Monday, December 22, 2008

And speaking of Bourbon . . .

Why do Kentucky whiskeys bear the name of the famous French royal house of Bourbon?

In short: Bourbon (an adaptation of traditional Irish and Scots whiskey), was named such by accident of history. You see, the French government, still smarting from the British conquest of Canada and India, was eager to help the American colonists rebel against George III. Attempting to avenge his grandfather's defeat, good King Louis sent his best generals (including Lafayette), much of his fleet, and the better part of his shrinking treasury to the aid of General Washington.

With all due credit to Washington's prudence and statesmanship, the French pretty much won the war for us - as most Americans at the time recognized. In gratitude, the Congress hung a portrait of King Louis in the Capitol and legislatures across the 13 states gave French names to regions and cities - including Bourbon County, which constituted much of Kentucky.

For more on this, see: here, here (especially), and here.

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