Via reader Kurt and kentucky.com (the site of the Lexington Herald-Leader), I am saddened to hear of the passing of Elijah, the resident cat and mouser at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Elijah died on June 30 and was at least 20 years old (the age was unspecified, but he’d been at the distillery for two decades).
Woodford Reserve happens to be my absolute favorite bourbon—it’s mellow and smooth, and remarkably free of mouse droppings.
As the paper notes:
“We’re deeply saddened to announce the passing of Elijah, our beloved distillery cat-in-residence,” Woodford Reserve announced late Wednesday night on Facebook. “Elijah called the Woodford Reserve barrelhouse ‘home’ for two decades — often taking the night shift to keep watch over the barrels, ensuring the angels never took more than their share.”
. . . In his honor, the distillery lowered its Woodford Reserve flag to half staff. In a show of camaraderie, Maker’s Mark’s tour team posted condolences.
Fans of the bourbon and the cat also posted hundreds of remembrances on social media, many including photos of Elijah at work or asleep (roughly the same thing.)
“I have never been a cat fan, but any cat that likes bourbon is a friend of mine!” one fan said on Facebook.
“He’s having the angel’s share tonight,” another tweeted, a reference to the whiskey lost to evaporation in the barrel.
Several called for a limited-edition bourbon dedicated to the orange-and-white cat who roamed the rackhouse and watched over the whiskey.
For many people, no tour of the Woodford County distillery was complete without a chance to meet, photograph and possibly pet Elijah, named for bourbon pioneer Elijah Pepper, the first distiller on the site in Woodford County.
Officials plan to honor Elijah with a plaque on the distillery’s grounds.