Continuing on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Thursday was a bit rainy, so we decided to just go and visit some more distilleries.  There are seven major distilleries that are a part of the Bourbon Trail.  You get a passport that lists each one, and when you visit the distillery, you get your passport stamped.  Once you have visited all seven locations, then you can turn the passport in for a “free” t-shirt (not factoring in the cost of gas and admission fees for the tours!)

We did four distilleries on Thursday, but due to painfully slow internet service today at the park, I will only discuss the first two. It is simply taking forever to upload photos.   I will do a follow-up post with the second ones, which also included a craft brewery.  The park is again sold out, and they are gearing up for Halloween this weekend.  We are stocked up on candy for the kids (did not find any boxes of Dots though…bummer!)

Our fist stop was Four Roses Bourbon, in Lawrenceburg, KY.  The tour is free. The distillery, built in 1910, is of Spanish Mission-style architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  They are the only distillery that uses single-story rack warehouses, so they do not have to rotate barrels and the barrels are not subject to temperature variances like the barrels in multi-story buildings are.  Given the age of the distillery, it was very cramped for a large tour group, but nice to see they are still using equipment that is older than I am. We were able to sample a single barrel bottle, small batch bottle and the Four Roses Yellow, which they recommend for mixed drinks. The Yellow label was good.

Welcome to Four Roses

Welcome to Four Roses

Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses Distillery

old copper pot at Four Roses

old copper pot at Four Roses

overview of fermentation vats

overview of fermentation vats

 

Our second stop was at Wild Turkey, also in Lawrenceburg. Cost of their tour is $5.00. They are situated on over 900 acres. Wild Turkey recently created a new distillery and bottling plant in 2010. By volume, they produce the 2nd most whiskey in the world. It was a very industrial-feeling tour, unlike the other distilleries. Very clean and modern, most everything is now run by computers. We were able to sample several different types of their bourbon whiskeys. Personally, I did not like any of them. I thought they were too harsh tasting.

The new distillery building

The new distillery building

They have a big barrel in their fermentation room for photo ops.  Even with all the new modern equipment, the distillery still shuts down in July and August, because they are not able to keep the temperature in this room below 90 degrees.  The temperature of the yeast must stay under 90 degrees or it will spoil the whole batch.  You can see the vats behind us.

DSC_0827

 

giddy-up!

giddy-up!

Everything in the tour at Wild Turkey was behind glass, so the indoor pictures didn’t turn out too well.  Every day the master distillers sample their product in this room.  They can only sample for 15 minutes at a time, or else their taste buds get over saturated.

quality control room

quality control room

 

Look for part two of our day coming soon!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Back to work for us tomorrow!

 

Quote for the day:  “He was a wise man who invented beer” – Plato

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve got mail…

Probably the number one question that we have received, is “how will you get your mail?” Since it was just Columbus Day, and you didn’t get mail, I thought we would have a topic on mail.  When we decided to change our residency to South Dakota, we set up a service with a Mail Forwarding Company.  There are a number of companies in SD, Texas and Florida that work with full-time RV’ers to handle their mail and other paperwork.   After searching several companies, and talking with the people who work at those companies, we went with MyDakotaAddress.com, in Madison, SD.

downtown Madison, SD

downtown Madison, SD

We have been very happy with the service that we have received so far.  As with all the companies we checked into, they offer several options for service.  We chose to receive our mail once a month, as we already receive and pay all of our bills on-line.  We have switched several magazines to an IPad app, so we do not receive much important regular mail anymore.  We pay $76.00 for 13 months, plus actual postage costs.  Once a month I send an e-mail requesting our mail, and give them our current address, and about 3 days later we receive a large package from the post office.  If we needed something quicker, they will send the mail via FedEx or UPS.

You can also have your mail sent twice a month, weekly, or have them send you an e-mail each day that you receive a piece of mail.  It’s whatever you want to spend, as each level of service costs more.  In addition to the mail service, they will also take care of our vehicle and RV registrations, and helped us set up our voter registration and change in residency/drivers license forms.

When we arrived in South Dakota, it took us a grand total of 1 1/2 hours to set up our new mailing address, register to vote, change over vehicle titles, get license plates and new drivers license.  It was a very efficient process, and Terri Lund at MyDakotaAddress was a huge help in completing all the paperwork for us.  I would definitely recommend them if anyone is in need of a mailing service.

Just to update what we have been up to:

Makena wants to thank everyone for their comments and e-mails regarding the blog post she did.  She wants everyone to know she has agreed not to stand on the kitchen table.  We also have a couple that is letting her out while we are on our 10 hour days, Saturday – Tuesday, 6:30am – 5:00pm.  We let their dogs out, as they work 2nd shift, which is from 5:30pm – 3:30am.

no table...while they are home

no table…while they are home

The park has been filling up on the weekends, and is booked solid these next 2 weekends for their Halloween festivities.  After that, it is closed to the public.

