Bourbon Gives Back at Taste of the Decades

Story Will Gray
Photos Kelly Grubb

Tousey House Tavern hosts Bourbon greats and VIPs at charity dinner to benefit The Dragonfly Foundation

On October 26th 2017, Brad Wainscott of The Tousey House Tavern hosted Taste of the Decades, a VIP Bourbon tasting, dinner, and auction. This fundraiser was held in support of The Dragonfly Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping young cancer patients and their families find strength. The Dragonfly Foundation provides distractions from the emotional, physical, and financial toll of cancer and bone marrow transplants as well as the post-traumatic stress associated with the trauma of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Mr. Julian Van Winkle III leads a rare bourbon tasting at the event.

The evening began with a VIP tasting, where Bourbon experts Julian Van Winkle III of Pappy Van Winkle, Dixon Dedman of Kentucky Owl, and Byron Banks of Four Roses spoke to guests about the subtle differences that go into making each of their iconic brands and expressions. The once in a lifetime flight of nine Bourbons began with a set of five presented by Julian Van Winkle – 1977 Old Weller Antique, 1984 “Red Wax” Van Winkle Family Reserve, 1992 Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond, 2009 Pappy Van Winkle 15yr, and 2017 Old Rip Van Winkle 25yr. The next two, Kentucky Owl Batch #7 and Kentucky Owl Rye, were presented by Dixon Dedman. Bryon Banks presented the final duo, Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Small Batch Bourbon and Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon. All these rare Bourbons were provided by private collectors or Tousey House Tavern.

“[This was] by far the best Bourbon tasting I have ever done. That tops the list for sure… pretty generous of them to donate all of that for the event,” said Mr. Van Winkle of the rare pours.

The evening continued to the main event – live and silent auctions, dinner, and of course, more Bourbon provided by the Tousey House and The Greyhound Tavern. Some of the featured luxury items for the live auction included a Henry 22 Golden Boy Rifle, Remington 1100 Trapmaster, an Old Weller Antique Barrel with Bottle from the Barrel, a Private Tasting at Beaumont Inn with Dixon Deadman, a Private Tour of Castle and Key Distillery with MariAnne Barnes, University of Cincinnati Suite Tickets, and a Weekend Getaway at the Biltmore.

Dedman, proprietor of Beaumont Inn, brought more than Bourbon to the event. “I am truly honored to be part of something like this. I can’t wrap my mind around it, this was a whole different experience being part of something that raised money for such a worthy cause,” he said of the night. After hearing the stories about the children and families helped by The Dragonfly Project, he also donated a night at the Beaumont Inn as part of the auction.

The samplings of Bourbon provided by the Tousey House included an Old Weller Antique Cork n Bottle Pick, Weller 12yr, Kentucky Owl Batch #7, Four Roses Al Young Edition, Willett 9yr Rye, and a Willet 13yr Bourbon. The Greyhound Tavern provided Buffalo Trace Experimental 6 Grain, 1792 Full Proof Cork n Barrel Pick, 1792 225th Anniversary, Buffalo Trace Tousey House Pick, Four Roses Private Picks, and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

Bill Whitlow of Rich’s Proper Food and Drink in Covington, KY poured drinks while guests dined on Southern fare of fried chicken, ham sliced off the bone, potato pancakes with pimento cheese, bacon wrapped goodies, and more. “Tousey House and The Dragonfly Foundation put on an amazing event, even more amazing considering this was just the first year. The amount of money they were able to raise and the massive involvement they were able to gather both locally and regionally is astounding. I can’t wait to be involved, either as a volunteer or as an attendee next year,” said Whitlow.

By the end of the night, the fundraiser raised $25,000.00 for the Dragonfly Foundation. Taste of the Decades was a wonderful evening that not only brought together some of the finest and most knowledgeable Bourbon aficionados around, but also helped in the fight against childhood cancer. Julian Van Winkle said it best, “It’s a no brainer for us to be involved with something like this. You can’t beat that in terms of helping a children’s foundation like this.”

Want to learn more about The Dragonfly Foundation? Visit them at or join them at one of their upcoming events.


Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.