Blended bourbon honors distiller

Parker Beam is seen in a 2012 photo provided by Heaven Hill Distilleries. He was diagnosed with ALS last year.

Heaven Hill Distilleries via Associated Press

Parker Beam is seen in a 2012 photo provided by Heaven Hill Distilleries. He was diagnosed with ALS last year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s renowned bourbons are being mixed for a special blend to benefit efforts to cure a dreaded disease and as a tribute to longtime Heaven Hill Distilleries master distiller Parker Beam, who has carried on a whiskey-making tradition of his family’s that stretches to pioneer days.

The concoction is called Master Distillers’ Unity. A crystal two-bottle set filled with the one-of-its-kind blend will be sold at auction in New York City on Oct. 13.


All proceeds will go to the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, established to raise money for research and patient care by the ALS Association in honor of the sixth-generation master distiller. Parker Beam, 71, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, last year.

The special 100-proof blend will be offered at the Bonham’s Whisky, Cognac, and Rare Spirits auction. It consists of bourbon from Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. The master distiller for each brand selected the extra-aged bourbons, and Parker Beam developed the special blend.

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The blend consists of equal amounts of each brand and has ‘‘all the characteristics I like in bourbon,’’ Parker Beam said.

‘‘Everybody produces good bourbons, and when you put them all together it’s pretty exceptional,’’ Parker Beam said by phone Monday.

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