heading to Bardstown

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heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:49 pm

Okay, My girlfriend has surprised me with a trip to Bardstown next week for our vacation. I plan to hit Heaven Hill, Four Roses and Makers Mark Distilleries. I'm looking for some other suggestions. I'll be arriving Sunday Eveneing and leaving Wednesday. What are some must do's??
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Dump Bucket » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:23 pm

Buffalo Trace is a must....
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:20 pm

Day 1: After a long days drive we, my girlfriend and I, made it through Lexington and decided to stop at the Woodford Distillery when we saw the signs. The distillery is by far the most beautiful of all the distilleries that we visited. The ground and the buildings are very picturesque and the tour of the distillery was pretty interesting. The only thing we missed was the tasting since we showed up on Sunday. I didn't mind too much because Woodford is not my favorite bourbon. We checked into the Parkview hotel and unloaded the bike. We rode around a little around Bardstown just to get the lay of the town. We ended up at the Talbot Inn for dinner. Average food, average prices but our waitress was great and we tried a couple of bourbons with dinner (Pappy Van Winkle 23yr, FR Yellow label to name a few) and finished off the meal with a bread pudding in bourbon sauce that was fantastic. Of course we had no luck in buying anything to take back to the hotel at the local store since it was Sunday.

Day 2: The plan is to get up early and ride to Versailles and see the Buffalo Trace, Wild turkey and Four Roses Distilleries. We took advantage of the continental breakfast at the hotel and made a quick trip to Liquor World to check on prices as based on the gift shop prices at WoodFord's I figured I could get a better price at a local store. We got a late start to the distilleries due to some rain blowing through. After an hours ride to Buffalo Trace we had a nice tour of grounds. We actually got to see them rolling barrels from one of the warehouses. They even have a "Barrel Crossing" similar to a railroad crossing. They also were bottling Blanton's which we got to see. I was pretty amazed at how low tech both of the distilleries have been so far. The Woodfords pot stills, cypress fermenting vats and BT's bottling operation. The tasting at BT's was very minimal. We got to sample their organic vodka, and some of the BT and Eagle Rare. Off to Wild Turkey, we got there and knew ahead of time that the distillery for WT was closed for the summer. We got to view the distillery from a distance and when the tour was starting to head for the warehouse we decided to head for Four Roses since I really wanted to see it and we had been running late due to the weather. I will say the Wild Turkey seemed to be very impersonal. At least not as quaint as Woodford's and BT. We arrived at Four Roses just in time to catch the majority of the last tour. The tasting was pretty enjoyable and we got to sample the Yellow Label, Small Batch and Single Barrel. This was our second taste of Four Roses Yellow label since we had some while at the Talbot, we both are liking it quite a bit. There is also a list that was shared with us that showed us that Four Roses would be available in the DC area sometime in 2008! Since we hadn't eaten all day since our light breakfast we needed to eat. The Four roses gift shop clerk directed us to a little local diner with an all you can eat buffet of home cooked style food. After we got back to Bardstown we ran up to Liquor World and loaded up on bourbon. Four Roses did dominate since we can't get it back home...yet. One of the selections my girlfriend made was a Four Roses Barrel Strength 120th anniversary. We settled back in at our hotel room and sat outside, sipped this great FR Barrel Strength and I smoked a Rocky Patel OSG. What a great end to a great day.

