Warren Bobrow is one of those people you never forget. I first met him in the summer when he and three beautiful bottles of decades-old bourbon walked through the door. We sat over tumblers of fine whiskey whilst laughs and stories ensued.
Warren is a man that holds a vast knowledge spanning cuisine, culture, and history. Aside from his stellar writing, he teaches classes at Princeton University on Wine Appreciation. While wine appreciation is the class he teaches, he’s also a fond believer in Kentucky Straight Bourbon which anyone can tell is one of my true loves. Below is a great recount of that meeting.
I’ve found from my very short time living in the South that somewhere out there in the steamy ancient forests-thick with blood-sucking ticks, leeches and poisonous snakes, (they wear those thick leather leg chaps when walking in the woods for a reason)–lays a Valhalla or holy-grail in “Bourbon-speak.” A pristine spring bubbles up sweet water, pure as the dew that lights up in sunlight shining on the elegantly dripping strands of Spanish moss. Vanilla-tea-colored water rises from the depths-situated directly in front of the roots of the almost mythical in proportion, ancient Southern Live-Oak tree. The sweet water found here is known as branch. It is one of the defining elements of Bourbon understanding, the physical act of discovering for the first time…spring of water bursting from the ground, the essence of purity and grace, danced simply over a glass of the brown liquid. The next act in appreciation of the past is by making a perfect drink with that branch. This physical interaction of adding branch to Bourbon binds hundreds of years of Southern culture and drinking lore.
I offered to bring the employees at Billy Reid, a bottle of locally sourced branch…
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