Part 2 of the KY Bourbon Trail

Only 1 more day to go and it’s the weekend for us!!!  The internet works better when 200 campers leave.  So to continue on with last Thursday’s journey, we went to Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, KY for their tour (cost $7.00).  It was a beautiful drive thru horse farms to get to the distillery, which is also a National Historic Landmark.  The tour was excellent, as we were able to see a few things we have not experienced before.

Woodford Reserve -Versailles, KY

Woodford Reserve -Versailles, KY

One nice part of the tour was everyone was given headphones, so we could clearly hear what the tour guide was saying.  He started out discussing what makes a bourbon, and the 5 sources of flavor (grains, water, yeast, copper pot distilling, and aging in barrels).  Woodford Reserve has one recipe, and one bourbon, all distilled in small batches.

5 sources of flavor

5 sources of flavor

Woodford Reserve is the only distillery in Kentucky that triple distills their bourbon, which creates a smoother taste.

triple distilled at Woodford Reserve

triple distilled at Woodford Reserve

We were able to watch an employee hand stamp all their barrels with their logo, as well as the date, as they were filling the barrels while we were there.

in 6-8 years, todays barrels will be ready to drink!

in 6-8 years, todays barrels will be ready to drink!

filling the barrels at Woodford Reserve

filling the barrels at Woodford Reserve

After the bourbon goes thru the 3 copper pot stills, it goes into a barrel.  The barrels are then sent down what looks like railroad tracks, to the only surviving limestone aging warehouse in the United States.

barrels go down these rails after bottling

barrels go down these rails after bottling

from filling to the warehouse

from filling to the warehouse

 

only limestone warehouse in Kentucky

only limestone warehouse in Kentucky

limestone barrel warehouse

limestone barrel warehouse

Inside the warehouse are hundreds of barrels, just waiting for the right time, usually 6-8 years.

barrel warehouse - Woodford Reserve

barrel warehouse – Woodford Reserve

When the master distiller determines the bourbon in the barrels has reached its full maturity, those barrels are taken from the warehouse and brought into the bottling area.  An employee uses a lift to place the barrels on a trough, and then drills out the barrel stop, rolls the barrel over, and the bourbon drains out.

drilling out the cork - barrel is ready to bottle!

drilling out the cork – barrel is ready to bottle!

You can see the bourbon pouring out of the barrel below on the right.

bourbon fresh out of the barrel

bourbon fresh out of the barrel

The bourbon then goes to these large tanks for filtering, mixing and then on to bottling.

from barrel to blending/filtering tanks

from barrel to blending/filtering tanks

bottling, labeling, packaging

bottling, labeling, packaging

The tour was great, and we really enjoyed the Woodford Reserve bourbon.  Plus, we got to keep the RV friendly acrylic glass that our sample came in!

bottoms up!

bottoms up!

After Woodford Reserve, it was off to our final stop for the day, at the Town Branch Distillery in Lexington, KY.  This distillery is new to the Bourbon Trail for 2013.  They have both whiskey, and craft beer.

Town Branch Distillery in Lexington

Town Branch Distillery in Lexington

We toured both the brewery, and then the distillery, which is only operating part-time now, as it is new.  The brewery uses an old 1940’s bottling machine for their beer.  It reminded me of an old episode of Laverne and Shirley.

1940's bottling machine

1940’s bottling machine

Their bourbon was okay, but they had excellent craft beer.  The best that we tasted was Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.  They take their Ale beer, and then put it into used bourbon barrels, for 6 weeks of aging.  It was one of the best tasting beers we have ever had.  They said they are now selling their beer in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  So if you have a chance to purchase their beer, I would recommend it!  It comes in a 4-pack, and was a bit pricey down here at $11.99.  But it was very tasty.

They also have a Kolsch-style beer, regular Kentucky Ale, and a hoppy IPA.  We also liked the Kolsch-style beer (can’t be called just Kolsch, as it was not made in Germany).  It was a lighter style of beer.

All in all, it was a good day working our way around Kentucky.  Only 2 more distilleries to go, to complete our passport.

 

Quote for the day:  “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Lucille Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Part 2 of the KY Bourbon Trail

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