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Bourbon And More Part One

Posted by on August 30, 2017

Hey Guys!! We spent two weeks in the Bourbon Capitol of the World! You might know it better as Bardstown, KY. We did so much during our two weeks in this area, I’m going to break it up into two different posts.

95% of all bourbon sold today is made in Kentucky.

There is an official Kentucky Bourbon Trail that includes ten distilleries spread out over Kentucky. If you pick up a KBT passport you can get a stamp at each distillery as you visit it. When you’ve got all ten stamps you can turn in the passport at the old court house in Bardstown to receive your free shirt! We hadn’t planned on doing the whole trail, but who can pass up a free shirt?

Kentucky country road.

Some of the distilleries were in town, but several were out in the country. The road in the picture above is very typical of the roads we traveled while in Kentucky! Very windy and very narrow…pretty much one lane.

To legally be considered bourbon, a whiskey must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.

We ended up going to twelve different distilleries. We didn’t do tours at all of them. We skipped tours at three due to timing.

Whiskey used to be so valuable that it could be traded for goods and services, just like money.

We were able to see different parts of the brewing process at different distilleries. At the one in the picture above we were able to taste the mash while it was brewing. It was kind of like a tasteless soggy oatmeal…not very good.

To be considered bourbon, the whiskey has to be distilled to no more than 160 proof.

My favorite part of the distillery tour is getting to visit the rick house. The rick house is where the bourbon barrels are stored to age.

The percentage of alcohol that evaporates during the aging process is called “the angel’s share”.

Each distillery has their own way of aging a barrel. In fact, each distillery usually has several different ways depending on the type of bourbon they’re working on.

A standard bourbon barrel holds 53 gallons of whiskey.

During Prohibition, the Government Revenuers who were tasked with finding illegal moonshine stills could look in the forest for trees that were starting to turn black. Check out the tree in the picture above. The bark is completely black with a sugar mold that’s the bi-product of the distilling process.

During Prohibition, the moonshine distillers would have to constantly move their operation because of the black sugar mold that grew on everything near the still.

The sugar mold gets on everything! Check out the lamp above.

A bourbon barrel can only be used once to age bourbon, but distilleries ship used bourbon barrels to Scotland and Ireland for the use in the maturation of Scotch and Irish whiskey.

Most of the rick houses are painted black to help hide the sugar mold.

During Prohibition, the only way to get whiskey was to get a prescription from your doctor. Whiskey is goof for what ails you.

Before Prohibition there were around 2,000 distilleries in Kentucky. During Prohibition six distilleries obtained a license to make medicinal whiskey. During the years of Prohibition, Kentucky saw some of it’s sickest days on record. There were right around 6 million prescriptions written for medicinal whiskey in thirteen years for a population of less than 1 million. During World War II the government used bourbon distilleries to make fuel alcohol and penicillin.

All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

Maker’s Mark Distillery is one of our favorite tours.

A bourbon barrel has to made of oak. Most of the trees come from the forests of Missouri.

My favorite part of the Maker’s Mark tour was this hallway!

Today there are around twenty distilleries in Kentucky.

The whole ceiling in that hallway is filled with Chihuly glass! It’s gorgeous!!

Each bottle of Maker’s Mark is hand-dipped in red wax.

The other very cool thing about the Maker’s Mark Distillery is getting to dip your own bottle!

Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon, but it’s not the only state to make it.

The Jim Beam Distillery is another one that stands out for us. The campus is set up like an old farm stead.

Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries fill over 1 million barrels with bourbon a year.

The tasting at Jim Beam was different from all of the other tours. Have you ever seen a bourbon dispenser?

Bourbon barrels must be charred in order to be compliant with the laws of making bourbon.

We ended our Bourbon Trail Adventures with a trip to the Kentucky Cooperage where most of the barrels are made. The picture above is actually from the Bulleit Distillery. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures at the cooperage. But Guys…it was really cool! If you ever get a chance to go visit one…do! We got to see the barrels made from logs to barrels…we got to see them getting charred and then tested to make sure they weren’t going to leak! The cooperage was one of the highlights of our entire time in Kentucky!

Un-aged bourbon goes by many names here are a few: white dog, moonshine, hooch, and white lightening.

We accumulated quite the collection of…souvenirs.

Rebecca Ruth is said to be the original maker of the bourbon ball.

The chocolate is my favorite.

Each year almost 120,000 mint juleps are sold during the two-day event known as the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

I’ve always been curious about mint juleps. At one of the distilleries we came across a mint julep mix. I had high hopes…I’ll let my face tell you what I thought about it.

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month…it’s also my birthday…if any one is looking for gift ideas…

I did find this little gem. Bourbon Cream by Buffalo Trace is…well, it’s a little magical. I like a little of this in some root beer…it’s soooo good!

Kentucky cows are very happy cows. The grain mash that’s leftover after the distilling process is called distiller’s grain (slop) and is given to farms to feed their cows.

And…then there’s the ice cream. It’s mine. Aaaallll mmmiiinnnne!!! *insert evil laugh here*

That’s it for the Kentucky Bourbon Trial! Stay tuned for Bourbon and More Part Two!!

See y’all down the road!


2 Responses to Bourbon And More Part One

  1. Grandma Becky

    I LAUGHED at Kentucky’s sickest days on record…. I think I feel a cough coming on. 🙂

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