Looking for a new, unique bourbon? Take a step back through history with a new Kentucky bourbon from Duke Spirits—Duke Kentucky Bourbon—created with the handwritten notes from legendary actor John Wayne. The iconic Hollywood star had a passion for bourbon, and over the years he tried to perfect his own. Now, you have the chance to drink one of his recipes.
Around 10 years ago, Chris Radomski, one of the creators of Duke Spirits, met John Wayne’s youngest son, Ethan Wayne, who had taken over the Wayne estate. After going through some of Wayne’s collection of memorabilia, movie artifacts and awards, Ethan found something very interesting: Wayne’s personal liquor collection. In the collection were some of Wayne’s notes and original bottles he blended back in 1962. Using that as a jumping off point, Duke Spirits went to work.
“Having met with Ethan and going through the collection and notes, one of Wayne’s passions that became clear was that he was trying to perfect the craft of making bourbon,” Radomski told Men’s Journal. “We had the original bottles of the 1962 blend, and we were able to reproduce the recipe and bring it to date, something close to the 1962 versions. We saw it as a culmination of a lot of work by a great man. We launched the brand called Duke 100 Percent Kentucky Bourbon, and we feel it tastes like a much more expensive bottle than it is. It’s unique and historical.”
Radomski explained that he brought knowledge and experience he had from working in wine and spirits for many years to help create a bourbon that “produced an exquisite expression of Kentucky bourbon.” To do that, Radomski used charred barrels that previously had wines resting in them, shipped them to Kentucky and put the 10-year-old bourbon full proof in there, producing the new line.
“While doing that with the bourbon, we also did with the same with Kentucky Rye we make,” Radomski said. “The results were rewarding, so we created Founder Reserve line for Duke—10-year-old Kentucky bourbon and Kentucky rye. I believe the reserves are as good or better than anything on the market and at a good price. The brand is based on the historic recipe by a historic American that we took and reproduced and elevated to the modern day. It gives people something different for bourbon.”
Now, with this new line, you can taste a bourbon nearly 60 years in the making .
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