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KY Bourbon Trail
Old 07-12-2018, 05:34 AM   #1
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KY Bourbon Trail

There are 13 major bourbon distilleries, and 14 craft distillers, in central KY that offer tours and tastings, all part of the “KY Bourbon Trail.” We’d thought about it before, but we never made time.

We just came back from a trip south, and this time we made time on the way down to do two bourbon distillery tours. I’m happy to report we really enjoyed our tours at Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. Beautiful grounds, interesting tours and we enjoyed the tastings - but I would have enjoyed the tours even if they didn’t included tastings (IOW not a driving reason to go IMO). We’d recommend it to anyone with any interest in any whiskeys or distilleries.

https://kybourbontrail.com
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:42 AM   #2
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i thought you were talking about the trail of spillage on the floor between my lounger and my liquor hutch.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:46 AM   #3
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We have an friend in Ohio and fly into Cincinnati but we didn’t have time to explore much of Kentucky last trip, hopefully we’ll plan for this in a couple years when we make it back to see him again.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:53 AM   #4
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DW and I attend a annual mining antique show in eastern Kentucky and always make a point to visit 2 or 3 distilleries a year. Great history, good spirits, good time. My current home town is the home of the Whiskey Rebellion which occurred in 1791-94. Some of the distillers left then and moved to Kentucky to escape the grasp of the tax man.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:40 AM   #5
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I did this trip about 5 years ago, and did a short write up after. I had the same good experience.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:17 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting. I’ve been thinking of doing the bourbon trail soon, along with Mammoth Cave. Natural Tunnel and Cumberland Gap could be along the way for me, too.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:24 AM   #7
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The best articles I found before going:

https://franklin.thefuntimesguide.co...y_bourbon/?amp

https://www.earthtrekkers.com/best-d...bourbon-trail/
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for the linked articles. One very useful nugget of information from the first one was, "Summertime is not the best time to visit a distillery — because many shut down or cease production during the hottest months of the year." So I suppose it's best to check what's in full operation and what's not before going.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:22 AM   #9
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There are an incredible number of distillers going into business throughout Kenticky, Tennessee and Georgia. And there is a trend toward high quality whiskies, however many are making high quality moonshine with differ flavors. Due to the aging time being years on bourbon, the return on their investments could be very long.

I live 90 minutes from Jack Daniels and George Dickel distilleries and take a tour every couple of years. Although I have not even tasted whiskey in 40 years, tours are very interesting. And the towns south of Louisville are quite scenic and nice to visit.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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Big fan of Maker's Mark. Donating a bottle for a charity raffle later this week.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:49 AM   #11
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DW and I did the Bourbon Trail last summer. We visited all ten distilleries over a thee day period, and earned our Bourbon Trail tee-shirt!! We both loved it. The aroma in the rick houses was heavenly. But, it was extremely hot. If we had it to do over again, we would do it in the Spring or Fall. We now highly recommend this trip to friends.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:57 AM   #12
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Big fan of Maker's Mark. Donating a bottle for a charity raffle later this week.
Brother, can you spare a bottle? Maker's 46, to be exact.

I became a Maker's Ambassador years ago, one of the perks was to have your name placed on a barrel, and you get first dibs at that barrel when opened. Also, they send out some pretty neat gifts around Christmas time every year to make your guests, especially those that aren't retired, just a little more jealous.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Badger View Post
Big fan of Maker's Mark. Donating a bottle for a charity raffle later this week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winemaker View Post
Brother, can you spare a bottle? Maker's 46, to be exact.

I became a Maker's Ambassador years ago, one of the perks was to have your name placed on a barrel, and you get first dibs at that barrel when opened. Also, they send out some pretty neat gifts around Christmas time every year to make your guests, especially those that aren't retired, just a little more jealous.
+1. I like Maker's Mark OK, but Maker's 46 is a real standout. I bought some MM Private Select while I was at the MM distillery, a particular formula you can't buy anywhere but at the distillery, haven't cracked it open yet.

Might be heresy, but I like Maker's Mark Mint Julep (premade) too - for when I'm too lazy to make a proper Old Fashioned.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Winemaker View Post
Brother, can you spare a bottle? Maker's 46, to be exact.

I became a Maker's Ambassador years ago, one of the perks was to have your name placed on a barrel, and you get first dibs at that barrel when opened. Also, they send out some pretty neat gifts around Christmas time every year to make your guests, especially those that aren't retired, just a little more jealous.
I'm an ambassador as well, and enjoy the little gifts.
Have you picked up your bottle, or know has? It sounds neat at first, but doesn't really seem worth the trip out there. I had the option to buy and dip my own bottle when I went out there but it wasn't worth the wait to me, so we passed.

