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  1. #1
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    What\'s in your bourbon library?

    For me over the last several years bourbon and Tennessee whiskey has evolved from a drink that you drank from a shot glass with a cold beer into a real hobby. In addition to the characteristics of the drink itself, bourbon brings with it a long and interesting history. From an enthusiast’s standpoint I find I enjoy learning as much as possible about the history and craft of producing bourbon. In the endeavor, I have accumulated a number of books on this subject, which I sometimes refer to as my bourbon library. Here is what I could find at the moment:

    Books by people in the industry:

    “But Always Fine Bourbon – Pappy Van Winkle and the story of Old Fitzgerald” by Sally Van Winkle Campbell [1999, Limestone Lane Press] (signed by Sally Van Winkle Campbell and Julian P. Van Winkle III)

    “Maker’s Mark My AUTOBIOGRAPHY” by Bill Samuels, Jr. [2000, Saber Publishing] (signed by Bill Samuels, Jr.)

    “The Evolution of the BOURBON Whiskey Industry In Kentucky” by Sam K. Cecil [1999,2000, Turner Publishing Company] (signed by Sam K. Cecil)


    Books that evaluate and rank the different bourbons:

    “The Bourbon Companion – A Connoisseur’s Guide” by Gary and Mardee Haiden Regan. [1998, Running Press Book Publishers]

    “Classic BOURBON Tennessee & Rye Whiskey” by Jim Murray [1998, Prion Books Limited]

    “The Complete Guide to Whiskey – Selecting, Comparing, and Drinking the World’s Great Whiskeys” by Jim Murray [1997, Carlton Books]

    “The Classic WHISKEY HANDBOOK – An essential Companion to the World’s Finest Whiskies” by Ian Wisniewski [1998, Anness Publishing Limited]


    Books on general bourbon history:

    “The Social History of Bourbon – An Unhurried Account of Our Star-Spangled American Drink” by Gerald Carson [1963, Dodd, Mead & Company]

    “The Spirit of Old Kentucky” by James Boone Wilson [1945, Glenmore Distilleries Company, Incorporated]


    Other:

    “Made & Bottles in Kentucky – The Story of Bourbon Whiskey” documentary film by Charles K. Cowdery [1992, Charles Kendrick Cowdery] (in DVD format)


    So what’s in your bourbon library? Any books that you would recommend?

    Thanks, Todd


  2. #2
    Guru
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    The only book I have about bourbon is:

    “But Always Fine Bourbon – Pappy Van Winkle and the story of Old Fitzgerald” by Sally Van Winkle Campbell [1999, Limestone Lane Press] (signed by Sally Van Winkle Campbell and Julian P. Van Winkle III)


  3. #3
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    I enjoyed a novel by Irvin S. Cobb, titled Red Likker. It's old-fashioned in that it has a distinct plot and the characters stand for something. The main character is a distiller, and much of the plot involves real events connected to the bourbon industry.

    It has probably been out of print for decades. However, I got lucky and found an ex-library copy at one of the hundreds of used-book stores present on the Web.

    I also have Harry Kroll's Bluegrass, Belles, and Bourbon, but I haven't read it yet. (Sally Van Winkle Cambell speaks well of it.)

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    I also have Harry Kroll's Bluegrass, Belles, and Bourbon, but I haven't read it yet.
    Read it first, I think anything written after it has a line or 2 that they lift, sometimes in quotation marks sometimes not and almost never acknowledged.
    Mine are ,

    Whiskey,An American Pictorial History, Oscar Getz. A little long, a little dull, but good enough for others to lift illustrations and pictures from.

    Bluegrass Belles and Bourbon, Harry Harrison Kroll. Kroll was a University of Tenn. Professor who authored many books. Unfortunately he died 6 months before this book came out in 1967. A part of Page 180 of F Paul Pacults American Still Life bears an uncanny resemblence to part of page 63 of Bluegrass Belles and Bourbon. Filled with errors and a few things left out , it still is a must read for any serious Bourbon student. Most likely the most entertaining of any bourbon book.

    Nothing Better In The Market. The Brown-Forman story by John Ed Pearce a Courier Journal/Louisville Times writer( Did he get a Pulitzer?) Instead of, " Lets get a PR firm to write and we'll sign it", Written by a pro and he appears to have been free to write it as he wished.

    The Evolution of the Bourbon Industry in Kentucky, Sam K. Cecil Signed copy Best Wishes Bobby Cox, Sam K Cecil 9/15/2001.
    Bitch about the nonexistant index in the first edition, Complain about Mr. Coyte. Sam is a virtual walking history of Bourbon. A True Ky Gentleman!

    But Always Fine Bourbon, Sally VanWinkle Campbell. Signed copy , also has embossed seal from WL Weller Co. This is a favorite, a Christmas gift to myself, It will always beg for a foot of snow outside, a tall pour of a VanWinkle Bourbon, and Country Ham and homemade biscuits, if not to reread it at least to flip thru all the great photos!

