Item Name: Ambassador of Bourbon
Item Number: Ambassador
Price: $39.95

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About the Book


Nestled in the rolling hills of central Kentucky, just outside the sleepy little town of Loretto, lies the Maker’s Mark distillery. Already declared a National Historic Landmark, it is also considered by many bourbon lovers as the "Homeplace" of Fine Bourbon. Thousands of visitors make the trek to Loretto each year to tour this historic place, see the distilling process first hand and enjoy the scenic grounds.

The vision of this book, The Ambassador of Bourbon: Maker’s Mark and the Rebirth of America’s Native Spirit, was to visually capture the distillery grounds at every season of the year and every time of day. This 200 page, hardbound book conveys, through photographs, the history, the heritage and that special something that makes Maker’s Mark, well… Maker’s Mark®!

Photographer David Toczko tells the story of what sets Maker’s apart from other bourbons, and takes the reader on a visual tour of the distillery. The beautiful photographs will entice those who have never been to Loretto to come and experience this special place for themselves. For those who have already taken the walking tour, this book will serve as a source of reflection and fond remembrance of their visit.

With over 10,000 photographs taken at the distillery, Mr. Toczko presents more than 250 of his favorite images, including several historic shots from the Samuels’ family archives, that demonstrate why Maker’s Mark® truly is The Ambassador of Bourbon. Enjoy!



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Praise for The Ambassador of Bourbon…



"David Toczko has done it again! On the heels of his wonderful photographic tribute to Kentucky’s Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, he has created a superb collection of images that brings to life yet another of the Bluegrass State’s historic landmarks, the Maker’s Mark Distillery. From the making of whisky barrels to the dipping of bottles of Maker’s Mark® in the signature red wax, Toczko’s vibrant photos take the observer through the whisky-making processes perfected by eight generations of the Samuels family and provide a meticulous look at the charming buildings and picturesque grounds that welcome all who come to visit."

––John Snell, Photographer and Author


"Maker’s Mark’s spirit of entrepreneurship is legendary. This beautiful book provides an elegant look inside an iconic Kentucky product that has changed both the landscape of the Commonwealth and the entire distilled spirits industry."

––Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer


"This book is a beautiful way to share the history of the Samuels’ family-owned business with the rest of the world. What you can’t see in these pictures is the Samuels’ endless focus on improving Kentucky’s economy and education system - a legacy that will last as long as the bourbon business."

––Dr. James R. Ramsey

President, University of Louisville


"Maker’s Mark is a benchmark bourbon, and this book invokes the beauty of the whiskey, and the love and care that goes into each and every bottle. The Samuels family has fought for generations to retain the integrity of their whisky. You can taste their passion in the glass."

––Gaz Regan, Co-author of

The Book of Bourbon and

Other Fine American Whiskeys


"I love Maker’s Mark! And the pictures in this book just make me want to have a Maker’s on the rocks right now."

––Andy Cohen, Bravo’s

Watch What Happens Live




About The Photographer



David Toczko is a long-time Kentucky resident and a Western Kentucky University graduate. His interest in photography began in 1985 and has grown from a passionate hobby to a career as a freelance, commercial photographer. His work is internationally published and has been acclaimed for its richness and depth of color, texture and clarity. His artistic vision is to create photographs with both visual and emotional impact. Recent efforts are focused in his signature style of low light/natural light, which adds a dimension not always found in the studio. His first book, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill: 50th Anniversary of the Restoration, was published in 2010 by Acclaim Press and received an ADDY Award for its design.

A Maker’s Mark® Ambassador since 2009, David is a juried member of the Visual Arts with the Kentucky Arts Council as well as the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, an Official Kentucky Derby Archive Team Photographer and a Louisville Ballet Archive Photographer.  His works have appeared in both national and international magazines, catalogs and publications.




"I have lived in Kentucky nearly all my life. I had heard the stories about Maker’s Mark®, its beginnings as well as what a pretty place the distillery was to visit. It, coincidentally, was also my favorite bourbon. Despite the fact I live less than an hour from this National Historic Landmark, I had never visited. It was December 2010 and my book on Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill has just released the month before. Things had been crazy and I needed some R&R. I read about Maker’s holding candlelight tours of the distillery during the Christmas season and decided that was just what the doctor ordered.


When I got there, it was even prettier than I had imaged. I was immediately struck by the beautiful buildings and grounds. I took advantage of my time there and took the tour. To see the process and hear the story of Maker’s and meet the people who actually make it was my “Ah Ha” moment. It was then the idea of the book came to me. I pondered about the project the rest of the weekend. Come Monday, I took the attitude “All they can say is no, but if I don’t ask…they can’t say yes”, and called. After telling the person who answered the phone the purpose of my call, I was placed on hold and who should pick up but Bill Samuels, Jr. himself! I pulled myself together as best I could and repeated my story. Bill said they had been in business for over 50 years and no one had thought of this before and quickly scheduled a meeting with him, Rob and myself for the next week. My “pitch” was simple. I gave him a copy of the Shaker Village book and told him I wanted to do something like it on Maker’s Mark®. The rest, as they say, is history.


My vision at the outset was rather straightforward…I wanted to capture the distillery grounds at every season of the year and every time of day. I wanted to share with others what I had been missing all these years and try to convey through photographs and as few words as possible (I am a photographer, not a writer) the history, the heritage and what makes Maker’s Mark….. Maker’s Mark®. Telling the story of what sets Maker’s apart and what is so special and unique about the place and the process was my goal. I wanted those who have never been to Loretto to experience this special place and hopefully entice them to visit for themselves. For those who had visited, it would be a way to recall fond memories of their time there. It would also be a way to brag about Kentucky and all the great things about it.


Bill and Rob welcomed me into the fold with open arms. They provided me unfettered access to the distillery, provided bourbon experts to explain the things I was photographing and access to their archives of historical photos. I met with Bill at the distillery soon after our initial meeting to get a better feel for Maker’s and hopefully some ideas about how to put some “meat on the bones” of my vision. Three hours later (Bill is one not lost for words) we wrapped up our meeting and it was time to break out the camera.


With over 10,000 images taken at the distillery, the hard part (besides writing the captions) was to select the target 250 or so images that would best tell the Maker’s story. I wanted to lay the book out much like a visitor to the distillery would see it (with a few seldom seen things thrown in). I narrowed it down to 3,000 images…then 1,000…then the hard part……get to somewhere around 250. Each and every image I took at the distillery is near and dear to my heart. They are almost like my children and choosing your favorite is nearly impossible. With help (and a little intervention) I was able to get to that magic number of 250 and  target page count of 200."



-David Toczko



All original content and images. Copyright © Lone Dakota Photography and David Toczko. All rights reserved worldwide.