Everything You Need to Know About The Bourbon Classic

This years Bourbon Classic kicks off tonight in Louisville, Kentucky, to the delight of Bourbon lovers, distillers, writers, chefs, and bartenders everywhere.

Wednesday night opens with the Top Shelf Tasting at the “luxuriously eclectic” 21C Museum Hotel. Julian and Preston Van Winkle, Chef Levon Wallace of Gray & Dudley (Nashville), and Chef Mike Wajda of Proof on Main (Louisville) will guide guests through a progressive pairing of Pappy Van Winkle from 10y, 12y, 15y, to 20y, as well as specialty offerings from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Thursday night brings the release and tasting of a bottle older than the world has ever seen. Distiller James “Buddy” Thompson will host the unveiling of Thompson Brothers’ Final Reserve 45-Year-Old Bourbon. With the deepest brown juice you’ve ever seen, this bottle isn’t just a gimmick – all proceeds are going to charity. This “Taste of History” has the perfect backdrop at the Frazier Museum, and will no doubt make the history books itself.

Not a history buff? Head over to the Art Sanctuary for Stir Your Senses, a culinary and sensory awakening with Woodford Reserve. Chef Madeleine Dee of Fond will pair Bourbon with each of the five senses, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Friday night starts the weekend off right with the Bourbon Classic Cocktail and Culinary Challenge, presented by Kentucky Proud. Teams of Bartenders and Chefs will pair with distilleries to compete for the title of “Perfect Cocktail” and “Perfect Small Plate.” A media and industry panel will evaluate  each offering individually and as a pairing to decide the winners as guests mingle with the distilleries and creators of each food and drink. The after party takes the show to Ed Lee’s Whiskey Dry, where guests will find free burgers – and even more Bourbon.

On Saturday, The Bourbon Classic takes over the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts, with a variety of classes ranging from a Bourbon, Country Ham, and Chocolate Pairing with Steve Coomes (author and cured ham aficionado) and Kelly Ramsey, chocolatier with Art Eatables, to “Getting Crafty With It,” a craft distillery panel with Master Distillers from Wilderness Trail, Castle & Key, Kentucky Peerless, and Jeptha Creed.

Intrigued yet? Get your tickets here and head to Louisville for the best of Bourbon this weekend!