E.J. Curley established some of the industry’s earliest distilleries on this property including the Blue Grass and Boone’s Knoll Distilleries under his company E.J. Curley & Co., renamed E.J. Curley Distillery and later Kentucky River Distillery. Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) numbers #15 and #45, respectively.

E.J. Curley

One of Bourbon’s original tastemakers, E.J. Curley coined the term “Bluegrass” and founded his namesake brand,   E.J. Curley & Co, along the Kentucky River Palisades in 1867. Curley was a prolific marketing maven and quickly issued additional brands including Blue Grass Bourbon, Boone’s Knoll Bourbon, and Curley Rye. His exceptional brand creating mind was matched only by his business acumen as evidenced by a single sale of 8600 barrels to a buyer in Chicago for a modern-day equivalent of $19M-the largest bourbon sale ever recorded in that time. In 1902, he formed the Distillers Securities Corporation in NYC which controlled the great majority of Kentucky Bourbon production. A connoisseur to the very end, Curley spent his golden years living at the Ritz Hotel Paris raising glasses with the most influential artists and thinkers of the time.

We honor the Curley elan bringing to market expertly handcrafted small batch and single-barrel bourbon expressions hand selected by Master Blender, Ashley Barnes. In 2025, visitors to the site of the original DSP #15, E.J. Curley and Co, and later DSP #45, in Jessamine County, Kentucky will enjoy the very same breathtaking palisades vistas found at the end of winding nature trails and outdoor experiences. The original aquifer that fed the water Curley distilled still with flows on site and its product will be bottled at a new visitor center and home to extraordinary custom experiences.

Beginning a Bourbon Empire

First to use the term Bluegrass in commerce, Curley quickly brought his bourbon brands to prominence across America – recording a single sale of 8,600 barrels to a buyer in Chicago for a modern day equivalent of $19 million.

His business grew rapidly over the years, and in 1902, he formed the Distillers Securities Corporation in NYC after accumulating control of 90% of Kentucky Bourbon production.