Kentucky Bourbon Trail- Part 2 - Frankfort
A short move north to Frankfort, KY placed us in the heart of some of our favorite distilleries on the tour.
We found our new favorite Bourbon at the Woodford Distillery. The Double Oaked Reserve is the way to go! This is one of the older and more established distilleries. It is Kentucky’s oldest distilling site where Elijah Pepper began crafting whiskey in 1812. The fermenting vats are of old wood and the smell is something you will never forget. The iconic stills are an integral part of branding and show up on all of the barrels. They use rails to roll barrels around the compound to the filling station. Not sure how the guys in the bottling area hold up all day. The bourbon smell is overpowering and is likely to make one a little goofy by the end of a day. They sold the barrel tops in the store, which is now our steering wheel table in the coach.
Just a couple of miles from our RV Park was the Buffalo Trace Distillery. This was the home of the only free tour and tasting we came across. The name comes from the fact that buffalo crossed the river right where the distillery now stands. It was another facility that is a national historic landmark. And they are really gearing up for growth. The aerial pictures show new barrel aging buildings under construction at the upper right. They had a great little lunch place and a good tour. OK, why are there iron bars only on the bottom two stories of the Bonded Barrel Warehouse? Cause there were two keys, one for the distiller and one for the Federal Government. Nothing was supposed to leave the building without them knowing (and taxing it). However it would be possible to push a barrel out the window. But at two stories it would destroy the barrel making the effort useless. So.... bars only on the first two stories. Those Feds are SMART!
Another great distillery with excellent branding. They had an interesting architectural design for the area. And they let you keep the glasses after the tour, which is nice....
One of the most well known distilleries. So the story is that one of the plant workers thought he could improve the existing Bourbon and started to experiment on the side. By chance he was invited to a hunting trip for wild turkey with some of the distillery owners and a distributor. The bourbon ran out (not sure I believe that part) and the worker offered his batch. The distributor claimed it was the best Bourbon he had tasted and asked where it came from. The distillery owners were in the dark, but the worker gave them full credit. His name is not known. The distributor suggested the Wild Turkey name and ultimately purchased the distillery. So the moral of the story is always give credit to your superiors as good things will happen..... oh, wait...
When flying over the distillery I ran across some interesting bridges right next to it. They are visible through the tasting room windows. While on the tour we asked about them and heard an interesting story. The railroad bridge had been abandoned since the late 1800's. One day a man came asking about it in the local area. He ended up making an offer of $100,000 for it and the offer was accepted. Turns out that is now the highest bungee jumping bridge in the country. And no, we did not jump...
That brings us to the end of the Bourbon Trail.... for now. We were not able to make it to Louisville and many of the other distilleries. But that means we plan for another trip to visit those. One regret is not being able to share the smells. Whether in the fermenting area, distilling or in the barrel buildings the smells were amazing and unforgettable. So if you want to get the full effect....
You just have to go!