Marshall Artists Series to host bourbon tasting

Published 9:45 am Monday, April 16, 2012

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Join Kentucky native and bourbon expert, Jane Conner, to taste five bourbons and sample delicious food all while raising money for a good cause.

The Marshall Artists Series’ fundraising event will be from 7 to 8:30 pm. April 26 at Wesvanawha located at 825 Fouth Ave., Downtown Huntington. The event will feature Maker’s Mark, America’s only handmade bourbon whisky. Monies generated help support arts and educational outreach events to area students.

“Our generous patrons who support events such as The Art of Bourbon help The Marshall Artists Series succeed in its mission to deliver top quality arts and entertainment to our community” said Terry Deppner-Hardin, Marshall Artists Series advisory board chairperson.

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Seating is limited so reserve your tickets today by contacting the Marshall Artists Series at 304-696-6656. Tickets are $100 per person or $150 per couple. The cost is $750 to sponsor a table of six. A portion of the ticket cost is tax deductible.

This year The Marshall Artists Series is celebrating its 75th anniversary. More information about the show lineup can be found at

Conner, a bourbon specialist from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky., will be on hand to offer participants a unique bourbon tasting experience, guiding them through the ins and outs of the bourbon industry showing how America’s native spirit is created. This will be showcased by a rare opportunity to taste over five different ages of Maker’s Mark along with delicious food, expertly paired by 21 at The Fredrick.

Conner grew up in rural Kentucky and studied business tourism at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. For Conner, what began as a hobby over time matured into a passion for America’s native spirit.

In 2007, Conner was hired by the Maker’s Mark Distillery. Earlier this year, Conner returned to bourbon’s Mecca to work under Rob Samuels and join the Heritage Team at Maker’s Mark to continue spreading the magic of America’s native spirit.

Bourbon is said to have been first created “out of luck and necessity.”

In order to develop Kentucky in the 1770s, the ‘Corn Patch and Cabin Rights’ law was passed, it encouraged settlers to plant a corn patch and build a cabin in order to lay claim to 400 acres of land.

Corn is a bulky produce and due to the government incentives to plant corn from the newly passed law, there was plenty of excess produce… excess produce that the Scottish, Irish and German immigrants knew could be distilled into whisky.

Kentucky turned into an ideal place to produce whisky due to its plentiful supply of both corn, and water – a large part of the distillation process. Kentucky was blessed with an iron-free water supply that was filtered through limestone soils. Water with high iron content would have had the unfortunate result of turning the whisky.

In 1959, Maker’s Mark produced the first premium bottle of Bourbon. It was Bill Samuel’s wife who first hand dipped the whisky bottle in hot red wax, a practice which is still done by hand today.

The tasting will consist of different varieties of Maker’s Mark including:

WHITE DOG: The white dog is the newly distilled spirit, so called because ‘it is white and will bite you like a dog’. It has been described as smelling like corn and freshly baked bread. On the palate it is earthy and a little chewy, almost nutty. It is said to have that ‘Bourbon Bite’.

UNDER-MATURE: This is the same bourbon (white dog) after it has spent a year in barrel, it has gained some color and is now a medium brown hue. It smells like caramel along with hints of vanilla and honey. The taste moves forward on the tongue, but can still be a little harsh on the throat.

MAKER’S MARK: Aged for 6 years and 3 months on average, it is richer than the previous bourbons with deep flavors of vanilla. It smells like a Crème Brulé with cream, toffee and caramel. It is smooth and full flavored with a round creamy flavor and long lingering finish.

OVER MATURE: (10 years old) Over Mature has intense scents of bags of caramel, wood and dried fruit. But on the palate it is not balanced, the wood has taken over and it is bitter, flat and hits the back of the throat.

MAKER’S 46: The nose is strong with maple syrup, that dissipates to a more familiar corn Bourbon nose. The palate is rich and savory with plenty of oak. The additional oak notes make it thicker, chewier and more complex than the standard Maker’s, but still with noticeable wheat notes lasting into a very pleasant finish.