Jeff Mattingly, the owner and founder of Georgetown bourbon distillery Bourbon 30, has always had a soft spot for supporting veterans.
So when he was asked to come up with something special to help raise money for Kentucky Honor Flights, it was a no-brainer to do it around D-Day on June 6. The result was a special blend picked out by veterans bottled specially in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during World War II.
“We met Mr. Carl Sullivan from Georgetown last summer. He became a board member for Honor Flight Kentucky, and he approached us a few months later to partner with them for Honor Flight Kentucky,” said Tricia Brill, Bourbon 30’s vice president. “We were excited about the opportunity, and invited them to do their own blend, bottled them and they came up with the presentation called No Greater Honor.
“We really wanted to commemorate the day and did a special release on Thursday since that is the day D-Day fell on. We had veterans come in and tasted barrels and did the blend themselves, and then we did the waxing and the labeling.”
The veterans were looking for something that had the flavor profile that reflected the veterans, Mattingly said.
“They went with 12-year old whiskey. They wanted something strong, that had a backbone and looking for something that defines them,” he said. “When you think of vets, you think of security. They chose a couple of 12-year old whiskeys and did a phenomenal job.
“When they did their blend, they were looking for a body that was full of flavor. I can say the bottle and the blend is a reflection of themselves and what they endured. It is stout and you are going to think about it. You won’t forget it about it. And that ties in to vets, we should not forget our vets. It will be something you will remember.”
They made 175 bottles and had 20 bottles left when they opened Thursday. She said people across the country had reserved them at $197.75. A third of that is going to the vets, Brill said.
“We are blessed to write Honor Flight a check and send some veterans to Washington, D.C.,” she said. “The initial blend was going to be 75 bottles which brought $5,000 to Honor Flight Kentucky, but we decided to expand that to 175 bottles, so we hope to write another $3,000-4,000 check.”
Mattingly said it is an honor to assist veterans to go to Washington to see their name on the wall or their friends and loved ones’ names.
He said there is a legacy of family serving in the military and an honor to do a bottle reflecting the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“My grandfather drove for Gen. Patton, my uncle served in Vietnam. My father-in-law is a Navy vet. My son and his wife are in the reserves,” he said. “We do our best to help out our people in uniform.”
Steve McClain can be reached at email@example.com.