Fiery Personality

Bourbon isn't bourbon without fire.

Original photography by Geoffrey Watt @MayerandWatt (color boost by MJ Kinman)

Original photography by Geoffrey Watt @MayerandWatt (color boost by MJ Kinman)

Unless the interior of a new oak barrel is allowed to burn, there can be no blackening and crackling of the wood. Those tiny cracks invite the whiskey to penetrate the oak during hot, lazy Kentucky summers. When the cold winter air causes the wood to contract, the whiskey molecules -- now infused with the sugars and color of the wood char -- are expelled back into the barrel, providing its delicious flavor and amber color.

The charring process used by Brown-Forman to create barrels for its own bourbon brands, plus the spectacular Zoisite gemstone above, combined to create the inspiration for "Char #4". Old Forester (a Brown-Forman brand) is proud to age its bourbon in barrels made specifically for them. This gem portrait honors Old Forester's heritage.

"Char #4" in pieces

"Char #4" in pieces

I painted the fabric with glowing red-orange, magenta, peach, and copper color. So much fun to see it peeking out from behind the templates as I worked.

It's coming together! Fingers crossed that this lovely will be ready for her close-up at the Makers' Crucible Bourbon Tasting & Derby Party on April 20th!