The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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Page 57 of 124

W hen you've got three premium American whiskeys named after one of the most iconic American legends and movie heroes of all time, it's not enough to have two great bourbons and a rye that bear his signature on the label. You also assume an obliga- tion to live up to the image of the man himself, and when that name happens to be "Duke"—as John Wayne was called by those who knew him—that responsibility goes beyond the products themselves and extends to those who personify his beliefs and character. In launching Duke Spirits years ago, co-founders Chris Radomski and Ethan Wayne, John's youngest son, set out to ensure that in today's world of celebrity-endorsed products, consum- ers would know these were "authentic spirits inspired by the experienced palate of a seasoned craftsman," Ethan says. "Even though he was born Marion Mitchel Morrison, his parents changed his name to Marion Michael Morrison. Then, when he finally got some traction in his film career, the studios changed his name to John Wayne," continues Ethan, who serves as President of John Wayne Enterprises and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. "But throughout all that, everybody called him Duke from the time he was a young boy, and that nickname stuck with him through- out his life." To be sure, the three recently introduced offerings representing Duke's Premier line portfolio—which is finished, blended, bottled, and distilled in Owensboro, Kentucky—are superstars more than worthy of their namesake. "The back label on each of these bottles tells the story of the by Richard Carleton Hacker Chris Radomski is the co-founder of Duke Spirits. november 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  57 "I appreciate quality: If I'm going to have a drink, I'm going to have a good one." —John Wayne PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE SPIRITS

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