I'm in another program, with Heaven Hill, where they will sometimes let me customize a label for bottle for free. A shrewd promotion, because then they know I'm likely to buy the bottle to slap it on, though I haven't fallen for it every time. I have a 20+ bottle bourbon collection and like the customized labels, or other specialty things like Woodford's special Kentucky Derby bottle or Evan Williams hero label. Taste is first and foremost but good packaging will make me try an unknown sometimes.

So I wouldn't mind a customized label from Maker's, but I don't really want to travel 500 miles for it. Maybe it'd be a good excuse to make the trip again and I suppose the story of the bottle from "my" barrel means something. But I also got a nice winter scene label from them recently that I put on a bottle, so then I'd have two Maker's bottles on display. Normally my backup bottle is behind a lower cabinet door, with the only exception being a second Jefferson's Aged at Sea from a different voyage.

Anyway, just wondering if there's anything to that ambassador bottle experience that makes it more worthwhile.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:39 PM   #15
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My wife and I hit Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort about 4 years ago and enjoyed it a lot even though neither of us are big bourbon drinkers. As others have said, its best to go in the cool months because they won't be making bourbon when its hot. The mash gets too hot and kills the yeast.
Buffalo Trace isn't on the trail map because they haven't paid the fee to be put on but its still highly recommended. I liked it a lot better than Jack Daniels.
If you are near Frankfort, I also highly recommend that you visit Rebecca Ruth Candy factory, have some of her bourbon balls, and tour the place. If you've ever seen the I Love Lucy sketch where she is supposed to pick up candy from a conveyer belt going by her, you'll recognize the machinery. The balls are excellent. I found Becky's Boo Boos (her seconds) to be an especially good value.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:04 PM   #16
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I'd hit the trail 'cept they're just down the road & I've been hitting the products for over 50 of my 70 years. Maker's (fyi, "Mark" is unnecessary for those 'round here.) has just gorgeous grounds. That said, I'm never w/o 1.75L+ at home & take up to a Qt with me whenever I travel. Weep no more my lady!
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:11 PM   #17
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That was very interesting. I read about the Whiskey Rebellion on Wikipedia. I did not realize that such a large part of the state was west of Appalachian Range.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:34 PM   #18
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I'm an ambassador as well, and enjoy the little gifts.
Have you picked up your bottle, or know has? It sounds neat at first, but doesn't really seem worth the trip out there. I had the option to buy and dip my own bottle when I went out there but it wasn't worth the wait to me, so we passed.

I'm in another program, with Heaven Hill, where they will sometimes let me customize a label for bottle for free. A shrewd promotion, because then they know I'm likely to buy the bottle to slap it on, though I haven't fallen for it every time. I have a 20+ bottle bourbon collection and like the customized labels, or other specialty things like Woodford's special Kentucky Derby bottle or Evan Williams hero label. Taste is first and foremost but good packaging will make me try an unknown sometimes.

So I wouldn't mind a customized label from Maker's, but I don't really want to travel 500 miles for it. Maybe it'd be a good excuse to make the trip again and I suppose the story of the bottle from "my" barrel means something. But I also got a nice winter scene label from them recently that I put on a bottle, so then I'd have two Maker's bottles on display. Normally my backup bottle is behind a lower cabinet door, with the only exception being a second Jefferson's Aged at Sea from a different voyage.

Anyway, just wondering if there's anything to that ambassador bottle experience that makes it more worthwhile.
My barrel doesn't come to proper age until 2019/20, IIRC. They had the green wax Mint Julep here a few weeks back says the DW, but she never bought a bottle. I sent her to the woodshed. when I went back to get a bottle 4 days after she mentioned it, and there were none left. The Ancient Age Julep a few years back was tasty, but it's not something I would drink every day/week. I, too, have a whiskey/whisky collection. One of the best lately was from Los Alamos NM, where it is made from blue corn, and aged multiple years because of the lack of wide barometric pressures that force the bourbon deep into the grains of the oak barrel. We also have a local brand, Liberty Pole, using some of the local recipes from 1790's and using Bloody Butcher corn. Scrumptious!
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:00 AM   #19
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I also enjoyed the Maker's Mark tour some years ago.
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:04 AM   #20
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I’ve been thinking of doing the bourbon trail soon, along with Mammoth Cave.
I would recommend a couple of days just for Mammoth Cave -- there are a lot of guided tours available and it's a lot bigger (mammoth, even!) than people realize. The Corvette museum is also fun.
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