Louisville, KY, Sept. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Speed Art Museum is launching its first annual online and live bourbon auction on September 21 featuring the 10th bottle of Pappy Van Winkle ever made, a bottle selected by the legendary Albert B. Blanton, and many other rare or hard-to-find bourbons.

Offering some of the world’s most covetable whiskeys, “The Art of Bourbon” promises to become the premier, national nonprofit bourbon auction. Four exclusive bourbon bottles are up for bid for the online portion:

The 10th bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old ever produced, valued at $20,000

-- Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Bourbon -- This is the #10 bottle of the Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old -- This bottle was given to the current owner by Julian Van Winkle, Pappy’s grandson and the bottler of this rare bottle. -- Bottles #7, #8 and #9 bottles have been drunk, and the Van Winkle family owns #1-5, making this bottle exceptionally rare. -- Distilled and bottled in Lawrenceburg, KY before Pappy Van Winkle moved to the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Bottled in 1998.

The impossible-to-find Albert B. Blanton, 100 proof, 7-year-old, valued at $10,000

-- Albert B. Blanton, considered the dean of the distillers, was the legendary distilling icon behind George T. Stagg Distillery - what is now known as Buffalo Trace. -- Blanton hand-selected barrels and had them bottled for select customers and special occasions. Why the significance? Kentucky tax stamp suggests this bottle may have entered the retail market, possibly making this one of the first ever single barrel released to the public. -- This bottle comes from the granddaughter of a former employee at the George T. Stagg Distillery. Selected personally by Blanton, it was bottled in 1952 for Blanton’s 55th anniversary. He died in 1959.

Exceptionally Rare Stitzel-Weller Original, 7-year-old, Barrel Proof, valued at $5,000

-- This was developed for whiskey connoisseurs at 107 proof. -- Distiller: Stitzel-Weller -- Bottled around 1965. This bottle is sealed with the government Series 112 red tax stamp and was specifically bottled for John Wellburn Brown, a prominent life insurance company executive. The Stitzel-Weller owners, which included the Van Winkles, frequently gifted bottles like this to friends and dignitaries.

King of Kentucky, 14-year-old, limited release, valued at $1,200

-- Only 960 bottles of the long-retired Brown-Forman brand have been released.

Other bottles and experiences, such as exclusive bourbon tours and single-barrel selections, also will be available for auction.

“Collectors have the opportunity to buy and taste history,” said renowned bourbon author Fred Minnick, who is serving as the auction curator and edits the new magazine Bourbon+. “We’ve secured an enviable inventory of rare and unique bourbons and bourbon-related experiences. I plan to bid on a few myself.”

With such hard-to-find lots, organizers expect the online event to draw interest from serious bourbon enthusiasts and connoisseurs from around the globe.For access to online auction:

https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/The-Art-of-Bourbon/150769/Catalog.asp?aid=150769&rts=/asp/searchadvanced_i.asp%23searchid%3D0%26type%3Dauction%26search%3Dthe%2Bart%2Bof%2Bbourbon%26sort%3Drelevance%26view%3Dgallery%26length%3D25%26start%3D1%26refine%3D%26category%3Dall%2Bcategories

The Speed Seeks its Angel’s Share

While Louisville positions itself at the epicenter of American spirits, the Speed Art Museum - Kentucky’s largest museum - is tapping into the cultural renaissance of the bourbon boom. The nearby Kentucky Bourbon Trail, for example, attracts more than 1 million visitors annually.

“Not only is bourbon making an impact on our city, but we know this industry can have an even more powerful impact on our cultural institutions,” said Museum Director Stephen Reily. Event proceeds will support the art institution’s upcoming Kentucky-focused exhibitions, outreach, and education initiatives. Auctioneer Bill Menish will oversee the event.

The evening auction will take place inside Louisville’s storied art museum and dinner tickets are limited. Event organizers are taking advantage of the museum’s proximity by partnering with Bourbon & Beyond, a Louisville bourbon, food, and music festival that coincides with the auction. Minnick also serves as the festival’s curator. Held during September’s Bourbon Heritage Month, the event draws more than 50,000 people.

The “Art of Bourbon" tickets will include a cocktail hour, bourbon tastings, a seated dinner with a bourbon-inspired menu, and live music by bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne and his Rocky Top X-Press. For tickets, go to https://speedmuseum.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/TheArtofBourbon2018/tabid/986889/Default.aspx

Lead sponsorship for the event provided by Hell or High Water. Additional support by Kelvin Cooperage.

About the Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum. An independent and encyclopedic museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the Speed celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017. Louisville philanthropist Hattie Bishop Speed founded the Museum, which opened in 1927, with a belief in the power of art to change people’s lives. The Speed reopened in 2016 following a 3-year, $60 million renovation and expansion designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY that doubled the museum’s overall square footage and nearly tripled its gallery space. Free Owsley Sundays, sponsored by the Brown-Forman Corp., draw large and diverse crowds every week. For more information, visit www.speedmuseum.org.

Cheri White Speed Art Museum 5024946431 cheri.c.white@gmail.com