Sunday, March 18, 2012

Touring the Bourbon Trail

You’re right.  Typically bourbon and motorcycling don’t mix, but when you are talking about touring the Bourbon Trail, it is a perfect marriage. 

The Bourbon Trail is made up of six bourbon distilleries just west of Lexington, Kentucky where ninety five percent of all bourbon is made.  In 1999 the Kentucky Distillers Association formed an alliance with these six bourbon crafters including; Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Makers Mark, Wild Turkey, Heaven Hill, and Jim Beam, to help promote the Bourbon industry and this alliance has proven to be successful. Every year thousands of bourbon lovers come from all over the United States to tour the Bourbon Trail.  Each of the distilleries offer interesting tours that allow visitors see how bourbon is crafted from start to finish. The distilleries are located in close proximity to one another, but I suggest a minimum of two days to complete your visits. 

Recently I paid a visit to the smallest and oldest of the crafters; Woodford Reserve.  This distillery is a registered landmark and teeming with history predating the Civil War. In fact, Woodford Reserve has the only surviving stone aging warehouse in America.   The informative tour gave me a close up view of exactly how bourbon was crafted, beginning with the cooking of the mash to a tasting of the final product and gave me a better appreciation of the time and care that goes into one of my favorite drinks.

Sour mash in 100 year old cedar fermenting tanks

Copper pots used for triple distillation

Note the fill date.  This barrel will not be ready for 7-10 years.

Aging house

Bourbon.  Yes, I had both of them.

But bourbon isn’t the only reason to visit the Bluegrass state.  Kentucky offers some of the best motorcycle touring roads in the country, as well as expansive horse farms, and many historic villages and hamlets.  You owe it to yourself to spend some time here.


Brady Steffl said...

Looks like a whole hail of a lot of fun. I might need to make it a multi-day trip. You know, I think I even know a few people who would be interested in making a thing out of this. Hmm.

Behind Bars

Rick Slark said...

It is a great trip. You guys would love it.