Kentucky Tavern is a very old brand of Bourbon. It was created by James Thompson and Bro. and quickly became their flagship brand. During Prohibition, after James Thompson died, the company changed its name to “Glenmore Distillery”. They had purchased the Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro at the turn of the 20th century. The distillery was one of the largest distilleries in Kentucky at the time and had a reputation for making very good whiskey. 

After Prohibition, a fire destroyed many of their warehouses, but the distillery survived. Glenmore quickly recovered and became an even larger company. During World War II, they purchased the Yellowstone brand and distillery in Shively, Kentucky. By the 1980s, much of the production for Glenmore was being done at Yellowstone, but Glenmore remained their main bottling plant. This whiskey was probably distilled at Yellowstone and bottled at Glenmore. 

I know that this bottle is from 1984 because it is embossed as being both “one-liter” and “33.8 fl.oz.” This practice of using both types of measurements ended in 1984. The bottle also has a fake tax stamp. This practice started in 1984 after the Federal Government deregulated the industry and ended the use of a strip stamp across the top of the bottle. Tamper-proof caps were still a few years away so the distilleries still placed a tax stamp-type seal over the top of the bottle to show the whiskey was the genuine article to the consumer.

Kentucky Tavern Bourbon

Date: 1984

Proof: 86

Age: No Age Statement

Nose: A fairly simple nose of honey and baked apples with a little oak.

Taste: Honey, vanilla, ripe apples, white pepper and oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry a citrus note comes forward and the apple becomes a bit tart. When tasted with a pecan the oak and pepper dominate the flavor.

Finish: Medium long dry finish with lots of oak and pepper. The cranberry makes the finish sweeter with notes of apple added to the oak and pepper. The pecan makes the finish longer and drier with lots of oak and a hint of black pepper.I am pairing this Bourbon with an Oliva Serie V cigar. The smoke has a rich tobacco flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla that should pair well with this Bourbon. The Bourbon gives the smoke a dried fruit note that works well as a pairing. The smoke makes the Bourbon very creamy and rich with a French vanilla flavor coming forward to compliment the apples and spice. This is a very good pairing.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller