kernel: Town Branch Bourbon a Dandy Nightcap

Town Branch Bourbon
Town Branch Bourbon (neat)
It is undisputed that Kentucky's signature is bourbon. But Kentucky's signature city, Lexington, hasn't produced any bourbon since 1958 when the James E. Pepper distillery closed.

That all changed last month. On October 20, Lyons' Spirits - a subsidiary of Alltech - launched its Town Branch Bourbon just before the National Horse Show arrived in Lexington.

Town Branch, of course, is a reference to the stream which flows underneath downtown Lexington. As the middle fork of the Elkhorn Creek, it is what attracted settlers to Lexington. In 1779, Colonel Robert Patterson led a group of settlers in the establishment of the blockhouse for what would become Lexington. The blockhouse was in fact quite close to that middle fork of the Elkhorn.

The following year, 1780, James Pepper began distillery operations in Lexington using water harnessed from the Town Branch itself. The city of Lexington grew on the axis created by the Town Branch - it is a central part of our community. Even the label of the bourbon bearing its name illustrates a map of downtown Lexington with a blue line tracing the path of the waterway.

Today, an effort is underway to return the Town Branch to its place of import. Uncovering parts of the stream in parklike settings with trails is underway and business efforts like the Town Branch Market and the newly drinkable Town Branch Bourbon bring attention to the cause.

As for drinking Town Branch Bourbon, I've given Town Branch a few tastes over a few nights to gauge how it really touches my palate. It can be a bit peppery, but it is rather smooth -- it almost seems somewhat underaged, which could be the result of its lower-than-usual proof. Still it is enjoyable both neat and on ice, though I've yet to mix it with an Ale-8. At a price point of about $22, it is a great purchase.