I found this book to be an interesting combination of travel guide, cocktail recipes and history. Author Stephanie Stewart-Howard quotes me a few times and, for the most part, gets it correct. She does say that I gave the Nelson brothers copies of their early trademark registration from the archive at the Filson Historical Society, when in fact, those copies came from my own collection, copies I made when working at the United Distillers archive. I was working at the Filson at the time, but the source is the United Distillers Archive. Just setting the record straight.
Kentucky Bourbon & Tennessee Whiskey. Stephanie Stewart-Howard, Guilford, Connecticut, Globe Pequot, 2016. Introduction, Contents, Index, Illustrations, 238 pp.
Stephanie Stewart-Howard has written an interesting book on Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey. In many ways it is very much like Gary and Mardee Regan’s book, The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskey combined with a whiskey distillery travel guide for Kentucky and Tennessee.
Following the introduction, there is a brief history of Bourbon and Tennessee distilling. Stewart-Howard has visited twelve Kentucky Bourbon distilleries and ten Tennessee Whiskey distilleries. Each of these distilleries has a chapter to itself. In these chapters she lists the products made at the distillery and then writes about the tour and works in some history of each distillery. At the end of each chapter, she gives some cocktail recipes using products from the distillery she has profiled. After the chapters on the distilleries, she has a chapter on classic cocktails and a chapter on women in the distilling industry.
The book is well designed. There are many color photographs of the distilleries and their visitor centers. She has written side bars for facts that may not be directly related to whiskey such as the beers being brewed at Town Branch Distillery, or other things related to the industry, but not part of the distilleries she has profiled in the book For example, she has a side bar about Beardforce films and the documentaries they made on both Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. The book is well indexed making subjects easy to find. Her writing is entertaining and still knowledgeable.
Kentucky Bourbon & Tennessee Whiskey is a book I would recommend for anyone interested in visiting distilleries in these two states. It will give the reader a good summery of the history of distilling in these states, as well as, a brief history of each distillery and what brands they produce. The paperback book is small and light enough to carry with you on your journey and I am sure you will reference it often as you visit distilleries in the book. It is not all inclusive as to the distilleries written about in the book, but all of the major distilleries are represented and several of the older, smaller artisan distilleries. There has been a huge growth in the number of distilleries established since the book was published.
I would recommend this book to anyone establishing a whiskey library. It is a bit dated, but it is still accurate in its information and entertaining to read.
Photo Courtesy of Rosemary Miller