Amazon is up to 310 workampers that have started, and has 5 more groups to bring in, about 50 a week.  As pickers, we are expected to do 85% of what a regular full-time picker does.  In other words, if they pick 100 items an hour, we are expected to pick 85 items.  They give you until your fourth week to try to get up to speed.  Yesterday, after week 3, they posted our numbers.  Dan is at 108%, and I am at 125%.  We are both fast walkers, so I think that is why are numbers are so high.  Everyone has been very nice, and helpful.  The hardest part is just getting to know where everything is.  I am also having a hard time when my scanner has me picking automotive parts (what is a solenoid?), and some hunting/fishing items.  Now when my scanner has me picking housewares, I just grab the item without hesitation!

It’s raining today, so we just are having a leisurely day.  We are looking at some brochures to see what to do the next few days.  We hope everyone is doing well.

Quote for the Day:  I  also hate those holidays that fall on a Monday where you don’t get mail, those  fake holidays like Columbus Day. What did Christopher Columbus do, discover  America? If he hadn’t, somebody else would have and we’d still be here. Big  deal.  John  Waters
 

 

 

Day off at the Distillery’s

Yea, it’s our day off, so we went back into “tourist mode”.  Kentucky is the Bourbon capital of the world, so we visited two of the many distilleries in the area.  They now have “micro” distilleries as well.  First, a little history on Bourbon.  Back in the 1780’s, one of Kentucky’s first counties was named Bourbon County.  When they whiskey was being shipped to other areas, Bourbon was stamped on the barrels, to identify the point of origin.  People then started asking for that “bourbon” whiskey, and the rest is history.  All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.  By law, bourbon can only be produced in the US, made with at least 50% corn grain, and aged a minimum of two years in brand new charred, white oak barrels.  The barrels can only be used once, and then most of the bourbon barrels are sent to Scotland, to make Scotch whisky.  Notice I left off the “e”.  Now comes the English lesson.  The general rule of thumb in spelling Whiskey/whisky is based on the origin where it is produced.  If there is an “e” in the country (like United States, Ireland), then there is an “e” in whiskey.  No “e” in the country (Canada, Scotland), means no ‘e’ in whisky.  There are exceptions however, as in our first tour, to Makers Mark.  They do not use an ‘e’.  I have inserted a lot of photos below.  As with all the photos in the blog, you can double-click them to make them bigger for viewing.

Makers Mark, Loretto, KY

Makers Mark, Loretto, KY

 

Makers Mark is a widely known brand, but it is still made in small batches.  They age their barrels just under 6 years, and blend the barrels to make a smoother product.  They offer tours with tastings for $7.  Now for the cooking class lesson on how bourbon is made (trying to keep these blogs educational!) In simple terms, the grain (always 50% minimun corn, and then other grains depending on the brand) is placed into mash pots, to grind and cook the grain, which becomes mash.

the "mash" pots @ Makers Mark

the “mash” pots @ Makers Mark

From the mash, the liquid is placed into fermentation pots and mixed with yeast for 3 days.  By day 3, the pot looks like oatmeal, but has a distinctive whiskey taste.  (and yes, they do let you stick your finger in for a sample!)

fermenting the mash - yummy

fermenting the mash – yummy

From the fermentation room, the liquid goes to the copper pots for distilling.  The remainder of the leftover grain mash goes to farmers to feed their cows.  I think there a lot of happy cows in Kentucky!

the distillery pots @ Makers Mark

the distillery pots @ Makers Mark

The liquid in the pot starts at 140 degrees, and is cooled to 120 degrees at Makers Mark.  Right now, the product that goes into the barrel is commonly known as moonshine.  It is during the barrel aging process, that it becomes bourbon, and over time develops the caramel coloring from the charred wood barrel.

barrel aged bourbon @ Makers Mark

barrel aged bourbon @ Makers Mark

From the barrel, the liquid goes to bottling, labeling and packaging.

Bottling, labeling and dipping @ Makers Mark

Bottling, labeling and dipping @ Makers Mark

 

Boxing up the goodies

Boxing up the goodies

 

(Pudge, I tried to put a mailing label on one of the boxes for you!!)  After all this, it was on to the tasting room!  Makers Mark has a big area designated for this, and goes in to the proper way to drink their product.  We sampled the “pre-barrel” whiskey (aka – moonshine or white dog), a regular Makers Mark, a whiskey that was aged too long (several folks said it tasted like scotch), and Makers 46, which they have been making for a few years.  It is a little smoother tasting because of the added wood they put in the barrel.

sampling room @ Makers Mark

sampling room @ Makers Mark

tasty treats!

tasty treats!

sampling at Makers Mark

sampling at Makers Mark

Makers Mark is known for their signature hand dipped wax bottles.  After the tour is done, they do let you dip your own bottle that you purchase.  The below photo is from last year when we did this tour.  However, last year, they were shut down for cleaning, so we did not get to see the whole process, so we came back this year.

safety first - googles, gloves, apron

safety first – goggles, gloves, apron

hmm, a potential workamping job?

hmm, a potential workamping job?

