Bourbon Trail 2014:
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Bourbon Trail 2014: [Day 1 - Friday] [Day 2 - Saturday] [Day 3 - Sunday]

Friday, July 25, 2014: We left home at 6:00 AM and were crossing the Ohio River at the Kentucky border by 8:30 AM, ...
... arriving at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky shortly before 10:00 AM.
We snapped a couple of photos and then waited just a couple of minutes before the next tour started.
This gentleman was our guide for the 90 minute tour. We had inquired in advance about taking Buffalo Trace's highly recommended Hard Hat Tour, but it was not offered during July.
Here is one of the warehouses. Bourbon barrels were visible through the open windows of the warehouse.
We watched a film and passed around samples of grains, learning a lot about bourbon making. At this point, all of the information was new to us. From the movie room, we walked through this hidden entrance to a warehouse.
Here is where we got our first whiff of the heavenly aroma of the "angel's share," the portion of the bourbon that evaporates. It was also our first closeup view of the bourbon barrels. Eventually, we collected photos like these at most of the distilleries we visited.
We visited a bottling room where workers were bottling, labeling, and packing bottles.
Here's a pretty display of some of the bottles being processed that day. In front is a display of the custom bottle stoppers available, with each representing one letter in the name Blanton's.
This machine was sealing bottles of Eagle Rare.
And this one was filling bottles of Blanton's. Further down the line, workers hand-labeled the bottles, topped them with a custom stopper, and packed them in boxes.
At the end of our tour, it was time for the tastings.
From left to right, we sampled White Dog, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Eagle Rare bourbon, and Buffalo Trace's vodka. It was a rookie mistake to sample the White Dog first, but we don't know if we would have enjoyed the other three any more if we hadn't tried it first. At this point, we realized that we were not bourbon drinkers and this tour might prove challenging. Even the vodka did not go down well.
However, all was not lost, because our next tasting involved the amazing elixir called Bourbon Cream, accompanied by the first bourbon balls we had on the trip. Both were very delicious. We also got a wooden bung, which is a round wood plug used to close the bourbon barrels after filling.
Next, we did a little shopping in the gift shop, taking home a Buffalo Trace mini/shot glass gift set, a jar of barbecue sauce, and a bottle of tasty Bourbon Cream.
We were delighted to find a Zaxby's conveniently located on the way to our next stop, so we stopped for a nice lunch. The family who had been on our Buffalo Trace tour also stopped here and we met up with them again at our next stop, ...

... Woodford Reserve in Versailles, Kentucky.

The visitor center here was brand new and absolutely beautiful.
This was one of two wall displays on either side of the ticketing counter, so we took this opportunity to take a photo to use as a backdrop for our phones.
Twenty five minutes after arriving, we were loaded into the tour van and driven to the starting location. Here's a horse sculpture made from bourbon barrels.
This is the building where much of the tour took place.
Our guide gave us an overview of bourbon making and what makes Woodford Reserve unique among distilleries.
Then we got a look around the distillery. The base of a wood fermenting tank is visible on the right in this photo.
And here are the tanks up close, bubbling away. The aroma is powerful and fascinating.
Here's a photo opportunity: the three copper distillers that turn mash into alcohol.
To the left was the barrel-filling station.
This wall featured the names of people and corporations who had purchased entire barrels of Woodford Reserve bourbon.
We left that building to visit a warehouse where we enjoyed the angel's share aroma again and got the next in our series of barrel photos.
Then we visited the bottling building, ...
... where we saw the distinctive rectangular bottles of Woodford Reserve bourbon being filled.
Here's a track for rolling barrels of bourbon located right next to the spot where we waited for our ride back to the visitor center.
After the hour-long tour, we visited the gorgeous tasting room.
We sampled Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select, and one delicious bourbon ball. Nope, still not bourbon fans, sorry.
We only purchased some worcestershire sauce in the gift shop, as we had vowed to get something at each stop for our son-in-law's Christmas gift.
We were doing great on time, so we took a break and enjoyed some non-alcoholic beverages in the shade. We tried a bottle of Diet Ale-8-One, a ginger ale-like soft drink made in Winchester, Kentucky.
Next, we drove through the Kentucky countryside lined with expensive horse farms, to ...
... Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, home of Wild Turkey. A billboard welcomed us to town with the words, "See the house that Jimmy built."
Wild Turkey had recently built a brand new visitor center. Our schedule called for simply visiting the gift shop, but we had arrived in time for the last tour of the day.
However, we were tired and opted not to go on the tour. Instead, we took our time with our visit and our shopping. We spent a few minutes sitting in the very comfortable turkey chairs in front of the entrance.
Once inside, there were even more turkeys, and these were a little more life-like.
We spent some time visiting the Wild Turkey museum.
We had no idea you could buy pre-mixed Wild Turkey cocktails in cans. How very convenient. You know, if you liked bourbon at all.
This is a map of the extensive Wild Turkey grounds.
Here's a little something for the kids who have always dreamed of riding a turkey fashioned from a bourbon barrel.
The lawn behind the visitor center leads to the edge of the bluff. If you peer over the bushes, you can see the large bridge that leads into town where we first spotted the Wild Turkey billboard.
Here's the back of the visitor center. The second floor is where the bourbon tastings are held. We could see it but could not get to it, and we slightly regretted not taking the tour.
But that's okay, because there was lots to see in the gift shop.
We came out of there with a full-size bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey bourbon, a gift bag holding three mini bottles of various Wild Turkey bourbon, and a bottle of Wild Turkey habaƱero sauce.

We checked into our hotel in Lawrenceburg then headed to dinner at Hunter's Grill where we had a giant steak dinner with all the southern trimmings for a very reasonable price. A visit to the local dollar store followed by a Dairy Queen run later in the evening completed our romantic evening.

Day 2 >

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