We recently went on the bourbon trail tour in Kentucky. Talk about cool… we toured 3 different distilleries in 2 days!
First up, Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, KY..
This is the building where all of the oak barrels are stored. The bourbon is aged at least 2 years, and sometimes up to 20+
Most of the bourbon distillers use a recipe that roughly follows the following ratio of ingredients…
They were bottling Blanton’s the day we were there…
Kentucky = Bourbon & Horse Racing. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
(These are the bottle toppers that go on Blanton’s)
Here are all of the different labels they ferment and distill there… Wow.
So the day we took the tour, they just happened to be bottling Pappy Van Winkle “Family Reserve”. This is apparently a huge deal and people flock to the distillery from miles away just to get a glimpse of their beloved spirit in the making. I heard they only bottle it twice a year! …and sadly I haven’t even ever tried it.
This nice guy was at the end of the bottling line… I asked him what Pappy tastes like since I haven’t ever tried it. His response was, “If it doesn’t come in a can, I don’t drink it”. I laughed so hard.
Yours truly posing in front of a mural outside the distillery.
Next up, Woodford Reserve…
Open fermentation tanks!?? I had no idea that’s how they did it! Seriously, you can lean over and drop your camera in those things… and no one would even notice.
This is the fermentation tank, that is a lot of yeast eating up the sugars from the corn, rye and barley and pooping out alcohol. The bubbles in the image below is the CO2 being released during fermentation.
There are 3 rules that constitute a True bourbon…
1. The recipe has to be at least 51% corn
2. The bourbon must be aged for a minimum of 2 years in charred new oak barrels
3. Nothing can be added at bottling to alter the flavor
…and finally, a family portrait after a supreme taste test session at Four Roses Distillery…
…and here are a couple other random pictures from the trip… after all, you can’t go to Kentucky without shooting some guns.