type of American corn whiskey, 1846, from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it first was made, supposedly in 1789. Bourbon County was organized 1785, one of the nine established by the Virginia legislature before Kentucky became a state. The name reflects the fondness felt in the United States for the French royal family, and especially Louis XVI, in gratitude for the indispensable support he had given to the rebel colonists. See Bourbon.
line of French kings (who also ruled in Naples and Spain), who ruled 1589-1792 and 1815-1848; its name is from Bourbon l'Archambault, chief town of a lordship in central France, probably from Borvo, name of a local Celtic deity associated with thermal springs, whose name probably is related to Celtic borvo "foam, froth." Proverbially, they "forget nothing and learn nothing" (the quip is attested by 1830, source unknown), hence the name was used generally of extreme conservatives.