Press, 2011. Table of Contents, Forward, Illustrations, Appendix. 218 pp

Today Bernie Lubbers is a whiskey ambassador for Heaven Hill. Lubbers has written a very good book about Bourbon. It is aimed more towards the person who is just learning about Bourbon than the seasoned Bourbon drinker, but the old hand will still enjoy the book. Lubbers was a stand-up comic for many years and this is reflected in his writing. He manages to tell very informative stories in an entertaining manner. The author is particularly passionate about Bonded Bourbon and makes a compelling case as to why the reader should explore this category further.

The book is laid out in a manner that reflects Lubber’s own learning process. It begins with Lubbers’ own background story, then goes into what is Bourbon, how is it made and how to read a whiskey label. This is followed by some history which is very interesting, but not groundbreaking. Lubbers is a storyteller and not a historian so expect some of the same stories that he heard while researching Bourbon, but not anything new or exciting historically. It ends with chapters on visiting distilleries, hosting a Bourbon tasting, and favorite cocktails and recipes. The book is well illustrated with photographs, drawings and maps that help Lubbers tell his story. The one big problem with the book is a lack of an index for quick reference.

This book is an excellent book for any Bourbon Library. It is informative and entertaining. It makes the reader want to go to one of Bernie Lubbers’ tastings and to drink some Bonded Bourbon.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller