Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ To Feature Exclusive Private Barrel Picks By Panel Of Legendary Hall of Fame Master Distillers

May 14, 2018

Sales From Epic Closing Event To Benefit Kentucky Charities

For Immediate Release – May 14, 2018


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the first time ever, legendary Master Distillers from the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame have banded together and hand-picked elite single barrels of Bourbon and Rye to be sold at the Kentucky Bourbon Affair closing event.

This historic charitable event – called “Angel’s Fare” – also will feature a silent auction of rare whiskies, a vintage spirit tasting and an all-star lineup of Kentucky chefs offering Bourbon-inspired culinary delights in collaboration with Kentucky Proud.

“Angel’s Fare” will be held Saturday, June 9, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Omni Hotel in downtown Louisville. Tickets are $150 each and are on sale now at


“This is an unbelievable, unprecedented, bucket-list experience that showcases the heart and soul of Kentucky Bourbon, with five of our signature industry’s most beloved icons coming together to raise money for local causes,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

“This could not happen in any other industry or any other state. More than 200 years of combined experience in crafting the world’s finest Bourbons, all recognized by their peers as the best in the business, working together in a spirit of camaraderie and compassion.”

“If you only go to one Bourbon event this year, this is it.”

The five Hall of Fame distillers are:

  • Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey (HOF Class of 2001)
  • Chris Morris, Brown-Forman (HOF Class of 2017)
  • Fred Noe, Jim Beam (HOF Class of 2013)
  • Steve Nally, Bardstown Bourbon Company (HOF Class of 2007)
  • Eddie Russell, Wild Turkey (HOF Class of 2010)

The blockbuster group came together in April for a remarkable road trip of single barrel selections at five landmark distilleries, which will be sold only at Angel’s Fare under the limited-edition label of Bourbon Affair Release (BAR) 18 – Legends’ Select Series.


For a short video of the experience, go to

At Wild Turkey, father-and-son Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell led the group throughout historic Warehouse A, built in 1894, to find the worthy 10-year-old private single barrel of their namesake Russell’s Reserve Kentucky Bourbon.

Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris, Master Taster Jackie Zycan and Old Forester CEO Campbell Brown gave the panel an in-depth education of Old Forester before they picked a special 1920 Prohibition Style barrel – the first and only single barrel of that expression.

The unique Maker’s Mark limestone cellar was the site of the Maker’s 46 selection, where staff said the Hall of Famers’ preferred recipe of finished oak staves has never been chosen before – and will not be included on the label so it remains confidential forever.

At Jim Beam, the party had a tough time picking the best of several barrels of Knob Creek Rye – a daunting task made even more difficult as each was distinctive in taste and finish despite aging in close proximity to each other.

At Willett Distillery in Bardstown, the quintet reached consensus on an exceptional Willett Family Reserve 6-year-old single barrel from March 2012, when the Willett family stored its first barrels of Bourbon in generations on the anniversary of founder Thompson Willett’s 103th birthday.

“The Angel’s Fare release is truly a historic undertaking,” said Morris, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame last year. “Never before have the Master Distillers of the Kentucky Bourbon industry tasted and selected barrels from a competitive – yet collegial – distillery before.

“While there have been projects in the past where our famous Bourbons have been batched together for special releases that raised money for charity, this is completely unprecedented. These special bottle offerings are a ‘must have’ for Bourbon aficionados and collectors. They are a true taste of history.”

KDA President Gregory said the bottles will be individually priced for sale between $100 and $200, with opportunities to purchase autographed sets. Quantities are limited, he said, noting that plans are for each year’s BAR series to be completely different.

“Get yours now because you may never see this year’s series again,” he said.

Jeeps for Joy, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families, has dedicated its resources to facilitate charitable donations from the silent auction and bottle sales.

Proceeds will benefit the organizations chosen by the distilleries that participated in the BAR 18 barrel selections: AMPED Louisville (Jefferson Co.), The Lee Initiative (Jefferson Co.), Anderson Humane Society (Anderson Co.), and Guthrie Opportunity Center (Nelson Co.).

Renowned whiskey collectors Bill Thomas and Jared Human from the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C., are organizing the vintage bottle silent auction and tasting. Both will be on-hand to talk Bourbon, pour samples and educate guests on the history and lore of these scarce offerings.

With more than 2,600 bottles in its extensive whiskey collection, Gregory said Jack Rose will bring its respected expertise to Angel’s Fare, along with rare and limited-edition selections for tasting and auction.

Award-winning chefs will include Newman Miller (Star Hill Provisions/Harrison-Smith House), Todd Stein (The Bar at Willett) and the Omni’s own Steve Gustafson. Guests will dine on Southern cuisine with farm-fresh food and ingredients provided by Kentucky Proud.

Kentucky Proud is the official state marketing program for farm products raised, grown or processed

in Kentucky by Kentuckians. It is administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and

involves more than 4,000 farmers, retailers, restaurants, school, markets and parks.

Tickets are still available to select events at this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair™, which runs from June 5-10 in Louisville, the official Host City, sponsored by the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Events include behind-the-scenes access at the world’s most iconic distilleries, nightcap events featuring top chefs, Bourbon Barons and Master Distillers, rare tastings, souvenir bottles, and much more.

Special room rates are available at the Omni by visiting the KBA guest link or calling 1-800-THE-OMNI (843-6664) and referencing the Kentucky Bourbon Affair.

“The Kentucky Bourbon Affair is truly an extraordinary showcase of the sincerity, work ethic, collaborative spirit and Southern hospitality that is unique to Kentucky’s Bourbon culture,” Gregory said.  “Angel’s Fare embodies that culture, bringing people together and serving others in need.

I can’t think of a better way to cap off a week celebrating Kentucky’s revered signature Bourbon industry.”

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For more information, contact: Mary Gratzer, Kentucky Bourbon Affair Director, at (502) 727-0008 or [email protected].

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the historic voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s timeless craft and treasured economic engine. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. The KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at and

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT™, and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please savor our Bourbon and distilled spirits like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly.

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