The Royal House of Bourbon originated in 1268 when the heiress of the lordship of Bourbon married French King Louis IX’s younger son. The name for the spirit made in the United States (mainly Kentucky), by extension, was inspired by New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.
In his article on bourbon for smithsonian.com, Michael Veach disputes that the name came from Bourbon County in Kentucky. Instead, Veach believes “the name evolved in New Orleans after two men known as the Tarascon brothers arrived to Louisville from south of Cognac, France, and began shipping local whiskey down the Ohio River to Louisiana’s bustling port city. They knew that if Kentuckians put their whiskey into charred barrels they could sell it to New Orleans’ residents, who would like it because it tasted more like cognac or French brandy. People starting asking for ‘that whiskey they sell on Bourbon Street, which eventually became ‘that bourbon whiskey.’”
The inaugural New Orleans Bourbon Festival will take place at the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center March 24–26. The festival features dinners that pair New Orleans cuisine with bourbon at various locations, including a dinner at the Foundation Room at House of Blues with Jim Beam Black bourbon, a dinner at the Bourbon House with a selection of Wild Turkey bourbon as well as a dinner at Kenton’s with Heaven Hill bourbons. Bourbon tastings will also take place all around town, including at Morton’s, Elysian Seafood, Primitivo, Bourbon House and many other restaurants.
Tickets range from food-only at $59, dinners at $130, connoisseur at $230, VIP at $350 and Ultimate VIP at $490. Tickets at eventbrite.com.