After Makers Mark, we headed to the Limestone Branch Distillery, in Lebanon, KY.  This is a new micro distillery that started in 2010.  Their entire operation is in one building.  The tour is free, and consists of going into the distillery, then going back out into the tasting area/gift shop.  Unlike Makers Mark which takes about 2 hours, this was 20 minutes!  This distillery was started by Steve and Paul Beam, and yes they are related to Jim Beam.  Cousins, I believe.

Limestone Distillery, Lebanon, KY

Limestone Distillery, Lebanon, KY

A micro-distillery.  This is the entire operation!

A micro-distillery. This is the entire operation!

The fermentation barrels hold 80 gallons, unlike the 1100 gallon barrels at Makers Mark.

tasting the fermented mash

tasting the fermented mash

We were the only people on the tour, a bonus of going to a micro-distillery.  They distill small batches of whiskey, in this 150 gallon copper pot still.

150 gallon still at Limestone Distillery

150 gallon still at Limestone Distillery

 

 

tasting room at Limestone Distillery

tasting room at Limestone Distillery

 

decisions, decisions...

decisions, decisions…

Right now, they do not have any bourbon whiskey at this distillery.  By law, it must age a minimum of 2 years, and it will be late this year when the first barrel will be ready to taste.  They have “moonshine”, a sweet-shine, which is whiskey with sugar added, and they had several very tasty flavored whiskeys, including a seasonal pumpkin whiskey.   This place is only 9 miles from Makers Mark, so it is well worth the drive to do both together.  It was very interesting to see how the product is made.  And with the smaller distillery, you get a more personalized tour.

Quote for the day:  “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake” – W.C. Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We interrupt this blog….

to bring you Makena’s Musings!!!!! Hi there, I am Makena, a very cute 6 1/2 year old Jack Russell Terrier.

Hi there!!

Hi there!!

While my parents are away working at Amazon, earning money to keep me supplied with treats and toys, I thought I would take over the laptop for a day and talk about a dog’s life in an RV.

I was very happy in our “old life”, at our house. We had great neighbors, and the kids would always come and play with me. Sometimes they would chase me around our house, trying to catch me. I’m pretty fast and they could never catch me. But I see they are now winning awards at school, so they would probably catch up to me…..maybe!!! (congrats to Joshua!!)

After my parents sold the house, we moved into an apartment, which I hated. There was no place to play off-leash, and we had no furniture, as they sold all the stuff….

depressed in the apartment

depressed in the apartment

But then we moved, again, and settled into our RV, which I immediately loved. My parents were a bit worried, but I had windows, windows, and more windows!!! Dogs, and cats, need windows to keep up with the world.

big picture window

Bedroom windows...bonus!

Bedroom windows…bonus!

The only problem I have been having is with storms…I hate them.  And in an RV, you can hear them really loud!!  In our old house, I could go down into the basement, or at least under the bed.  I don’t have either option in an RV, so I improvised!!

storm shelter #1

storm shelter #1

The first night it rained, I went into the shower.  I thought it was a great idea, and safe, but my parents told me it was the noisiest place in the RV, because of the skylight in the shower, so I have been banned from the bathroom.  So then I went to plan B:

storm shelter #2

storm shelter #2

Yep, I thought crawling under the recliner would be a good spot, but that went over like a lead balloon.  I got dragged out from under my safe spot:(

I am still in search of a good shelter…there is no place under the bed, and the closets are small.  So far, this is my only complaint about living in an RV.  Other than no storm shelter, I love it here!!!  I get several walks a day, there are plenty of people around that will pet me and tell me how cute I am.  And my parents are really trying to find places I can play without wearing that stinking leash:)

I love to play!!!

I love to play!!!

I plan on blogging occasionally, when my parents are too busy.  This week they are still on 7 1/2 hour shifts, but starting Sunday, they go to 10 hour shifts.  I will have to cross my paws!

Oh, and another place I have been banned from…..but look at the nice window I had!!

banned again!

banned again!

Take care….Makena!

Quote for the day:  God  will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my  dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.
Billy  Graham

 

Life at the park

I wasn’t going to post tonight, but thought I would just put in our two cents on camping. After work we went grocery shopping (we have 2 choices….Wal-mart and Kroger). We came back to the state park and found it was almost full. We were amazed at how many people came during the day, and are continuing to come in tonight.

We have seen many tent campers, pop ups, and even a Prevost. A Prevost is a very high end motor home, usually around 1 million dollars. Just think for a minute: where else would you have a person in a $50 tent parked next to someone in a million dollar house on wheels? And they all get along?

We have been listening to 2 guys with guitars a few sites over play everything from Johnny Cash to Elton John to The Travelling Willbury’s. Another site was having a big birthday bash. Just a few minutes ago, a couple pulled in with a pop-up and 2 teenage daughters. Once they got all set up in the dark, they plugged in their party lights. I think they should have plugged these in first, so they could have seen what they were doing!

It has been super quiet all week long and we love the noise and business of this evening. No matter what your choice of ‘home’ is, we are all here to enjoy the great outdoors. We are so happy Kentucky has a wonderful park for everyone of all types to enjoy. This is what life is truly all about.

Quote for the day: A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man – Lana Turner