Beginner Bourbon Series: Bourbon Bookshelf – Books for the Bourbon Reader

Beginner Bourbon Series: Bourbon Bookshelf

Books for the Bourbon Reader

Welcome back Bourbon Lodgers. We have some new material for you this week in our Beginner Bourbon series. If you are new to this bourbon journey, or are an experienced trailblazer in your own right, we have some must have reads that would be a welcome addition to any bourbon drinkers bookshelf.

I’m sure I can’t speak for all of our readers, but at my house I love to have one or two go-to books on my bookshelf for my various hobbies and interests. Why is that? For me it is easy. I love learning new things and expanding my knowledge, and I also love sharing that knowledge with other people who are interested. When I have a burning interest in something, such as bourbon, I like to have a reference to look back on. I also like to have that reference on hand to share or suggest with others if they are over and get the bourbon bug, and want to start down their own bourbon learning journey as well.

I also want to share the right information as well. Unfortunately as with many things, there can be a lot of misinformation out there on bourbon present and bourbon past. While Bourbon is a delicious and complex drink, it also has a pretty extensive and complex history. We’ve all heard the one that bourbon has to be made in Kentucky (while this is a common belief, it is undoubtedly wrong), and usually by someone who is so confident about their misinformation they are willing to argue and even throw down with blatantly wrong information. We don’t want to be that person.  I want to do all I can to help spread the right information as I grow and share my bourbon experiences, and I want you all to do the same.

So lets get into two books that in my opinion you need to have as you learn about bourbon yourself, but also hopefully share your love for bourbon with others as well.

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage by Michael R. Veach

Where do we start with this book? If you are a history buff or just interested in all things bourbon/bourbon history this is definitely the book for you. This book has an absolute wealth of information of all things bourbon, and its wild journey through our history. How the making of bourbon was refined and became the truly “American” spirit is such an interesting story for anyone who wants to learn about it. Michael Veach, envied as one of the luckiest history students at the University of Louisville was able to take an internship while attending school as an archivist for United Distillers in 1991. His experience there has shaped his knowledge and made him on of the most respected bourbon historians in the industry. This book gives us his inside take and wealth of information he has gathered after many years in the bourbon industry and as a bourbon insider and puts it in a great, easy to read format for our reading pleasure.

It might be argued by some that this is probably a more advanced book than should be included in a beginner series, but it is too good to pass up. It is a welcome addition to any serious bourbon drinkers bookshelf, in addition to being a great conversation piece for guests who might be interested but not well versed in bourbon history. Plus I’m sure even the biggest bourbon fan or historian would learn more than they could imagine from this informative of a book.

Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker by Fred Minnick

Bourbon Curious is another must have, and probably less overwhelming to fans than our previous book. It is definitely the easier read of the two and touches on many useful subjects. If you are a new bourbon drinker or beginning your bourbon journey I think you will get more than your moneys worth out of this book. I consider this the Beginner Bourbon Blueprint. It briefly touches on the history (but not nearly as in depth as our previous book), and covers all the bourbon basics walking you through the bourbon making process.

Where this book excels though in my opinion is helping educate new bourbon drinkers on the complex flavor profiles a glass of bourbon can provide, and how to best drink your bourbon to experience these flavors. Minnick has a whole chapter on How to Taste Bourbon which is a must read for new bourbon drinkers. He also groups several well known Bourbons into flavor categories so you can see what flavors you are drawn to and experience similar bourbons from the same flavor categories. Fred Minnick is more than just an author though, he regularly judges bourbon competitions and shares his tasting expertise in the form of critiques. His insight and tips into how to get the most out of your bourbon tasting experience are a must read, especially for beginning bourbon drinkers.

Pro-tip: These books are often available at your local library for you to check out at no cost to you! Being from Kentucky I’ve found that most libraries in this state usually have a very informative bourbon section. Bourbon is kind of big here in Kentucky, who’d of thought that? I do strongly believe after you dive into either of these books you will want to make them a permanent addition to your bourbon library if you truly are interested in bourbon. But feel free to check them out at your library (many libraries have e-copies of these and similar books to read on your kindle or computer as well) to see if they are up your alley.

Keep checking back as we continue to move forward in our Beginning Bourbon series. If there is anything you want to share (or want us to share) drop us a comment below to share your thoughts, or drop us a line through our contact us page. Cheers!

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