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Early Times and Artist Celeste Susany Derby Party at 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville

(LEFT) Celeste Susany, Artist of the Early Times Commemorative Derby Bottle and (RIGHT) Joseph Murray of Brown-Forman, photo courtesy The Bourbon Review

On the Bottle and Plate, by Stephen Dennison

A group of people assembled at Proof, Louisville to celebrate the final installment of Celeste Susany’s Early Times Mint Julep Bottling. Writers, artists, granola-makers each awash with the glow we each know to be the final stroke of a work. A sense of completion filled the air and the benefactors gleamed with what was also a testament to their vision.

The bottles, 11 of them, were assembled on a presentation table side-by-side. Each released in honor of Derby, the very day Kentuckians celebrate our heritage, horses and bourbon. Collectors items, for sure, each showcasing a different aspect of ‘the fastest two minutes in sports.’ The steed’s daily bath after morning workouts. The strategy of the final turn. The battle for final dominance. This was art you could drink-craft and consideration in the glass.

Early Times Mint Julep Bottle Artist Celeste joined The Bourbon Review Magazine, local celebrities and radio personalities contemplating and appreciating more than a decade of work. It can be said that true Kentuckians have a natural affinity and love for horses. It has to be something in our water that produces such great steeds and fine bourbon. One could not help but feel that kinship this evening.

The staff at Proof didn’t disappoint. The service, cordial. The food, incredible. Perfectly cooked parmesan tuilles, Kobe steak passed hors d’dourves and local, house-ground bison burgers gently reminded the guests that creative expression can not just be viewed with the eyes, it can be viewed with the tongue and in the heart.

This was no ordinary cocktail party, no simple meet-and-greet. This was art. On the walls, in the hospitality, on the plate and in the glass.


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