Bourbon Industry

Famous master distiller reviving old bourbon brand, plans new distillery

Jim Rutledge, former Four Roses master distiller, is launching his own distillery and bringing back an old brand: Cream of Kentucky Bourbon. He is releasing 9,000 bottles with a whiskey he selected to kick things off. And he signed a dozen of the bottles then randomly inserted them into shipping boxes.
Jim Rutledge, former Four Roses master distiller, is launching his own distillery and bringing back an old brand: Cream of Kentucky Bourbon. He is releasing 9,000 bottles with a whiskey he selected to kick things off. And he signed a dozen of the bottles then randomly inserted them into shipping boxes.

Jim Rutledge, the famed former master distiller who revived Four Roses Bourbon, is back from retirement.

Earlier this month, Rutledge released a revival bottling of the Cream of Kentucky Bourbon, an old Schenley Company brand produced at several distilleries, including the James Pepper distillery in Lexington.

The new version apparently was selected by Rutledge and is an 11 1/2-year-old, 102-proof Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. About 9,000 bottles will be released in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington D.C., Colorado and California. A dozen bottles were randomly signed and dated by Rutledge and placed in cases for shipping, according to a news release.

“This is some really amazing bourbon,” Rutledge said in a news release. “I’m very proud of the product and think consumers will enjoy it. This is an exciting sneak peak for bourbon fans into the many great things we are working on with new products as well as the development of the J.W. Rutledge Distillery.”

Rutledge and his investment partners are planning a new distillery in Oldham County near Louisville to produce future releases of Cream of Kentucky as well as new bourbons under the Rutledge name. The distillery also hopes to offer contract distilling, overseen by Rutledge.

“November and December have been an exciting months for all of us working on the J.W. Rutledge Distillery and the Cream of Kentucky project,” said Rutledge in the release. “Plans have been in the works for a while and it is great to see things coming to fruition. This is just the beginning of great things to come.”

Rutledge retired from Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg in 2015 after almost 50 years in the bourbon industry.

The James E. Pepper Distillery is now producing bourbon nearly 60 years after being abandoned.

  Comments