Day 3: Today we slept in it is a vacation after all. The plan was to get breakfast on the road, then go to Maker's Mark and hit Heaven Hill on the way back. MM is an 18 mile ride on country back roads. what a beautiful leisurely ride as the weather is perfect today. MM is also a very beautiful and picturesque distillery. It ranks as number two after Woodford's. The tasting at MM is pretty good as they let you actually sample the white dog which is the raw distillate before it is barreled. The tasting of the MM bourbon was pretty informative as well as there was actually some instructing in in the aroma, tasting and finish. Hand dipping your own bottle was pretty cool too. All in all a great tour. If you only have time for one, I recommend this one. We stopped at Heaven Hill on the war back to Bardstown. HH makes my favorite, EJ 18YO. The HH Heritage Center is pretty nice and the gift shop is the best in my opinion. It is also the closest to Barsdtown. After the film and the tour of the warehouse, we were brought back into the tasting room. This is the best tasting set up of the six distilleries we have visited. We sampled the Evan Williams 10yr Single barrel and also the EJ 18yr. I was surprised to hear that the recipes for both are exactly the same, the only difference is the aging. Amazing difference in the bourbons. I will also mention that most of the distillery tours identified using various chars for their barrels. I think all were in the 3 or 4 range for char but the HH uses a number six char, which probably explains why several people here seem to think EJ 18YO has too much charcoal taste in their reviews. Though I have tasted some great bourbons on this trip I still measure everything against my favorite Elijah Craig 18yo!! We decided to finish the day at the hotel pool and forgo the Jim Beam Distillery. Tomorrow we are off to Louisville to do the "Urban Bourbon Trail", sounds like more fun to be had.
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby bunghole » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:04 pm

Sounds like you and your gal pal are having far too much fun! Enjoy your ride, and post photos when you can.

Linn
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:36 pm

Okay, this is long… just a warning. Some photos to follow on a nother post.
Day 4: We left Bardstown and headed to Louisville to see about the "Urban Bourbon Trail". On the way we stop at Jim Beam and do their little tour. The tour wasn't much. A short film and then a quick self-guided walk through the grounds, but we did get to do a tasting of Knob Creek and Baker's in the Beam house. I think we are a little tired of touring distilleries. We arrive in Louisville and check into the Brown Hotel. They gave us a great price with a military discount and the place is beautiful. Built in 1923 you definitely get the sense of how the well to do traveled in the early part of the century. We went to the visitor's bureau just a few blocks up Fourth Street and got our UBT passports. We where told by the lady manning the desk tha one of the eight bars, Park Place on Main was closed but if we did the rest of the trail we would still get our gift. It is early afternoon when we hit our first bar, a place called Blu in the Marriott Hotel. The bar wasn't open yet, but management found someone (Scott Hopditch) to get us our bourbon selections when we mentioned we were doing the Urban Bourbon Trail. I selected a George T. Stagg Barrel Proof and Becky ordered a Mint Julep as that was one thing she wanted to try on our trip. The Stagg was a whopping 144.8 proof and I got a generous pour. What phenomenal bourbon! The management at the hotel was great and I was truly impressed with their willingness to support our trail endeavors. We next hit the Makers Mark Bourbon House on Fourth Street just a few blocks away. The place was empty but Aaron our barkeep was very friendly and especially opened up when we mentioned the trail and started talking bourbon. I ordered a flight consisting of Elijah Craig 18yo, Bernheim Wheated Bourbon and Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit. I wanted to compare the EJ18 and Berheim. The WT I chose since I heard plenty about it but had never bought any. Becky opted for water so I guess the julep was more than she expected. Next on the list we decided to try Jockey Silks at the Galt House Hotel. The bar was closed for the week so we rebounded and ended up at Proof on Main, which wasn’t too far around the corner and on our arrival proved to be somewhat popular since it was doing a good business that afternoon. I selected the Rye flight, which consisted of Old Overholt, Sazerac and Old Potrero. Becky decided to try a Manhattan. The Overholt was pretty good but had a definite rye heat to it. The Sazerac was the spiciest of the three as I remember it and was the least favorite of the day. During our sit at the bar the barmaid (I forget her name) mentioned that they had their own barrel selection of Woodford Reserve. I remember during our distillery tour our guide had mentioned that you can select a pairing of two out ten barrels I believe and have that bottled for you specially. I asked to try their selection. According to the bottle it consisted of barrels 2 & 7. We bid our adu to the Proof and marched off to the Old Seelbach Bar. This sits just off the lobby of another old grand hotel called the Seelbach. We had tried to make reservations here first but they didn’t offer a military discount to retired military…only active duty. Not an uncommon policy I’m sad to say. Especially since during our visit to the bar we heard that they were only 30% booked. We had the place to ourselves at first. This time I tried a Noah’s Mill offering. The bottle said it was 114.3 proof and from batch 07-122 not that that meant anything of significance to me. It was another great bourbon and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Even at that proof it was very smooth and didn’t have a hot finish. Becky opted to try the signature bar drink. The Seelbach Cocktail which consisted of bourbon and champagne. It was okay, but not my type of drink. I will say that Becky’s glass did go empty by the time we left. Our plan had firmed up that we would catch a cab to the Bourbon Bistro and end up at our own hotel bar. At this point we were also toying with coming back to catch some night life at Fourth Street Live for a free concert that was setting up outside Maker’s Bar. I was a little reluctant to do the cab ride since there were so many places within walking distance. Well we did catch a cab out to Bourbon Bistro. What a pleasant surprise. This was by far the most enjoyable stop and it was only a quick $10 ride. The restaurant is a very nicely decorated place with the bar at the front and the dining room towards the rear. We ended up having a very long conversation with the owner Jason Brauner. In addition to my small batch flight of Ridgemont 1792, Bakers’ and Basil Haydens for me and a wheat sampler for Becky we also ordered some great crab-cake appetizers. We had great conversation and a little more great bourbon of Jason’s recommendation. When we decided to get a cab, Jason gave us a ride back to the Brown Hotel. I will have to admit that by this time I wasn’t taking any notes about our Urban Trail but we did buy Jason a round in the Brown Hotel Bar and it was very good, but I don’t recall what it was. Jason soon left us and we went up to our room for the evening. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously and everyone on the Urban Bourbon Trail was unbelievably helpful and friendly and more than willing to discuss their selections and recommendations for bourbon. Of course morning came very early for us and we were expected at my folk’s house later that day in Ohio. We walked down to the visitor center and turned in our passports to claim our UBT T-shirts and a small flask. I recommend the taking the time to do the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville but suggest making it a two-day adventure. I don’t think we could have done it if they were all open. My thanks Scott, Aaron and most definitely Jason who made this a truly great side trip to cap off our personal Kentucky Bourbon adventure!
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:50 pm

