If terroir is defined as the influence of place on taste, just how significant is the KY terroir on the great taste of bourbon? The distillery tour guides always point to the wonderful limestone springs (or the Kentucky River) that yield iron-free water. And the marvelous KY climate that has just enough hot and cold to drive the whiskey in and out of the barrels. And even to the locally grown corn that has those nice, long dents that, somehow or other, are superior to all the other corn in the known universe.
Still (so to speak), we know that before 1792 (or whenever) Americans were making whiskey all over the place. G. Washington even had to go put down a rebellion in PA because the distillers didn't like the tax. (Just picture that happening today.) G. himself made whiskey at Mt. Vernon.
Today, bourbon is made in IN, CO, and TX and Lord knows where else. (I don't know how to count bourbon distilled at BT and supposedly distilled again and aged in VA.) Seems like the Old Boys would have made whiskey no matter where they settled but, by fortunate happenstance, they settled in KY. The water is pretty good in Tennessee but their whisk(e)y ain't quite exactly bourbon. Why aren't we drinking Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey? There's an awful lot of corn in I-o-way.
So, the question for SBers is, do you think there is really something terrific about KY or do we just love KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey because we are slaves to tradition?