Some of this is after the fact, but 2011 has been quite a year for trips regarding bourbon. My wife and I live in Columbus, OH but have made 3 trips to the Bluegrass (Bourbon) State this year. In April we traveled for Maker's Mark. We spent a rainy night in Lexington in a huge tent for Bill Samuels retirement party. What a crazy night that was; it seemed like a couple thousand people were there, mostly dressed pretty nice with many hats or ties adorned with red wax. There were a couple beautiful women hanging upside down from a chandelier pouring champagne to anyone who walked by underneath. Ha, what stomach muscles they must have. The next day it was out to the distillery in Loretto for a chilly Ambassador's day. Pretty fun all in all with my wife getting to meet Mr. Samuels. MM46 and MM are her favorites.
In September we attended the Kentucky Bourbon Festival for the first time. We couldn't get there until Friday evening so missed a couple days of activities. But it was still very enjoyable. We really found out what newbies we were as most of the special events required reservations and were sold out. After a couple walks around the grounds we decided we'd better taste some bourbon, and luckily there were several to choose from in the drinking area. Funny though, most people were drinking cheap beer. Saturday we took a nice drive to the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and went on a very nice tour. At the end of the tour we got to sample the Elijah Craig 18 which was quite tasty. Just prior to that weekend, I think, the 2011 Parker's had been released. Pretty tempting but I had to save my pennies and didn't buy it.
Ah, but life is about living and learning, correct? Last year we got shut out of finding a hotel, and decided against going with no place to stay. This year, we had a room on the outskirts of town (maybe should have reserved even earlier?) and were shut out of the aforementioned special events. Who knows, maybe next year we'll stay right downtown and get into some things.
The third trip was for BTAC. In late 2010 I'd read so many posts about these releases I wanted to try one (or more). But, I quickly found out they were all gone. This year I was prepared. I was pretty sure they wouldn't reach Ohio. But on our journeys, we had discovered the Party Source in Newport, KY. I called to inquire and was told they would not know until the last minute when the release would be. The best they could do was recommend I get on their mailing list. Lo and behold, I got an email Wednesday that the BTAC would go on sale Friday morning at 8:00am. I made this trip solo; got up pretty early and was on the road by 5:20. I arrived at the store 7:05 and found 6 guys already in line ha! As we waited for 8:00 more and more people showed up and I bet there were 50 or more when the store opened. We were joking with each other that we must have problems with alcohol if we were waiting in a line to buy some. I didn't offer that I had driven almost 2 hours to get in that line! The store opened right at 8:00 and by 8:06 I was back in my car headed for work.
I know these are limited releases but gosh.... The rules were that each person could buy 1 bottle of Stagg and 1 other bottle if they chose. If they didn't want the Stagg, they could still only buy 1 of the others. I had decided I would get a Stagg and a Weller. But, the 3rd guy in line got the last bottle of Weller! I ended up with the Stagg and a bottle of Handy Sazerac. I made it back to Columbus and my work by 10:00, what a trip. People were asking me if I'd accidentally slept in. Ha, little did they know. I'll have to make some other posts about the tastings.
So that's my tale for 2011. Who knows what 2012 will bring? Of course, there are still several weeks left in 2011.