    American Still Life, F. Paul Pacult The Jim Beam Story. I like this book . I hope to get it autographed soon, no one signs it before Booker.

    The Bourbon Book by the Regans is in our Public Library and I have checked it out more than once. Also The Maker's book is in the Nelson Co. Library.


  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    I can only add one book, or a portion thereof, to the impressive range given: Michael Jackson's "World Guide To Whiskey", published in 1988. It was published by Running Book Press and was on bookstore shelves until recently, a testament to its value and fine writing. The book covers whisky in general but with substantial chapters on bourbon and rye whiskey as well as American whiskey in general (the latter is entitled, "The Pedigree of American Whiskey"). Jackson has a real feel for the subject and, as in most of his books, the photos accompanying the text are excellent. While some of the commercial information is out of date, he offers much still-essential historical, production and cultural information. There is a valuable separate chapter on the now-closed Michter's of Pennsylvania. The rest of the book is on Scotch, Irish and Canadian whiskies, all of absorbing interest. I am sure that through Amazon.com copies are still available for purchase. In recent years, Michael has concentrated more on single malt whisky. His well-known handbook-style guide to single malts will soon be released in a new edition.

    Gary

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    >So what’s in your bourbon library? Any books that you would recommend?

    For another take on early history, I'd recommend:
    "Mountain spirits: a chronicle of corn whiskey from King James' Ulster
    plantation to America's Appalachians and the moonshine life"
    by Joesph Earl Dabney.

    It's somewhat similar to Carson's "Social History".


    For the more technically minded, "The Science and Technology of Whiskies",
    by Piggot et. al. is considered the best literature review of research
    in the area of whiskies in general. It covers both British and American
    whiskies, but is a bit more heavily weighted towards the British. Rather
    scientific, and not for the casual reader. Also, it's out of print and
    really hard to get ahold of.

    There's a new book called "Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing"
    by Russell that I have ordered but have not yet recieved. It's supposed
    to be similar to Piggott's book. I've heard it's also not for the casual
    reader, and at $80-$120, it's not cheap either.

    My interest in American Whiskies in general also extends to moonshine, although
    such discussion isn't so popular on StraightBourbon. (My tasting notes
    on modern, legal, moonshine-inspired whiskies get unceremoniously bumped
    to the "Off Topic" section.) There are a handfull of books on moonshine
    history, culture, technique, etc. out there for those interested.

    Tim Dellinger

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    My bourbon library is meager at best but here it is (I believe a couple of these have been mentioned already):

    1) "The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskeys" by Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan.

    I cut my teeth on this one. A well-rounded book. A little history, tasting notes, distillery facts and whiskey primer rolled into one. I'm not sure if any further editions have been printed since I bought my copy but the copyright for this one is 1995.

    2) "The Lore of Still Building (A primer on the production of alcohol for food and fuel)" by Kathleen Howard and Norman Gibat. (6th printing, 1991)

    The cover and page art is somewhat cartoonish but the content is quite informative. Topics include the fundamentals of alcohol, still hardware, gasohol and ethanol, basic mash and methods. Good charts, tables and guides toward the end of the book including a chart on alcohol dilution so that you can accurately cut your liquor to the desired strength.

    3) "Jack Daniel's Legacy" by Ben A. Green (1967)

    Doh!! Yes, I know, but I live down the road from JD, and am proud of the people, distillery and whiskey no matter what my neighbors to the north may say, so humor me! This book provides many details of Jack Daniel's and Lem Motlow's lives and how the JD legacy grew and took shape in the early days. If you've been to the square in Lynchburg, you'll see this book growing on the trees. Easy to come by...

    4) "The World Guide to Whisky" by Michael Jackson.

    Gillman has already mentioned this one and I agree with him that this is a great book. It's slightly dated but the general information, photographs and Jackson's style are all excellent.

    One of my favorite quotes from this book:
    "It is strange that there are people who do not like s****h, but such timid souls do haunt this earth."

    Of course such a statement may raise a few eyebrows here but I like to think that you can insert "bourbon" or "rye" into that statement and achieve some measure of smugness. After all, Jackson says that "....whisky of either spelling is a pleasure meant for men and women who enjoy drink, and probably food. It is not suitable for people who are afraid of their own shadow."

    One book that I don't have but would love to get is "But Always Fine Bourbon". I had a chance to grab up a copy 2 years ago in Bardstown but, like an idiot, I passed it up. Since then, I've heard nothing but good things about it.

    -Troy

  8. #8
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    One book from my library, although not completely concerned with Bourbon, is as follows:

    "Whisk(e)y", Stefan Gabányi, illustrated by Günter Mattei, Abbeville Press Publishers, 1997.

    This is an A to Z compendium of all things whisk(e)y, and it does a fine job of it. Originally written in German, this edition is translated into english.

    Of special importance only to myself is a note on the inside cover, written by a very good friend... "To my good friend Dave, Happy Birthday and a toast to a life infused with good cheer!"

