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Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey Paperback – August, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles K. Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey, writes about American Whiskey for The Malt Advocate and WHISKY Magazine. He wrote, produced and directed the public television documentary "Made and Bottled in Kentucky," and is editor and publisher of The Bourbon Country Reader, the only publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey. As a marketing professional, he has worked in and around the American liquor industry for more than 25 years. His other books include Blues Legends (Gibbs Smith), 20 profiles of notable blues musicians. He is also a marketing copywriter and attorney, and lives in Chicago, Illinois.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Made and Bottled in Kentucky; 1 edition (August 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975870300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975870303
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles K. Cowdery is the author of Bourbon, Strange: Surprising Stories of American Whiskey (2014); Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey (2004) and The Best Bourbon You'll Never Taste (2012). He writes about American whiskey for The Whisky Advocate and other publications; and is editor and publisher of The Bourbon Country Reader, the oldest publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey. He is a Kentucky Colonel (Patton, 206) and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame (2009).

Online, Cowdery blogs about American whiskey and other subjects at The Chuck Cowdery Blog (bourbonstraight.com).

Cowdery's first contribution to broader bourbon awareness and understanding was the public television documentary "Made and Bottled in Kentucky," which he wrote, produced and directed for the commonwealth's bicentennial celebration in 1992. That production was underwritten by grants from Kentucky Educational Television and the Kentucky Distillers Association.

As a marketing professional, Cowdery has worked in and around the beverage alcohol industry for more than 30 years, including nine as a Kentucky resident.

In 2012, Cowdery was cited by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals as an expert on the history and marketing of American whiskey in Maker's Mark v Diageo. He wrote the 'Bourbon' article in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 7, Foodways (2007).

A resident of Chicago since 1987, Cowdery is a freelance journalist, marketing copywriter, scriptwriter, and attorney-at-law. His other book is Blues Legends (Gibbs Smith, 1995), which profiles 20 notable blues musicians. He is available for speaking appearances and guided tastings.

Born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio, Cowdery has a B.S. degree from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and a J.D. from the DePaul University School of Law (Chicago, Illinois).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By dontcallplease on November 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you want to see advertising for bourbons, this isn't the book for you. But if you want the story of the bourbon industry, then this is like going to church. You'll get the plain and simple message from the author. This book is now part of my liquor library as the new starting point for my knowledge of bourbon. Enjoyed it, five stars.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ted Haigh on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
It isn't hard to tell when a book is written from piles of research material strung together in a daunting mass. It is equally evident when an entire field of study, wed in the wood, is melded through a lifetime of experience, aged into a narrative that flows so naturally, it issues from the very core of the author. The latter is the case here. From a complex history of chemistry and business decisions is distilled a work that is both complete and readable. Mr. Cowdrey is on his turf here, and it shows. Observations in "Bourbon, Straight" are certain, forceful and backed up not just by facts - but by thoughtful deduction only years can (but do not always) provide. That said, the book is no polemic. The wit and dryly humorous wisdom are winning. When describing one particular whisky, Cowdrey murmers "They possess that ineffable (and much overrated) quality known as smoothness." Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By scratchline on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
for Mr. Cowdery's bourbon book. A very accessible introduction to the topic but filled with information that will educate the aficionado as well. Extremely well-written and researched. Simply a pleasure to read. I only hope that a sequel is forthcoming that will collect more of his outstanding reviews of bourbons currently on the market. You just can't do any better if you want to learn about America's native spirit.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin R. Strong on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Chuck Cowdery is probably the most respected authority on bourbon outside of the trade. And how a guy who lives in Chicago and not Kentucky has achieved this recognition is a mystery to me! He is devoted to the subject and extremely knowledgeable about it. I think this book is a "must read" for anyone who loves fine bourbon. In addition to increasing your knowledge about bourbon you will find it a "good read". And you will find some very informative information about most of today's fine bourbons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rob Moulthrop on October 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great info and history on the spirit. Lots of individual reviews/histories of large distilleries makes for padding. Also, it was written prior to many smaller distilleries coming on board.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Atchison on July 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Chuck Cowdery through his excellent blog, and decided I'd like to know more about bourbon, its history and creation. This book was a great read - very enjoyable. The chapters can be read one after another, or you can pick and choose, as the book is not laid out necessarily in a chronological order, but more topical. Chuck dispels some of the marketing hype around different bourbons, getting to the heart of how they are made, how they are (so very) similar, but how they differ too. My most interesting takeaway? Bourbon lovers everywhere owe the Beam family a great deal - they have been in the thick of things throughout the industry for almost as long as there has *been* an industry. But maybe I'm biased because I'm a fan of Knob Creek. Highly recommended - this author, his blog, and the subject beverage!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Fedorek on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book to learn more about the American spirit....BOURBON. It is a great blend (sorry for the pun) of stories, chemistry, science, tasting guide, and bourbon reviews. I would highly recommend this book to any person who has an interest in American history and/or bourbon.

The book is well researched, informative, and highly digestible. I've lent this book to many friends who "don't read". Each of them has read the book and commented on how wonderful the book was to read. It can also be used a whiskey tasting guide as well.

Cheers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chad VA on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a bourbon fan this is a great read. I finished it in a day. It gives a great history on bourbon in the USA up until prohibition. It talks about the families involved and what they accomplished. It talks about what happened to the industry during prohibition and a little after it was repealed. The last 50 pages are reviews by the author of different bourbons. There is even a chapter on ways to do bourbon/whiskey tastings.
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