New Orleans Bourbon Festival 2018: That’s A Wrap!

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.

All Our Kings Smash is a collaboration between Drew Estate and Caldwell. It was a hit at the festival. Special thanks to Don Juan Cigars!

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!

Fred Minnick needs help deciding whether he likes bourbon or rum better.
Michael Veach talks bottled-in-bond to a packed room.
Bernie Lubbers warms up for his Bourbon Through Bluegrass performance.
Rob Samuels talks Maker’s Mark generations.
Whisky Chicks’ Founder Linda Ruffenach talks home handcrafted cocktails.
Bobby Gleason talks cocktails and Jim Beam.
Susan Reigler lectures on the biology behind the bourbon.
Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott talking bourbon with attendees.
Wild Turkey’s Eddie Russell takes a moment to chat with Bourbon Historian Michael Veach.
Steve Fante representing Limestone Branch.
From the National WWII Museum in NOLA.
In the still room at Lula Distillery and Restaurant.
The St. Charles Streetcar.
Crescent City Cigar, the best cigar shop in the French Quarter hands down.

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

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