Like many bourbon tales, they often start with history. In the case of Boundary Oak Distillery their own history is not very old but the history of the original property where the distillery got its start and its connection to our nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln is a tale to be told.
The name of the distillery dates back to Lincoln’s birthplace in what today is Hodgenville, Kentucky. According to the National Parks Service, “In December 1808, Thomas Lincoln, father of Abraham, purchased the 300-acre Sinking Spring Farm. A magnificent white oak tree stood at the western edge of the farm. The tree served as a boundary marker and survey point for determining the property lines. The use of large trees, boulders and even fence lines as boundary markers was a common practice and was readily accepted throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.”
Over time, the tree known as the Boundary Oak succumbed to insects and disease. At its peak, the tree measured six feet in diameter, 90 feet tall and had a crown spread of 115 feet but unfortunately died in 1976 and was eventually cut down in 1986. At 195 years old, the tree is said to be the “last living link” to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and boyhood home.
Lincoln’s Boundary Oak Tree Preserved in Bourbon Bottle Cork
Distillery owner Brent Goodin was able to get a hold of some of the oak from that famous tree which he now incorporates into the cork for his Lincoln Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Goodin recently presented the original No. 1 commemorative box and bottle of Lincoln whiskey to the Lincoln Museum recently as a tribute to the museum’s mission to preserve and promote the region’s Lincoln heritage and in recognition of the museum’s 30th anniversary.
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The engraved walnut box contains a copy of Lincoln’s 1833 liquor license, along with a bottle of Lincoln wheated whiskey. The bottle’s cork incorporates a piece of the Boundary Oak tree from Lincoln’s birthplace. The box also contains an uncirculated Kentucky penny originally released in Hodgenville in 2009 as part of the nation’s Lincoln Bicentennial.
Lincoln Bottle Sold to Lincoln Descendant for Record $25,500
On Thursday, May 24 the commemorative box, penny and bottle of bourbon sold for a record setting $25,500 at auction. Not only did it sell at auction but, it was sold to Jo-Ann Bland Myers, a descendent of our nation’s 16th president.
Intent on owning a keepsake connected with the 16th president and her family heritage, Myers arrived at the auction at Boundary Oak Distillery with a purpose. “I came to buy,” she said.
As fellow bidders huddled to discuss strategy during the pleadings from the auctioneer, Myers showed no indecision. With each competitive bid, she immediately extended her arm into the air to top it. In fact, she didn’t stop after her winning bid of $25,000.
To ensure the bottle set a record as the most expensive liquor ever sold in America, the final bidders agreed to reopen the sale. They pushed the price to $25,550 – $50 above the winning bid recorded in 2014 for the right to purchase Bottle 1 from Batch 1 of Boundary Oak’s first bourbon. She expects the whiskey to take a place in the museum exhibit area and plans to leave it to the museum in her estate.
Myers told Goodin she can trace her family line to Captain Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Bathsheba, who were grandparents of the president born in 1809 in a log cabin near Hodgenville. Proceeds will go to help the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville retire its debt.
“I’m so thrilled. Jo-Ann and Gil are such good people,” said Iris LaRue, Director of the Lincoln Museum. “I appreciate everybody’s effort. This was just a great experience.”
The Lincoln Museum
The Lincoln Museum was chartered in March 1988 as a non-profit entity with 500 charter members.
The museum initially began in the Middleton & Marcum department store, which closed in the mid-1980s. The 103-year-old building now houses historically accurate dioramas as well as donated artifacts and memorabilia from across the United States. Over the past three decades, there has been three major expansions that included the purchase of two additional National Register buildings as well as the opening of the Community Room and a Lincoln Library. Further renovations expanded the gift shop and reception area ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the creation of a large, second-floor art gallery.
Located in Hodgenville’s Downtown Historic District, the museum is administered by a volunteer Board of Trustees and is open daily, year round.
“If you haven’t been to the museum, you’ve missed one of the state’s finest attractions, and the history of how the LaRue County folks made this happen is truly a story of community vision and spirit,” said Goodin. “We’re proud to honor Lincoln as a neighbor, a great man, and the greatest president.”
Abraham Lincoln’s Liquor License and Bond
Not only was Abraham Lincoln one of the United States most famed Presidents, he was only the only President to have owned a liquor license. We’ll raise a glass to that, Cheers!
Click the image to enlarge.