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Potstills at Woodford's Reserve
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:58 pm

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Barrels at Wooford's
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:02 pm

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Makers Mark Stills
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Last edited by Luv2ryd2002 on Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:11 pm

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Statue of Booker Noe at Jim Beam Distillery
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Luv2ryd2002 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:18 pm

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Becky with her Mint Julep...One hell of a mint sprig
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby PaulO » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:27 am

Wow, it sounds like you two had a real good time. Last time I was in KY (Louisville) I had good luck shopping at a huge store on Fern Vally Rd. a short distance East of the airport. I think it's called Liquor Barn or Depot. They had a huge long isle of bourbon. My impression was they sold basically everthing currently being made except for the export stuff that's only for Japan. When I walked in the U2 song "It's A Beautiful Day" started playing in the store. It really did. I will have to check out some of the bars and restaurants next time. My brother is married to a girl from KY and they visit her relatives fairly often. Next ime I find out he's going I may give him some money and a shopping list.
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:42 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
Joe :D
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Re: heading to Bardstown

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:26 pm

Jason and his partner John are both great guys and very knowledgable about bourbon. You should have been in Louisville when they had their personal selection of Woodford Reserve. It was some of the best bourbon I have ever drank so you know i like their taste in bourbon! You are right in that the bourbon trail is 8 bars with 50 or more bourbons on their back bar. To do them proper would take about 45 minutes to an hour each so with travel time you are talking an 8 hour day to complete the trail.

It looks as if your trip to Kentucky was enjoyable and Becky does seem to enjoy the mint julep in the photgraph, but I would recommend she try an old fashioned cocktail on her next bourbon trail adventure. It is a better drink in my opinion and legend has it that the old fashioned cocktail was created here in Louisville.
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