Revival Vintage Spirits looks rather small, even unassuming, from the curb. It sits just off the main drag of Madison Ave. in the smallish city of Covington, in Northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati. But inside the store is a stirring entry point for your Bourbon Trail adventures. The modestly scaled retailer has an assemblage of vintage bourbons, rare whiskeys, and hard-to-find spirits deep enough to make even the savviest of enthusiasts swoon. Best of all, some are actually open for sampling.
Every bottle here tells a story, and “dusty” bourbon hunter Brad Bonds is always on the lookout for items to add to the family here, continually curating an enviable mix of products for sale. If you’ve got a couple hundred—or a couple thousand—to drop, this is your kind of place. If you just want a taste of the good stuff, and we mean the seriously good stuff, this is also your kind of place.
Belly up to the four-seater bar and see what’s open for sampling. You never know exactly what the selections are going to include: On any given day, customers may be able to sip ½ ounce pours from the likes of a 1950s/60s Chartreuse, a 1944 Four Roses, a 1970 Jim Beam in a novelty bottle, a 1954 Old Grand-Dad, or an ethereal 1960s Old Fitz. Don’t forget to ask about the sample of the day; whatever it is, it’s more than likely to knock your socks off. (Hot tip: Revival makes an ideal pop-in before dinner at the charming Libby’s Southern Comfort just two blocks away.)
Each taste will set you back anywhere from $15 to $50. It’s worth it. After all, when and where are you going to get your lips on vintage bourbon of this range and quality without paying dearly for a whole bottle, or getting lucky enough to receive an invitation from a very generous friend?