Emerson Whiskey Co.: Bowies ‘N Bourbon At BLADE Show

Emerson Whiskey Co.: Bowies ‘N Bourbon At BLADE Show
Only 20 Emerson whiskey custom packages will be released. They include the serialized and signed numbers 001-020 bottles of Emerson Kentucky straight bourbon and handmade versions of the Whiskey Knife.

Ernest Emerson to debut Emerson Whiskey Co. and the Whiskey Knife at BLADE Show ’23.

A perennial favorite at the BLADE Show, Ernest Emerson of Emerson Knives, Inc., has chosen this year’s event to introduce the Emerson Whiskey Co., along with two limited-edition commemorative knives to celebrate the launch.
Ernest said he chose BLADE Show ’23 for the new-company-and-knife premiere partly due to the many fond memories of sipping adult beverages with friends, customers and associates at shows in general. And what bigger and better knife show for the debut than the world’s biggest and best, the BLADE Show?

Ernest Emerson
Ernest Emerson in his shop.

“I have shared many whiskey toasts and shots with my friends in the knife community over the years,” he notes. “In fact, at many shows it seemed like I spent more time talking about whiskey than about knives.”

Emerson Whiskey is a straight bourbon whiskey, which Ernest said must meet stricter standards than other types of whiskey. One of the requirements is that to be called straight bourbon it must be aged at least two years in virgin, charred, white oak barrels. “The best bourbon sweet spot for aging is four to five years,” he explains, “which produces the best combination of smooth flavor, mellow color and unique taste. Older-aged bourbons can—and many times do—pick up more of the tannins from the barrels and, as a result, sometimes require an additional charcoal filtering process to settle down the taste. When it is bottled, it cannot be less than 80 proof.

Emerson Whiskey
The custom editions of the Whiskey Knife are handmade by Ernest Emerson in his shop. They include special touches such as gold anodized liners, pivot screw, elongated one-piece back spacer and thumb disc.

“The best and most unique tastes are from what is called a ‘single barrel’ run, where the finished bottled bourbon or whiskey comes from a single barrel [cask] and is not blended with any other barrels. Our bourbon is one which we handpicked and tasted out of dozens of barrels before we all agreed that we had found the one that we deemed the best.” As Percy Sledge sings in Take Time To Know Her, “It’s not an overnight thing.”

Emerson and his family spent over two years bringing the effort to fruition. “I must say, this involved a lot of dead-ends and quite a number of not-so-good whiskeys—and then, finally the stars aligned and it was all truly worth the effort. We found it,” Ernest recalls. “This Kentucky straight bourbon is distilled at a legacy distillery located in the heart of bourbon country—Owensboro, Kentucky. Aged for four years in new, white oak, charred barrels, this whiskey has all the delectable tastes and charm so sought after by all bourbon enthusiasts.” The first offering will be a single barrel run with each bottle individually hand signed and serialized by Ernest.

Special-Edition Emerson Whiskey Knife

At the BLADE Show, Emerson also will release two limited-edition versions of an all-new design he has dubbed “the Whiskey Knife.” There will be a custom edition, handmade by Ernest in his custom shop, limited to only 20 pieces. There also will be a production version in a limited run of 80 units. The knives will be serial numbered 001-100 starting with the custom versions and continuing through the production run.

Knife and Tags
The Whiskey Knife custom edition features long single backspacers. They are color keyed in gold anodizing to match the liners, pivot screw and thumb disc.

The linerlock design of the Whiskey Knife is instantly recognizable as an Emerson with many of the design traits he developed for his tactical knives over the years. Fully extended the knife is 8.4 inches with 3.5 inches of the total in a blade of 154CM stainless steel with a classic clip-point bowie look.

“The design needed to be a workingman’s knife suitable for a variety of tasks, and the bowie-style-blade design ties it back to the roots of historical American culture. After all,” Ernest grins, “what could be more American than Kentucky bourbon and a bowie knife?” The folder’s handle reinforces the theme. “The scales are made from the charred oak barrel staves, which have been fully stabilized,” he notes. “On the custom knives, the titanium liners and backspacers are hand polished and anodized to a beautiful golden hue, along with the titanium pivot screw and thumb disc. The front handle scale features ‘The Emerson Whiskey Co.’ brand burned into its surface.”

Emerson Whiskey Knife
All 100 issues of the Whiskey Knife are serialized on the blade just below the thumb stud, and correspond with the special copper tags on both the bottle and knife.

The production version is the same model and same size as the first 20 custom knives. “The key difference is that the blades are not hand ground and the liners not highly polished,” Ernest qualifies. “The specs for the production knife are the same as the custom knife, except that they do not have the solid titanium backspacer and the .09-inch-thick titanium on the lock side.”

Blade ‘N Bourbon Package

Emerson will offer two special packages featuring a bottle and knife—one with the custom model and the other the production version. “The custom package is a matched set limited to only 20 offerings serialized 001-020,” Ernest explains. “It consists of the handmade edition of the Whiskey Knife paired with a serialized, matched bottle of Emerson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The handles are handcrafted white oak, fully stabilized and made from the origin barrel of the Emerson whiskey. Both knife and whiskey come with engraved copper plaques hand stamped by me to memorialize this beautiful and stunning pairing of fine cutlery and superb Kentucky Straight Bourbon.” Price for the custom package is $1,375.

Whiskey and Knife
Everything ties together in the Emerson Whiskey production package, from the copper tags to the serial number on the blade, and Ernest’s signature and issue number on the bottle.

There will be 80 production packages available, serialized 021-100. “Each of these knives is also hand signed by me, making it a true signature series to match the hand signed bottle that it is partnered with,” Ernest says. “They also feature the copper engraved and hand stamped tag certifying its unique pairing to the corresponding knife model.” The price for the production package is $499.

The BLADE Show always has a few twists. Is there an Emerson Whiskey on the rocks with a twist of lime.

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