Congratulations on your enrollment in Modern Thirst University’s Bourbon Appreciation program!  We believe you will enjoy your time at MTBU, and find it rewarding both educationally and socially.  We here at the University encourage social interaction between students, as well as between faculty and students, and faculty and faculty.  After all, this is about drinking.

Please make use of all our facilities, including our applied science labs (bars), research stations (distilleries), and our numerous athletic fields (beer pong tables nation-wide).

But it’s not all fun and games at MTBU (I’m looking at you, intramural leagues!) There are, of course, studies to be completed.  Please read below for your list of required textbooks and optional reading materials.  Because we are a modern University, and saving you money on books allows you to buy more research product (bourbon), we have provided Amazon Kindle buying options whenever possible.

Required Reading

These are the essentials.  There are a lot of options for those who want to take their knowledge of bourbon to the next level, but these are the standard textbooks that you need to read.

The first is by Bourbon Historian Michael Veach.  Mike is not only the single most knowledgeable man I’ve ever met on the topic of bourbon, he’s a genuinely nice guy. His book “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage” is the standard by which others are most often judged.

If Michael’s book is the #1 required piece of reading material, Charles “Chuck” Cowdery’s “BOURBON, STRAIGHT: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey” is #1A.

Michael Veach also suggested these be added to the required reading list, and as he is the foremost bourbon professor in the country, we will follow his curriculum:

And for our American Literature department, instructors have reminded us that Bourbon-Centric Fiction is still part of the curriculum.  Please enjoy James Markert’s “The Angel’s Share.

So you’ve got the basics down from the required textbooks, eh?  Ready to focus your studies?  Think of these as required reading for your specific fields of study.

Specific Histories and Anecdotes:

Fred Minnick is another of the more well-known bourbon writers.  In addition to being one of the premier American whiskey judges on the planet, he’s an accomplished, active writer who tackles very interesting, sometimes neglected topics of bourbon lore.  “Whiskey Women” illustrates the incredible roll women played and continue to play in the birth and growth of the American Whiskey industry.  I highly recommend reading this, if you read no others beyond the required list.

You like Chuck Cowdery’s required book listed above?  He’s not done, and you’re not done with Chuck.

Another excellent source:

This one is a little pricey, and not available in Kindle format, but it’s a fantastic compilation of known histories of Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries:

Lest we forget, Bernie Lubbers is actually known as the “Whiskey Professor:”


Think of this as the ‘applied science’ part of your studies.

Bourbon Curious is a recent release by Fred Minnick.  While there may be some parts you skim over, there are countless facts and figures about mash bills, entry proofs, etc. that are invaluable resources:

And more reading:

Lastly, we highly encourage our students to make use of the reading materials on hand.  In addition to a huge array of reviews, we also have a wide selection of reference materials here at the MTBU Campus Library.   We have reading materials touching on everything from proper glassware, to hosting a bourbon tasting in your own home, to different bourbon and whiskey mash bills.

So congratulations on enrolling in Modern Thirst Bourbon U, we hope you enjoy your studies!

Thank you,

The Dean

Library Resources:

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Guide to releases and batches

A handy guide to navigating through all the releases of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

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Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Stagg/WLW/Handy Releases by Year and Proof

A handy guide for George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, and Thamas Handy Sazerac Releases by year and proof.

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Bourbon Sample Bottles

Ever wondered where to get those little glass bottles everyone seems to be using to store and trade whiskey samples? Here’s our quick run down on standard bourbon & whiskey sample bottles with purchase links.

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Bourbon and Whiskey Mash Bills – September 2015

ModernThirst’s list of bourbon and whiskey mash bills updated for September, 2015

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The Essential Bourbon Reading List

Congratulations on your enrollment in Modern Thirst University’s Bourbon Appreciation program!  We believe you will enjoy your time at MTBU, and find it rewarding both educationally and socially.  We here at the University encourage social interaction between students, as well as between faculty and students, and faculty and faculty.  After all, this is about drinking.

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Old Crow Distillery- Historical Notes

Old Crow Distillery  DSP-KY-25 About a month ago, I was contacted by a representative of the Discovery Channel about speaking on camera for a proposed documentary about the history of the Old Crow distillery. My first inclination was to say “My handsome face on television? ABSOLUTELY!” After some careful thought, I didn’t want to portray

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Essential Bourbon Glassware

We’ve posted about glassware before, and we’ll do it again. Why? Because the vessel is an important part of the bourbon experience. While there are many different and perfectly acceptable styles and brands of glassware to choose, these are the ones we’re most keen on. The grand daddy of all whiskey glasses, the Glencairn is

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A Glencairn glass by any other name? Bellemain Whiskey Glass

When is a Glencairn Glass not really a Glencairn Glass? When it’s a Bellemain Glass. By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the Glencairn Glass in any number of photos on this site or others discussing bourbon and whiskey. It has become the standard whiskey glass for those who sip their whiskey neat. The glass was

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Hosting a Bourbon Tasting in your Home

So you’ve discovered this wonderful nectar of the gods we call Bourbon. You may be an expert in sipping the juice, or you may be entirely new to it. Either way, the next step from enjoying bourbon is to make it a social focus. Just as Wine Tastings have been en vogue for decades, Bourbon

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The Bourbon Flavor Wheel and Tasting Sheet

We’ve had a lot of requests lately to re-post the Bourbon Flavor Wheel for readers who want to conduct their own tastings. I created the wheel back in April for my “Tasting Bourbon 101” post, and I suppose it has been a useful tool for some of our readers.  So in order to help facilitate

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Bourbon Primer

New to the world of Bourbon and American Whiskey?  Looking for some basic info? Here’s a simple Bourbon Primer to get you started. What is whiskey? Whiskey is a liquor made from fermented grains. What is a mash bill? The mash bill is the recipe, or combination of grains that are mixed and distilled to

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Tasting Bourbon 101

Did you know there is a difference between tasting your bourbon and drinking it? The correct way to drink bourbon is however you like to drink it;  mixed or on the rocks on a hot summer day, straight up next to the fire in the dead of winter, or with a twist of lemon with

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How do you drink it?

So a bourbon question I’ve heard quite a bit lately is ‘How do you drink your bourbon?’ I usually sip it neat, or on the rocks. Why on the rocks? Simple: I like cold drinks, and I prefer high proof bourbons. That makes things like the large ice spheres the perfect way to drink them. The

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Home Bourbon Bar Basics

What are the necessities for a good home bourbon bar? It’s no secret, we’re witnessing an explosive boom in the growth and popularity of American Whiskey, and that boom is being led by Kentucky Bourbon.  Bourbon sales increased almost 12% in 2012, and bourbon has become the hottest new “it” liquor worldwide.  It’s so popular

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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. Since college, he has dabbled in beer, bourbon, wine tasting, beer making, and currently works in finance. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.

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