Gain a New Level of Whiskey Street Cred at the Filson Bourbon Academy - The Whiskey Wash

Gain a New Level of Whiskey Street Cred at the Filson Bourbon Academy

By Maggie Kimberl / February 16, 2016

So you say you’re a bourbon geek, but you haven’t yet graduated from the Filson Bourbon Academy?  There’s really no better way to improve your whiskey street cred than to hang your newly minted Bourbon Academy diploma on the wall.  Fortunately the twice-a-year program is being taught again on March 5th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bourbons Bistro in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Filson Bourbon Academy is a day-long course taught by Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer Michael Veach.  There are course materials, multiple rounds of whiskey tastings, and question and answer sessions.  Topics are broken down into hour-long sessions covering an amazing range of topics, including the history of the origin of the word “bourbon,” how to taste bourbon, how farmer-distillers evolved to a business model, bottled in bond,Prohibition, and a blind tasting.

Filson Bourbon Academy

Filson Bourbon Academy (image via Maggie Kimberl)

A great place to start if you plan to attend is with Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.  While there is a booklet used for the class, this book is basically the class textbook.  Reading it ahead of time will give you a more solid foundation from which to understand the lessons.  You will also be better able to ask informed questions throughout the day if you read the book ahead of time.

The Filson Bourbon Academy is offered twice a year in Louisville, but it has been offered in many other cities as well.  If you are part of a whiskey club or organization or want training for your business’ staff, Michael Veach will travel for teaching purposes.  Otherwise, there are always groups and individuals from out-of-town on the class roster.  It’s well worth the travel.

About the author

Maggie Kimberl

One night during Derby week, I was working in the liquor store while Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge was doing a tasting. I kept trying to make my way over to talk to him, but we were super busy (did I mention it was Derby week?) and I didn't make it in time. Dejected, I went back to the break room and started eating my lunch. The next thing I knew, Rutledge came through the door, saying, "You didn't get to do my tasting!" He sat down and explained how to taste bourbon, the ten recipes of Four Roses, and how it was different than other distilleries. I had liked bourbon before that point, but Jim Rutledge made me care about it. That's the beautiful thing about the bourbon industry- the people love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Now here we are. :)