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Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey Paperback – August, 2004
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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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Top customer reviews
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So why the loss of a star? This book could really, really use an editor. It's a bit repetitive. The chapters could be read in any order and some of the information in the reviews at the end could just as easily be included in the main text. It's also a bit out of date and could use a new edition. There are so many more distilleries now than a decade ago and the bourbon boom has risen to higher heights than even Cowdery seemed to foresee.
I am so glad I read this book. The richness of Cowdery's knowledge and passion more than make up for the editorial shortcomings. If you're going to read one book about bourbon--from the pre-prohibition history to the modern distillation process--this is the one to read.
This is the first bourbon book that I've ever read. It goes in depth into the origins of American Whiskey and dispels a lot of common myths about the genesis of bourbon. It has a lot of very detailed history about the spirit and many of the major players in the bourbon world. Unfortunately, as it was written some years ago, prior to the current American Whiskey boom, some of the information is outdated - prices have increased and what was an easy shelf pick at the time that the book was published are now rare and allocated. It's dryly written, but since it is a historical account/informational document, this isn't so bad, but anyone looking for something exciting should go elsewhere. If we got a second edition that addresses the changes in the bourbon world since 2004, I would not hesitate to give this a fifth star.
I was leery of redundant information since I've already read and researched a bit on my favorite spirit, but I had nothing to worry about. Chuck's take is spirited(pun intended), humorous and entertaining. He gives his opinions with good humor and delves deeper into the personal histories and intricacies of the people and corporations behind the brands. He finishes with a tasting guide that will server beginners well.
If I had a complaint is that parts of the book are already outdated, ownership of brands and bourbon being relatively an underdog to start. Also, some of the suggested bourbons to buy have now become somewhat really scarce. Still, all in all, for those getting their feet wet and even for already-enthusiasts, this book is a must read. (And would be incredible 5 star with an update, maybe?)