|Bottling Line Split, T. W. Samuels Distillery in Deansville Kentucky. The Split Lines might convey boxes on one side and bottles on the other, allowing for efficient packing and storage. (University Press of Kentucky)|
One of the best recent coffee table style books relating to spirits, The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries (Photographs by Carol Peachee) is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the origins of Bourbon told through the antiquated interiors and exteriors which help tell the story of Kentucky's singular connection with America's native spirit.
The architecture of many of these distilleries is surprisingly ornate and varied; the Old Prentice Distillery was built in the vein of Spanish Mission Architecture and the Old Taylor Distillery Company has arched stone windows and crenelation which gives the structure the grandiosity of a European Castle.
Many of the images, particuarly the interiors show a sense of historic decay. Somehow, however, the decay has the kind of grandeur of Classical European ruins. Ms. Peachee does a wonderful job of conveying the narritive, decay and beauty of these structures which helped define, and continue to define, Kentucky's history and heritage.