The life of Maria Izabella Magdolna Horony—also known as Catherine Elder, and later feared and revered throughout the rough and tumble Old West as the inimitable, one and only Big Nose Kate—is a story for the ages.
“No better friend, no worse enemy” is how Kate was known throughout the danger-crossed byways and rowdy saloons back then. But she never really got her due. We have created an extraordinary whiskey to honor and celebrate Kate’s extraordinary life, and that of unsung heroes and heroines everywhere.
A Hungarian aristocrat’s daughter turned immigrant and orphan, she was drawn to thewild American west through chance, rebellion, opportunity, and a deep curiosity in people, places, and ideas. A strong, industrious, and fiercely independent self-made woman generations ahead of her time, Kate ran with Doc Holliday, bucked horns with Wyatt Earp and his posse, stole horses, ran gambling rackets, presided over watering holes of all kinds, kicked ass, and took names.
An entrepreneur to the core, “Your business is my business” was one of Kate’s many catch phrases (now memorialized for auld lang syne on our label). Some historians argue that her nickname “Big Nose” was sparked by her constantly “sticking her nose” in other people’s needs and wants, exploring opportunity. Others suggest that she simply was born with a big nose, and she wasn’t ashamed of it.
Written accounts of her exploits were clear that there was no worse enemy. And no better friend.
Yet history most often portrays Kate as a mere supporting actor to the Docs and the Wyatts and the cowboys and the rangers on mainstage back then, even though she was badder than ‘em all. We’re here to do something about that.
Kate’s spirit is awakened in our whiskey today, a brave and adventurous blend just like our protagonist herself. Perhaps her time is now. At long last.
When Big Nose Kate careened through those swinging tavern doors way back when, all took heed, made some room, and paid their respects. In her memory— and as a tribute to all those like her— we invite you to kindly do the same.