Kentucky Tavern Bourbon Ad Circa 1949


It’s time to start featuring some holiday themed bourbon ads from the vintage archives. Let’s kick things off with this classic from Kentucky Tavern bourbon. They didn’t just offer one holiday package but a total of 3 festive gift options.  I think the Yule Log is cool but nothing beats a mailbox with two bottles of bourbon in it.  So to the modern distilleries, if you’re listening, let’s come up with some clever holiday packing options and skip the cheap glasses that you’ve been putting into “gift packs” the last couple of decades.


Kentucky Tavern Bourbon Ad Circa 1949 Image




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5 Things NOT to do at a Whiskey Festival

Whiskey festivals are amazing. A whole room full of every kind of whiskey under the sun along with whiskey lovers to talk about it, mixologists mixing cocktails with it, and food made with it. I am sure you don’t need any more convincing that this is a great idea. Before November 23, 2013 I’d never been to a whiskey festival and I was dancing with anticipation of the event. And as it turned out, I ended up making every embarrassing rookie mistake that can be made. But I am here to tell you about them so that you don’t have to make those same mistakes. 

I had been looking forward to Whiskey in the Winter 2013 ever since I realized that it fell on my birthday weekend. What better way to celebrate the gift of life than with over 200 whiskeys, cocktails, food, and seminars? I’d been to beer festivals before but never a whiskey festival. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it was going to be good. And it was really, really good. But it could have been epic if I had just avoided a few of these simple mistakes.

Five Things Not to Do at a Whiskey Festival

1Hey, you are on vacation. Why not hit the bars hard the night before the festival? And while you are at it spend the day running around the city and hit a brewery or two? 
The day before Whiskey in the Winter was my birthday. I was in a new city with three of the most fun people I know. I had to celebrate. So after the nice lady at the club level of the Hilton got me started out with a complementary tumbler full of Jack Daniels we hit a few bars pretty hard. Then we woke up the next morning early for bloody marys and a trip to the City Museum. Then a stop at Alpha Brewing Company followed by alcoholic milkshakes at Bailey’s Range. Then a nice manhattan with Pops before hitting Blood and Sand for cocktails there before the festival. The moral of this story is that St. Louis is an amazingly fun city but next year I will get a good night’s sleep the night before and save my heavy drinking for the festival. Continue Reading →

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Last Minute Deals on Bourbon Gifts

The holidays are upon us and for many time is running out to find that perfect gift for the bourbon lover in their life. We know how hard it can be to shop for people like us. Many folks don’t want to buy another bottle of bourbon knowing that they might make a critical purchasing error and give something that’s considered cheap or unpleasant. And let’s face it. It’s not like you can walk into a Marshall’s and find bourbon-themed products staring back at you saying “pick me”. (I’m choosing to ignore Marshall’s need to push cocktail shakes, cheap rock glasses and inferior barware on the world.)

So to help out with your last minute bourbon gift giving needs we’re offering up some last minute discounts on some of our Bourbon & Banter products. Each of these discounts is for a limited time so make sure you act fast to secure your savings while ensuring that your loved ones will receive a gift they truly enjoy this holiday season.

Bourbon-Wall-Calendar-300x2502014 Bourbon Wall Calendar

Regularly $19.99 our 2014 Bourbon Wall Calendar is now on sale for 10% off ($17.99) over on Click here to buy a few calendars as extra stocking stuffers for the bourbon drinkers in your life.







Barrel Strength PrintsBarrel Strength Fine Art Photography

It’s a fact. Bourbon lovers love to be surrounded by photos of bourbon and bourbon-related items. So this year give the gift of bourbon photography. Our Barrel Strength prints are perfect for decorating the office at work or home.  And of course, they make a killer addition to any man cave on the planet.

Check out our complete collection and enjoy savings of 20% if you use code: bourbonholiday

Visit the Barrel Strength collection here.




Bourbon T-Shirt

Bourbon T-Shirts & Schwag

We’ve got a big selection of clothing and schwag items over on our T-Shirt site. Unfortunately the 3rd party we use for the site doesn’t offer us the ability to offer coupon codes or easily change our pricing.  However, anyone that makes a purchase from this online collection will be entered into a drawing to win a free t-shirt from our collection after the holidays. To be entered into the drawing your purchase must be made between 12/15/13 and 12/21/13. Good luck!

