Whiskey Historian: ‘Bourbon Was Born in Louisiana, Not Kentucky’
I used to believe that Bourbon Whiskey came from one place and one place only - Bourbon County, Kentucky. Why else would it be called that? It has to be that the popular (and delicious) took it's name from the place its distilled - right? Not necessarily.
According to Bourbon Historian (AKA the coolest job ever) Michael Veach, the brown elixir may be made in Kentucky, but it was the port city of New Orleans that made it famous. The tale centers around 2 brothers that immigrated to America from France.
The Tarascon brothers originally came from the Cognac area, and eventually settled near Louisville, Kentucky. They brought with them the secret of making fantastic Brandy. When the brothers made alcohol from the local ingredients and aged it in charred oak barrels, the result was a brand new whiskey the world had never seen before. They immediately started sending it to Louisiana via river boat, where it was unloaded and frequently enjoyed in the great city of New Orleans - especially on Bourbon Street.
According to Veach's research, revelers on the world famous party street started asking for the Cognac-style whiskey they serve on Bourbon Street. Over time that changed to Bourbon Street Whiskey, then Bourbon Whiskey, and eventually just Bourbon.