From the U.S. to Japan, Jane Bready’s bourbon collection represents a global array of distilleries and bourbon styles that are as unique as she is. Born and raised in Australia, Jane moved to the U.S. with her mother at the age of 17, living in New Hampshire for 25 years. An artist by training, Jane had the privilege of being commissioned for paintings and lithographs for both Formula 1 and NASCAR, giving her visibility to teams, sponsors, and car companies. She was eventually recruited by Honda Racing for IndyCar, leading her to Indiana.
While looking for a small condo, Jane found the Village of WestClay and purchased one of the townhomes. She lived there two years and loved the Village so much she decided to purchase her current home on Meeting House Road, where she has lived with her daughter Gemma (26), son Ian (24), and Mini Bernadoodle, Flynn, for the past seven years. “I love how quiet and lovely it is here but with so much convenience both in the Village and the surrounding area,” says Jane. Her son, Ian, loves the well-planned design and how close it is to downtown Carmel. Both enjoy the short walk over to Danny Boys.
Today, Jane is still involved with the motorsports industry as co-owner of a transportation logistics company. She also owns her own natural skincare line called Corsica Scents, but in her spare time, she loves to share her passion for bourbon.
Walking into the basement of Jane’s home, you are instantly transformed to the warm, rich ambiance of the classic distillery tasting rooms, complete with the large mahogany bar, comfortable seating, and a large projection theater screen running the documentary NEAT: The Story of Bourbon. “I host tastings down here every month and use the NEAT documentary to help educate,” says Jane. Behind the bar, displayed for all to see, are approximately 57 American bourbons, plus another 20-30 European and Japanese Whiskeys. “I do have some of my most rare bottles hidden away for safekeeping,” laughs Jane.
Along with her son, Ian, who has become quite a bourbon connoisseur, Jane explains the nuances of properly tasting bourbon. “First, taste it straight, right out of the bottle. Then add one ice cube and swirl … taste again. It will have opened up, and the taste will be completely different and complex.”
As I listened to Jane and her son, it became apparent that their collection wasn’t based just on taste or expense but on the history and stories behind them. She highlighted her Blanton’s single barrel collection from Kentucky with their unique brass horse toppers. Standing next to them is a tall bottle from Buffalo Trace called the Single Oak Project. “This was the result of an experiment to create the most perfect bourbon using very special oak barrels from different sections of 96 trees, along with variations in recipes and cask charring. One hundred ninety-two distinctly different barrels were made,” explains Jane.
Among the Angels Envy and Woodford Reserve sits a few bottles of Orphan Barrel from Tennessee. Orphan Barrel rescues barrels of lost and rare whiskeys that have been forgotten in the back of abandoned rickhouses and distilleries, some of which can be 24 years or older. As these are not made but found, the number of bottles is limited, and once gone, you’ll never see them again.
Next, Jane shares the story behind her bottle of Jefferson’s Ocean. “Based in Louisville, Jefferson’s pushes the boundaries of bourbon making by experimenting with both casks and aging locations,” says Jane. Oceans is a unique blend that is actually aged at sea. The extreme temperature differences and the constant motion of the sea resulted in a very different bourbon—darker, more caramelized, and robust.
Jane’s favorites? “That’s very hard for me to narrow down, but if I had to choose, it would be Blanton’s Gold and the Single Oak Project.” As I look around, I see distilleries not just from Kentucky but from Vermont, Texas, Tennessee, and even Washington state. There are also ones newer to the business like Castle & Key who brought back to life the old Taylor Distillery in Millville, KY, that closed during prohibition.
Ian shares a few of the Japanese-made whiskeys in the collection, like Komagatake and Chichibu, which is a smaller production distillery. “Chichibu is rare and hard to get because they create only a few recipes for each specific region,” explains Ian. “For example, Chichibu only produced 1,556 bottles for the U.S. in 2019.” A chemistry major, Ian is definitely tuned in to the unique complexities in taste and smell. “I love the robust flavor from Yellowstone single barrel and the rich notes of Garrison Brothers Balmorhea. My favorite Japanese Whiskey is Komagatake, which is a lighter, more mellow blend,” says Ian.
“Many of the rare bottles are sold out within days of hitting the shelves,” says Ian. Jane and Ian have developed good relationships with a few distributors and local stores that are very well connected. This has allowed them early access through auctions, events, or limited store supplies. “They’ll get wind of something special and let us know,” says Ian.
Jane’s love for bourbon started in Kentucky. “I’ve always been a big horse racing fan, and after moving to Indiana, I spent a lot of time in Kentucky, especially Lexington.” She was introduced to bourbon at that time by true aficionados who educated and helped to develop her palate. Jane is now passing on that learning to others.