Now a staple on the bourbon enthusiast’s calendar, Bourbon Classic returns for its sixth year of uniting the bourbon and culinary worlds in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2018 events will take place Feburary 28 – March 3, 2018. This is an event that transcends your run-of-the-mill whiskey tasting and, whether it’s your first or fifth time, the team behind the Classic keeps this event fresh and current.
Will you have a chance to meet master distillers? Yes. Will you get to taste fantastic bourbons? Absolutely. Will you eat like a king? Definitely. Will you collect an embarrassing amount of bourbon swag? It’s likely. Will you learn about bourbon culture, from throwing a party to the origin of the single barrel? For sure. Will you meet fabulous people that will become life long bourbon buds? Probably. Will you stay too late at an after party and wish you could remember what pre-Prohibition bourbon you tasted? Maybe…
If you’re new to Bourbon Classic, it is a series of events, beginning midweek and culminating in the grand tasting
Saturday night. While most of the weeknight events are small and sell out before you can say “cheers,” tickets for the weekend are readily available through BourbonClassic.com. (Who needs another Pappy tasting with the Van Winkles anyhow?) Set your sites on VIP tickets; the lounge is always a hot spot, serving exclusive drinks and snacks, and, perhaps most importantly to us whiskey women, chairs.
The Cocktail and Culinary Challenge is an essential event to the Classic and takes place on March 2 at The Foundry at Glassworks, a new venue for this year. This Friday night event combines the best with the very best in a tasty contest where no one loses. Local bartenders and chefs pair up with a distillery, aiming to win you over with cocktails and small plates. We get all fancied up for this evening and there is an official panel of “experts” that names winners… But, let’s be honest, after conducting our own research of the nine competing distilleries, we’ll be cooling our heels in the I.W. Harper-sponsored Amber Lounge by that time.
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts will host the March 3 events. Saturday morning you have plenty of time to recover and see some of the sites in Louisville (like your bed and Wild Eggs) before Bourbon University cranks up in the afternoon. Four options are available to further your bourbon education (and buzz) at each of two sessions, with a general session in the middle. Mixologists, distillers, ambassadors, journalists, chefs, and other industry folk lead these small group discussions. Topics range from craft distilleries to vintage spirits to food pairing (think ham & cheese). The General Session is always a favorite- this year the panelists will discuss what’s trending in the bourbon world.
Finally, after all that bourbon lernin’, the tasting of all tastings begins. TASTE is a more casual event, as we’ve been sitting in classrooms all afternoon and haven’t had time to fluff our crinolines.
Twenty or fifty A whole lot of distilleries will be ready with their
representatives to chat with you about what makes their brown water distinct from the brown water next to them. You can basically experience the entire Bourbon Trail in one room, in one night, although I only recommend this plan to Level X Bourbon Classic Experts. You’ll probably find me in the Buffalo Trace VIP Lounge, seeing what Molly Wellmann is mixing up.
I’ll be there for my 4th year this year. Heading up a few days early to prime my liver. Follow my adventures on the ‘gram at @Straight_Up_615. Have questions? Ask! Most of all, get your tickets and join in the experience that is only Bourbon Classic. And PACE YOURSELF.