Visit our clothing and schwag store.




balls-of-steel-holiday-offerBalls of Steel Holiday Offer

Our friends over at OriginalBOS are offering Bourbon & Banter readers 20% off their order. If you’ve ever wanted to own your very own Balls of Steel or be known for giving the gift of “steel balls” you should definitely check out their product.

We did a review a few weeks ago that you can check out here.

Make sure to use this link to visit their site in order to receive your discount. Don’t forget to use discount code: GIFTGIVER to receive your 20% off.






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Beyond the Barrel: A Conversation with Kentucky Artist, Tess Larimore

It is no surprise that the Bourbon industry has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past couple of years. The enthusiasm for the Kentucky spirit has done wonderful things for the economy of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, but has also opened new doors of opportunity to others in the state. Tess Larimore, a resident of Lexington, Kentucky, saw this industry boom as her opportunity to expand a newfound love of hers: carpentry and woodworking. Always interested in reclaimed objects, especially wood, Tess began fiddling around with turning that vessel that holds the precious golden whiskey into something more than just a barrel. Though Tess saw a barrel as a work of art in itself (as it takes so much precision and craftsmanship to create a container that is watertight out of wood), she saw unlimited potential.

Tess also participated in the recent Town Branch Bourbon Barrel Project, in which local artists took a Town Branch Bourbon barrel and transformed it into a work of public art. The pieces were then auctioned off to benefit charity. As Tess wanted her piece to be an opportunity for everyone – especially children – to interact with the pieces and the barrels, she expanded beyond the shape of the barrel to create a hobby horse named Giddyup. A horse made out of a Bourbon barrel: it doesn’t get more Kentucky than this. 

I met with Tess in her studio in a detached garage chock full of the many tools of her trade (her boyfriend even jokes that “Most women buy clothes and shoes. She buys TOOLS!”). She was hard at work, despite the November cold, sawing, Dremeling, and sanding away. I could see that this was the workshop of a passionate person. As I took in the bits and pieces of the various shapes and sizes of wood (mostly carved out of the staves from Bourbon barrels), I tried ti divine what each piece would eventually become. 

“These are going to be magnets,” said Tess, as she plucked a piece of oak from a Tupperware container on her work table. “And these are supposed to be salad tongs. We’ll see how they turn out.” 

As I adjusted to her methods, I slowly saw everything else in the shop take shape. What seemed like a few bits of strangely shaped scrap wood were actually meant as a wooden handle for a pocket knife. Tess held up the steel blade that would set inside the handle, and it made perfect sense. The whimsically shaped hoop steel that sat above one of her recently crafted (and well-crafted, I may add) cutting boards were made to adorn the top of the board as a handle. Another cutting board sat a few feet away being glued together, ready for sanding once the bonds had set. 

Mid-conversation, Tess asks if she can finish one small piece before we continue. Her enthusiasm for her craft is infectious. As I watch (from a safe distance, as to not catch a stray piece of sawdust in my eyes), I see a small star emerge from the piece of barrel she is forming. The star was a topper for a Bourbon barrel Christmas tree. “They lay flat, so I can ship them anywhere. And all of the ornaments are made out of vintage jewelry.” She runs back into the house and returns with a completed tree. The boughs fan out from the base and are equipped with small holes that fit the delicate and unique ornamentation. It’s a rustic, artistic, and very uniquely Kentucky kind of tree. “This one’s for you!” It proudly sits on my dining room table. And the best part is you can still smell a little of the Bourbon from the barrel. 

Christmas trees aren’t Tess’s only new creations, though. She sees just about everything coming out of a Bourbon barrel (and I mean everything – candles, clocks, tables, cutlery, stools, napkin rings, sushi boards and chopsticks, and even full bars!), her newest venture is Bourbon barrel jewelry. Some of the pieces are crafted out of the wood of the barrels, and others are made from the barrel hoops. Rings, bracelets, earring, pendants – you name it, and Tess can make it. 

If you would like to add one of these unique, handmade pieces of Bourbon barrel art to your collection, kitchen, or look, you can find Tess’s wares at Decorator Warehouse in Lexington, KY or send her an email at


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