The Origins and Evolution of Kentucky Bourbon

Ryan Kerr from Townsends explains the origins of Kentucky bourbon whiskey, why its production is centered in Kentucky, the cultural ownership of bourbon, and how the spirit evolved from its original clear to the iconic caramel color of modern times.

We understand today that there is a difference between bourbon and whiskey we don’t always know what it is, but we understand culturally that there is a distinction. …

He does, however, dispel certain myths about bourbon despite local pride.

There are a lot of really strong feelings   about bourbon versus what people call Tennessee  whiskey. …They’re making a clear distinction that there’s something special about their Kentucky bourbon. …In fact you’ll even hear that  for a bourbon to be a bourbon it has to be made in Kentucky which is not true and it never has been  but that is part of their heritage they’re proud of that. 

Origins of Bourbon

Kerr also explained what bourbon was like and how it was served in the 18th Century.

When we taste a white whiskey like this. Now it can leave a little bit to be desired. We’re used to bourbons that have been aged in these white oak barrels for several years and they’re more rounded. …but it’s still it’s still good. It’s fine. What was really popular in the time period was to make  it brandy or a rum punch and you start to see whiskey coming in as the alcohol in those punches

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.