Monday, June 13, 2011

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Finally getting around to posting some images from our tour of three distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on May 31st.

Beth Karecki and her sister Mary invited me to go on the Kentucky Bourbon Tour with them on May 31st, the day before they returned to Oregon. It's practically in my backyard, but I had never been before. We toured only three of the six, and it took all day. We started at Four Roses, which we easily deemed the prettiest with its buildings' Spanish Hacienda styling.

The Lady Mary enjoying a swing.

Here is an interesting looking tank at Four Roses.

A multi-lingual sign at Four Roses.

The tasting at Four Roses was the most thorough. I think we tried three or four. I worried about getting too buzzed to go on. Straight bourbon is not exactly my drink of choice, but - when in Rome!

Our next stop was the Wild Turkey Distillery. This bourbon was super strong. Not my favorite. I did like the bourbon liqueur American Honey. It's good enough to eat on ice cream. I also liked the chocolate and lemonade available at their tasting.

We met the Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell, and actually got to see him at work. We later heard that was a rare sighting.

Here is Jimmy flanked by Mary and Beth.

What a Job!

That's a lotta turkey!

Wild Turkey's robust yeast fermentation. Day 2.

We ended up at the smallest and classiest looking place - and the most expensive. Woodford Reserve, owned by Brown and Forman Distillers.

The brewer's sip.
Some empties.

Fat Cat at Woodford.

Here is a shot of yeast fermenting at Woodford. It makes a difference if it's day 1, 2 or 3. Quite a difference to the yeast we saw and smelled at Wild Turkey.

We had to pay for our tour at Woodford. The others were free. The tasting was only okay, but the bourbon balls were fantastic! Unfortunately, they'd closed the luncheon counter early and we missed lunch.

We met interesting people on the tour. Here is Tudor Clee from New Zealand. He had been in the US for the Ky. Derby, in Indy for the 500, and was waiting for the Belmont Stakes in New York. He'd toured all six distilleries and proclaimed Booker's, a small batch bourbon by Jim Beam, and Elijah Craig from Heaven Hill to be the best. His third favorite was the favorite of ours from the three we'd toured, Four Roses. He said he liked Maker's Mark tour the best. Looks like I have three more to visit!

These guys were at Wild Turkey. I couldn't resist asking the question, "What is Vragelism?" Their friend Vragel turned around to demonstrate the tee shirt image. Apparently he (Vragel) is well known among his friends for his witticisms or malaprops or something. "He just says funny things." He said he couldn't do it on command. He never knew they were coming until people told him they were there. We never heard him utter anything extraordinary, but they were three nice, good-humored guys.

Meet Jeremy, Dan and Justin.

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