    I believe this book was recently also available at Restoration Hardware, of all places. But highly recommended.


  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    Todd,
    My library is too large to list in detail. I have most of the books that have been listed, A 2 drawer file cabinet filled with photocopies of articles, trade journals and Bourbon Country Readers (something that should be in everyones library) and photocopies of about a dozen old trade refrence books dating back to the late 1800's.

    If you are asking me what should be in your library to be a well informed drinker, then I would say you have made a good start. I would suggest that beside the bourbon books, you add a good book or two on scotch whisky and its history. There are some interesting parallels in the scotch industry and the bourbon industry. In the early 20th century when we were defining "what is whiskey" and came down heavy on the side of straight whiskey over blends, the same issue was being argued on the other side of the pond and came down heavy in favor of the blends. There is also an excellent book on Canadian whisky by Brown, I believe, that was written in the 1990's by the Canadian distilling lobby. It gives some interesting points of view to some of the issues such as prohibition.

    If you ever want a suggestion, just drop me a line.

    Mike Veach

  10. #10
    Taster
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    Re: What\'s in your bourbon library?

    While enjoying a Sunday afternoon with some Elijah Craig 12 year and reading Michael Jackson’s new book I thought I would update the contents of my “bourbon library” that has evolved since I first posted it August of 2003 and updated it in October of 2004. Since my last update I have had three main additions Jim Murray’s “Jim Murray’s WHISKEY BIBLE 2005” (wouldn’t this be the dream job), Michael Jackson’s “Whiskey – The Definitive World Guide” (a very informative, enjoyable book with stunning photographs), and Oscar Getz’s “Whiskey – An American Pictorial History” (a Bardstown fixture). Note that both books from Jim Murray and Michael Jackson incorporate all types of whiskeys while Oscar Getz discusses the history of whiskey in America.

    Reading and learning about bourbon, its industry, its history, and maybe must fascinating its people continue to bring interest and enjoyment to me.

    Any other ideas of books I should look out for in 2006 for my bourbon library?

    Thanks, Todd


    Here is my current Bourbon Library:


    Books by people in the industry or report on the industry:

    “The Evolution of the BOURBON Whiskey Industry In Kentucky” by Sam K. Cecil [1999,2000, Turner Publishing Company] (signed by Sam K. Cecil)

    “Bourbon, Straight – The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey” by Charles K. Cowdery. [2004, Charles K. Cowdery] (signed by Charles K. Cowdery)

    “Whiskey – An American Pictorial History” by Oscar Getz [1978, Oscar Getz]

    “WHISKEY – The Definitive World Guide” by Michael Jackson [2005, Dorling Kindersley Limited]

    “American Still Life – The Jim Beam Story and the Making of the World’s #1 Bourbon” by F. Paul Pacult. [2003, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.]

    “Maker’s Mark My AUTOBIOGRAPHY” by Bill Samuels, Jr. [2000, Saber Publishing] (signed by Bill Samuels, Jr.)

    “But Always Fine Bourbon – Pappy Van Winkle and the story of Old Fitzgerald” by Sally Van Winkle Campbell [1999, Limestone Lane Press] (signed by Sally Van Winkle Campbell and Julian P. Van Winkle III)


    Books that evaluate and rank the different bourbons:

    “The Complete Guide to Whiskey – Selecting, Comparing, and Drinking the World’s Great Whiskeys” by Jim Murray [1997, Carlton Books]

    “Classic BOURBON Tennessee & Rye Whiskey” by Jim Murray [1998, Prion Books Limited]

    “Jim Murray’s WHISKEY BIBLE 2005” by Jim Murray [2004, Carlton Books]

    “The Classic WHISKEY HANDBOOK – An essential Companion to the World’s Finest Whiskies” by Ian Wisniewski [1998, Anness Publishing Limited]

    ”The Book of Bourbon And Other Fine American Whiskeys” by Gary and Mardee Regan. [1995, Chapters Publishing Ltd.] (signed by Gary and Mardee Regan)

    “The Bourbon Companion – A Connoisseur’s Guide” by Gary and Mardee Haiden Regan. [1998, Running Press Book Publishers]


    Books on general bourbon history:

    “The Social History of Bourbon – An Unhurried Account of Our Star-Spangled American Drink” by Gerald Carson [1963, Dodd, Mead & Company]

    “The Spirit of Old Kentucky” by James Boone Wilson [1945, Glenmore Distilleries Company, Incorporated]


    Other:

    “Made & Bottles in Kentucky – The Story of Bourbon Whiskey” documentary film by Charles K. Cowdery [1992, Charles Kendrick Cowdery] (in DVD format)

    “Someday These Barrels Will Be Old Enough To Enjoy” promotional DVD by Maker’s Mark Distillery [1995, Maker’s Mark Distillery]

    In addition to these but not listed would be various magazine articles and newsletters obtained over the years.

 

 

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