It's a golden era for Kentucky's signature spirit. Bourbon has never been more popular in the U.S. or throughout the world. Bourbon's colorful history is shrouded in mystery, with a lot of tall tales and legends popping up throughout the years.
Michael Veach put bourbon under the microscope and put his skills as an historian to work in his new book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage. Veach is the associate curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville.
He spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis about how the term "bourbon" first became applied to Kentucky whiskey, where the idea of charring barrels came from, and who we should thank for the current popularity of bourbon:
There are a lot of legends surrounding bourbon that you have to debunk as an historian looking into the origins of Kentucky’s famous whiskey. One of those legends is that bourbon is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. What did you find out?
“You know, I would love to have been able to prove that bourbon was named after Bourbon County, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized I just couldn’t do that.”