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Wines & Spirits How Blade and Bow Blends Tradition and Innovation An Interview with North American Whiskey Ambassador Douglas Kragel

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not to be a whiskey fan. My passion continued through working in the service industry and then within sales and distribution. I quickly discovered that what I love about this business is educating trade and consumers. I want to give some of my passion to everyone I meet.

old-medal winner at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits FWT: Please explain how Blade and Bow is such a unique piece Competition, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon of bourbon history and why paying homage to Stitzel-Weller is so Whiskey is the perfect blend of tradition, history and important. innovation. There are two variants of this new Diageo premium Kragel: Blade and Bow pays homage to the artful passion spirit: Blade and Bow and renowned craftsmanship of the legendary Kentucky Straight Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Blade and Bow is named Bourbon Whiskey and after the two parts of a skeleton key – the blade shaft Blade and Bow 22-Yearand the ornate bow handle – part of the iconic Five Old Kentucky Straight Keys symbol found throughout the legendary StitzelBourbon Whiskey. Both Weller distillery. These keys represented the five steps are produced in the Stitof crafting bourbon: grains, yeast, fermentation, zel-Weller distillery just distillation and aging. More importantly, these keys outside Louisville, Kengrew to symbolize the southern traditions of hospitucky, which was open tality, warmth and enjoying the finer things in life. To from 1935 until 1992. this day, the five keys can be found throughout the When Blade and Bow distillery. Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon took over the property, Whiskey is born from some of the oldest remainit came with a number North American whiskey ambassador, Douglas Kragel ing whiskey stocks to be distilled at Stitzel-Weller, of barrels left over from using the solera aging system to preserve the original the Stitzel-Weller days. stocks. This solera liquid is then mingled with other This is where the innovation comes in. Diageo employs a fivefine whiskeys, aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller. tiered solera aging system to ensure that an amount of bourbon from the remaining Stitzel-Weller supply is included in each new FWT: What’s your advice for the uninitiated Blade and Bow bottle. drinker? Best way to enjoy it? North American Kragel: I always say, try it neat to start. This way you can Whiskey Ambassaunderstand exactly what it tastes like. Then maybe add some dor Douglas Kragel, water; cutting down the proof will open up a whole new spectrum explains the imporof flavor in the whiskey. After that, I say drink it however you tance of honoring the like. Blade and Bow can be enjoyed in classic cocktails like the Stitzel-Weller tradiManhattan or Presbyterian. If you choose to enjoy Blade and Bow tion while providing whiskeys, please do so responsibly. These whiskeys have been premium bourbon aging for years, so be sure to enjoy them slowly. whiskey for modern palates, his passion Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, as well as for Kentucky whiskey, the 22-year-old variant, can be found in Chicago, San Francisco, and how enthusiasts New York and Louisville. (By print time, Blade and Bow should be can best enjoy Blade available in other markets but still with a limited footprint.) and Bow. FWT: What prompted your passion for whiskey? Kragel: It’s in my blood. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and when you’re from Kentucky it’s hard

Francesca Mazurkiewicz Francesca Mazurkiewicz is a Chicago-based writer and travel blogger, and working mom of two. Francesca aims to show that working parents can still enjoy what they fancy in life, even after having kids. For Francesca, it is travel—with and without her family—and premium beverages, including craft beer, bourbon, and whiskey. For a full author biography and profile please visit http://ifwtwa. org/author/fmazurkiewicz.

Blade and Bow barrels at Stitzel-Weller BLADE AND BOW KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY | STITZEL-WELLER DISTILLERY

FWT Magazine: food wine travel - Issue 3, Spring 2016  

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