Sip on a Silver Screen Bourbon Distilled in Partnership With the 'Kingsman' Sequel
There is only one bourbon that has been produced before, during, and after Prohibition and is still in production today: Old Forester. It survived Prohibition by being one of the few distilleries to have a federal license to be sold for "medicinal purposes." The groundbreaking bourbon, the first liquor from the parent company Brown-Forman, also serves as a focal point of the new hit movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which inspired the creation of the company's new Statesman whiskey. The Kentucky-based brand also happens to be in the midst of building a new distillery on Whiskey Row in the heart of downtown Louisville; the $45 million state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to open in spring 2018.
On behalf of The Daily Meal, I spoke with two representatives of Old Forester, Campbell Brown and Jackie Zykan. Brown is the president and managing director of Old Forester, and Jackie Zykan is its master taster.
The Daily Meal: Brown-Forman is based in Kentucky. How long have you lived there?
Campbell Brown: I was born in Louisville 50 years ago. When I was five, my family moved to Montreal, where my mother is from. Essentially, I grew up in Canada before moving back to Louisville to start my career at Brown-Forman in 1994. I have called Louisville home for the better part of the last 23 years.
Jackie Zykan: I have lived in Kentucky eight years.
What keeps you based in Kentucky? Or the Louisville area, to be more specific?
Brown: Louisville is the heart of bourbon country, and Brown-Forman’s roots are deep in this region. Old Forester is the founding brand of Brown-Forman. Our founder and my great-great-great grandfather, George Garvin Brown, founded Old Forester in 1870 on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville. Whiskey Row became the economic center of the burgeoning city. Nearly 150 years later, we will open our new distillery in that original building to honor the legacy of our founder and embrace our company’s history.
What is your favorite of the Brown-Forman whiskeys?
Brown: Yikes! That's like asking me who my favorite daughter is! I love them all equally, but 1870 is probably being nicest to me these days…
Zykan: Old Forester 100 Proof “Signature” will always have a sweet spot in my heart. It is the expression I find best suited for the cocktail templates I prefer.
What about of the non-whiskey spirits owned by Brown-Forman?
Brown: Herradura Blanco! That said, I did enjoy the Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé this summer. But the Blanco is pretty delicious.
Brown-Forman played a big role in the new Kingsman movie. Is there anything you feel the film didn't get right about Louisville?
Brown: We are extremely pleased with our partnership with director Matthew Vaughn and the producers of the movie. Our role was to provide expertise about bourbon, and their role was to create the movie. Similar to the original Kingsman movie, this movie is an R-rated fantasy with outrageous characters doing outrageous things. The film’s portrayal of Louisville is amped up Americana, and it’s exciting to see Kentucky and Louisville on the big screen. I'm thrilled with how Matthew Vaughn presented our brands and had a great time watching the film.
Per the new Statesman variety that came out in conjunction with Kingsman, what are some of the foods that you feel go best with it?
Zykan: Whiskey can pair with anything, but Statesman in particular has a bit more depth to it. I would suggest full-bodied and rich foods. This is certainly more of a meat-and-potatoes pairing, so I’d advise against mild seafood. With its vanilla and dark fruit notes, it also makes a fantastic dessert whiskey.
What makes Statesman different from other Old Forester whiskeys? Like, say, the 2017 Birthday Bourbon?
Zykan: Old Forester Statesman offers bold flavor blended to a smooth 95 proof from hand-selected casks of our famed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky from the warmest places in the warehouse. Because true character is only revealed after a little heat, the Statesman product offers the highest impact of complexity and maturation for the age of the whiskey in the bottle.