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The Ultimate Guide to the 2014 Bourbon Classic in Louisville

Bourbon is a barrel-aged whiskey unique to the American south. Its French name is a legacy of the time Napoleon spent in the southern USA, while its production can be traced back to the 18th century. Every year in Louisville, Kentucky, the Bourbon Classic celebrates the finest in authentic bourbons, highlighting the distilling craft and offering myriad opportunities to sip, sample, and savor 'the spirit of Kentucky'.

Master Bourbon: Guide to Workshops and Presentations

The Kentucky Center for Performing Arts plays host to educational events including panel discussions with master distillers, exhibitions and demonstrations by bourbon vendors, and the "Bourbon Classic University" for mixologists and bourbon connoisseurs to extend their skills and knowledge. On Saturday, hear the stories from the characters behind the brands, hearing how producers develop their unique blends, with ample opportunity for dialogue with bourbon experts. Other panel discussions and workshops involve examinations of the history and contemporary rise of bourbon's popularity. Going beyond the drink's hipster appeal, attendees can join with experts to explore the aging processes that contribute to the subtle varieties and flavor profiles in this complex whiskey.

Take the Cocktail Challenge

The popular Friday night highlight of the Bourbon Classic is the Cocktail Challenge. This raucous event pits teams comprised of master bartenders and celebrated chefs together to 'mix off'  against the competition. Enthusiasts can mingle with contestants and learn what goes into crafting the perfect bourbon cocktail, and how to concoct food pairings that sing. The best part, for spectators, is the tasting portions they'll get to sample, put together by participating Louisville restaurants such as Seviche, Volare, and El Camino. Meanwhile, VIPs can gather at the Amber Lounge, named for the rich ruby tones of bourbon, and meet with other connoisseurs and distillers to discuss and imbibe their favorite elixir. Offerings will include Noah's Mill and Pot Still Reserve from Willett's Distillery, presented by Hunter Chavenne, along with luminous bourbon flavors from Corsair Artisan Distillery, Heaven Hill, and Jim Beam.

Bourbon in Entertaining: Know Your Poison

For restaurateurs, foodies, and those who love to host culinary events, the Bourbon Classic affords opportunities to learn some tricks of the trade that will impress clients and guests. In a symposium called "The Bottle and the Board", participants can look forward to learning how the smoky flavors in bourbon can be paired exquisitely with cheese. Learn how to host a fun and sophisticated bourbon tasting party, with tips on stemware, pouring, and complementarity between brands. An interactive class exploring the creative, culinary side of bourbon, called The Essential Ingredient, offers insight into cooking with bourbon. This seminar teaches the ways in which bourbon can be used as a seasoning, a texturizer and a mellower for foods as various as seafood bisques, steak marinades, and cheesecakes. At all of these workshops sampling, of course, is de rigeur.

The Vital Details: When & Where to Get Your Bourbon Fix

The Bourbon Classic runs Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1, 2014. Friday night’s Cocktail Challenge starts at 7:00; with an after party from 10:00 PM to midnight. Saturday's workshops and presentations begin at 2:30 PM; tastings run from 7:30 PM to 9:30PM , and the after party runs until midnight. Get your tickets to what is billed the "Ultimate Bourbon Experience" online or through the event venue, the Kentucky Center.

Whether you're a serious connoisseur looking for rare vintages and insider information, or an enthusiast looking for taste adventures, the 2014 Bourbon Classic is sure to please. Perhaps the ultimate bourbon experience, the weekend event's tastings, cocktail contests, food pairings, workshops and classes, and opportunities to mingle with master distillers make for a unique event that is not to be missed.

About the Author:  Joe Hayden is the Team Owner and Manager of the - Your Louisville Real Estate Experts!

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