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Whisky Advocate: Kentucky’s Most Mysterious Bourbon Producer Steps Out of the Shadows

January 12, 2021

When new distilleries are launched, there’s plenty of fanfare and celebration. After all, it allows the distillery to spread the word far in advance of its first releases. But one Kentucky producer has taken the opposite approach, quietly laying down tens of thousands of barrels of Bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskey without so much as a peep beyond the required public paperwork—and without its own distillery.

The company, IJW, has popped up occasionally in news reports about its Danville, Kentucky warehouse construction and its possible affiliation with the University of Michigan; Whisky Advocate contributor Chuck Cowdery has also written a bit about the few known facts. But until now, no one from this mysterious company—which keeps its ownership a secret—has spoken out publicly.

Now IJW is ready to pull back the curtain, and Whisky Advocate has the exclusive first look. “We’ve flown under the radar by design,” says president and principal David “Dukie” Morduchowitz, a former lawyer who connected with IJW’s anonymous founder several years ago and oversees the company from Los Angeles. “We were sort of saying, ‘Let’s let our work product, let’s let our infrastructure, our inventory, everything that we’re doing—let all that do the talking. When we’re ready to come up for air, then there’s time to let people know we exist.”

IJW began laying down whiskey in 2016 and so far has 100,000 barrels maturing in its four Danville rickhouses. The whiskey within includes Bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskeys, but there’s more diversity than just mashbill: Over 40 different variants encompass differences in grain, yeast, fermentation time, barrel type, barrel-entry proof, and other variables. “Every element in the process, we’ve tinkered with,” Morduchowitz says, noting that the production schedule is driven by opportunities to innovate as well as the need to fill gaps. “We’re trying to curate a really diverse library of whiskeys.” Whisky Advocate has the full story.

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