The Kentucky Derby means bourbon and in Dayton, when you think bourbon The Century naturally comes to mind. And it should, since it’s been receiving plenty of national attention for our Gem City!
In 2013 it made the Bourbon Reviews list of the America’s 55 Best Bourbon Bars and again made the list which by then grew to
“In what could be the most underrated Bourbon bar in the country, the Century Bar takes you back to 1862 with its 150-year-old back bar. The home of the former Kette & Sons Rye Whiskey Distillery, Century Bar packs 87 Bourbons and regularly holds blind tastings. It’s the sort of place every Bourbon drinker should visit at least once in his or her life.”
Travel and Leisure included The Century in their round up of the “Best Whisky Bars in America.” And Men’s Journal just recently named it as one of The 10 Best Bourbon Bars in America
“A small bar with a huge bourbon list, The Century is as devoted to the whiskey as any other place in America. The knowledgeable staff can help you pick out your new favorite bourbon while you take in the stained glass and tables made from whiskey barrels.”
So on the week leading up to “the fastest 2 minutes in sports” I had the pleasure of joining a handful of Centurions (fellow drinkers who’ve made it through 100 bourbons at the Jefferson Street joint) for a special tasting of bourbons that were newly released in Ohio that very day.
I.W. Harper was a Kentucky bourbon brand started by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim in 1879. It changed hands a few times over the years. In the mid 1990’s, I.W. Harper was pulled out of the U.S. market and offered only in Asia; primarily Japan. After being unavailable in the U.S. for 20 years, Diageo has decided to bring back the historical I.W. Harper label stateside this spring. It’s made from a mash of 73% corn, 18% rye, 9% barley and 82 proof.
As The Century’s Joe Head so eloquently pointed out, “it’s a light bourbon, perfect for when someone stops by in the afternoon and you weren’t planning on drinking, but feel obligated.”
Our next tasting was a Henry McKenna Bourbon, a single barrel rye mashbill bourbon. Joe explained it’s a Heaven Hill produced bourbon out of Louisville, KY. This single barrel bourbon is bottled in bond after aging ten years in a federally bonded warehouse near Bardstown, KY. He further introduced many of us to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. Bottled-in-Bond or Bonded, the liquor must be the product of one distillation season (January to December) and one distiller at one distillery. It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 (U.S.) proof. The bottled product’s label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled. Only spirits produced in the United States may be designated as bonded.
There may have been some other tastes after that, but things sometimes get fuzzy at The Century. I do know we finished off the evening with a dessert tastings of a chilled Buffalo Trace Bourbon Creme and it was delightful. But even more so was hearing Joe talk about future events The Century has planned!
May 2nd – 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. Celebrating the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, The Mint Julep. This year they are partnering with Bulleit bourbon for Derby! They will also be listening to the call of the race on the radio as they don’t have picture boxes. Doors will open at 3pm and proper Derby dress is encouraged, but not required. Reservations are not necessary, however you can make reservations if you would like.
May 30th – 2nd Annual Bourbon and Warped Wing beer pairing -more info to come
watch their Facebook for more info…
No dates yet but look for a Bourbon and Girl Scout Cookie Tasting, more collaborations with other local breweries, more special tastings for Centurions and by fall they should have their Speak Easy opened next door. Things are sure looking rosey (and that’s not just the Four Roses talking) these days at my favorite Jefferson Street establishment and when Joe was asked if he was happy with the way things were going he was quick to share, “I fucking love my life and am very lucky to do it!”