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Peerless: A Journey Through Resistance to Craft the First Bourbon in a Century

Peerless: A Journey Through Resistance to Craft the First Bourbon in a Century

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Revival of Peerless

The story of Peerless Distilling Co. is truly an adventure, steeped in history and covered with a patina of grit, determination, and a good pinch of good old American perseverance. Peerless, one of the oldest Kentucky-based bourbon distilleries, made a defiant comeback to the world of bourbon production in 2015 after having been dormant for more than 100 years. Let’s take a trip through the turbulent history of this resilient distillery and see how it stood fast against the odds to relaunch its first bourbon in a century!

The Early Days: Where It All Began

Founded originally in 1889 by an industrious entrepreneur, Henry Kraver, Peerless quickly rose to being a dominant player in the spirits industry. The distillery reached its zenith in the early 20th century, producing an impressive 200 barrels of whiskey a day! However, the arrival of Prohibition in the 1920s hit Peerless hard. Like many distilleries of the time, Peerless was forced to shut its doors and the business fell silent. Its hopes corked like so many unsold bottles.

The Resurgence: A Family Legacy Reignited

Fast forward a few decades, and Kraver’s great-great-grandson, Corky Taylor, decided to revive the family legacy along with his son, Carson Taylor. Ignited with ambitions not just to replicate the past but to create an unrivaled bourbon experience, their journey wasn’t easy.

The Challenge of Traditions

To truly honor the legacy of their forebear, the Taylors firmly held onto the ‘grain to bottle’ philosophy, refusing to source whiskey from elsewhere. They chose the path of most resistance – bringing back the traditional, labor-intensive methods of distilling that required precision, patience, and skill.

Peerless was reborn with a small distilling operation in downtown Louisville in 2014. The next year, the distillate started flowing in copper stills, hearts thumping with anticipation and optimism. But the first bottle of bourbon was yet to come – they had to wait due to the painstaking aging process which imparts bourbon with its distinctive character.

Five Years Later: Celebrating the First Drop of Bourbon

In 2019, after a hefty five-year wait, Peerless presented to the world its first bourbon in a century. This new expression bore the signature of the past but carried a fresh, unique profile that distinguished Peerless from other bourbons in the market. It was worth the wait!

The Fruits of Patience

Aged in charred American oak barrels, this tasty newcomer offered complexity and a bevy of flavors. Each sip of it was a proof of Peerless’ dedication and commitment to honor old traditions. It showcased a harmonious blend of apricot, molasses, and pepper notes, with delicious undertones of ripe cherry and toasted almonds.

The Legacy Continues…

The path chosen by Peerless was certainly not the easiest one. But the taste of victory was every bit as satisfying as their bourbon. By staying true to their roots and refusing to compromise on quality, the Taylors have defied all odds and delivered a product that stands peerless in a sea of commercialized spirits.

So here’s to the brave, the steadfast, and the determined. Here’s to Peerless – the distillery that took the path of most resistance to produce their first bourbon in a century – and did so with unwavering conviction and pride.

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Written by Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis has been writing about spirits for over 10 years. He is a frequent speaker at whiskey festivals and events around the country and has been a judge at several international spirit competitions. He is passionate about educating people about the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon and loves to share his knowledge with others.

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