It’s always exciting being involved in major whiskey events, especially when you get to see them grow and change from year to year. I was a speaker at the inaugural New Orleans Bourbon Festival last year and I was invited back again this year to speak again. This festival was very well put together – a lot of thought and research went into its design, and it shows in the end product. But what makes me the happiest about this festival is the eagerness of attendees to get a serious bourbon education.
I’ve heard from several folks who were unsure about the idea of a bourbon festival in New Orleans. It makes perfect sense to me, and in fact Michael Veach teaches a seminar at the event all about the connections between New Orleans and the Kentucky Bourbon industry, including his theory that bourbon was originally put into a new charred oak container with the express purpose of marketing it to the folks on Bourbon Street who were already drinking aged French Brandy. Even the boats that were used to transport goods from Kentucky to New Orleans hundreds of years ago were disassembled once they got there and turned into shotgun houses. New Orleans is Louisville’s sister city in spirits and more.
I taught my bourbon and cigar pairing seminars again this year and people were unbelievably excited about them. There are lots of misconceptions out there about pairing bourbon and cigars and so many people reflected that it was an eye opening experience for them. What’s more, one of my classes was all women with one man. That’s a major shift and the premium cigar industry needs to take note.
If you haven’t heard of or attended the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, make sure it gets on your radar for next year. New Orleans is a crazy fun town with a lot of history, and the festival organizers are doing one heck of a job making sure everyone has a great time.
Here are some of the scenes from New Orleans and the festival. Enjoy!
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl