After we finished in Dayton yesterday, we headed South and took a slight diversion through Carrollton and onto an intersection on the highway at Clermont and Bardstown, Kentucky.
Heading East to Bardstown (totally not knowing where we were going at the time) we happened into Bardstown only to realise we were destined to be in this spot!!!
Bardstown, after all, is the heart of Bourbon country, we are right in the midst of the Bourbon trail, including Jim Beam, Four Roses, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Willett and Makers Mark distilleries. With other famous ones further away.
Staying at the Bardstown Parkview Motel for the night, caught up on the blog from the past few days, worked out adjustments for patterns for a certain town suit (Crossdraw Jac), pinned some corsets ready for stitching and started writing a couple of articles.
This morning we headed 'downtown' to the Visitors Centre, seeing some amazing old buildings, this area has been here since 1780!
We first went up to the Civil War Museum, a beautifully displayed collection according to civil war eras. They have so many fantastic prices from this period it is incredible. This rivals the one we saw in Baxter Springs a couple of years ago.
The Bardstown Village, a recreation using original buildings from the surrounding area is amazing, just didn't get to see in all the buildings as it was raining!!
Back up the hill to see the 'Women of the Civil War' Museum and War Memorial Museum, both with much interest and artefacts as well.
From here it was back down through town (we had walked about 2 blocks and usually a block is a mile), heading to the car and to the tavern. Well it was lunchtime!?!
The Old Talbott Tavern is amazing! 125 varieties of bourbon is there claim to fame, however this beautiful old building and the tavern have been in existence since 1797.
We tried the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is spectacular at 8.2%abv and coupled with their signature BBQ pulled pork sandwich is divine. Christie was amazing, sharing some history with us.
The Jesse James bourbon was only named and brought to the tavern because Jesse James once stayed here. There are also bullet holes in the walls upstairs where he fired off his gun.
Some bourbons may have catchy names but really only for naming and if less than two years are not actually a bourbon anyways.
We took a quick trip up the stairs of the tavern and there it was, bullet holes from Jesse James gun after a loss or feud during cards into the now, very charred murals.
We hit the road and headed out to the Four Roses distillery. Why did we pick this one you may ask? Well, as far as we knew, it wasn't that commercialised, we liked the look of the bottles and….we just had to try something different. For $5 each for the tour, it was very interesting and well worth the stop.
Our tour guide was Debbie, last run for the day, so really we had a personalised tour with only the two of us on it.
The Four Roses brand came about in the 1880's (or some time thereafter) so named after the southern belle he married when she turned up to a ball with four roses on her corsage. (That's the story in a nutshell, there's more too it and more romantic than my account)
Apparently around 1958 it was purchased by an overseas company, however in 2003 and later years it was repurchased. Now all labels are made and bottled in the US again.
The distillery is in Lawrenceburg, the distillate is sent here for barreling and bottling. Before its trucked out, the sampling there is confirmed with the original before sent here, sampled again here to confirm. It is barrelled at 120 proof. Barrel aging occurs for 5 years. The white oak barrels are used once only.
The nozzles are where the distillate is put into the barrel. It takes 45 secs to fill and a poplar wood bung put in. Poplar, provides no weight or colour to the bourbon. It is then stencilled with barrel head information. Ie: their brand name, tax number, county number etc. Two tankers, 280 barrels a day. Then out into the rick houses for ageing.
The charred inside of the barrels are from a 1 to 4 level. Once used, some barrels get shipped off overseas for whiskey to be aged in. The barrels are made in Lebanon, Kentucky and Missouri.
Chill filtering occurs for the yellow label and single barrel where the fatty acids are filtered out. 66% of flavour will come from barrel and 100% of the colour will come out but you will lose colour when filtered, so to avoid losing too much colour they soak the filters in bourbon and ash also! Smells bloody divine.
Bottling now is mostly automated but the single barrel bottles are still finely labeled (by hand) with the 'mapping your barrel' markings. Like a latitude and longitude marking of where the barrel was stored in the rick house.
As the Japanese market is still number one, different labelling is provided for the 80 and 86 proof that is shipped out to them.
They try and bottle out, same as quantity in. Approx 200 bottles from ea barrel, 280 barrels a day!!
There are 20 rick houses, 4 new ones coming, hold 24,000 barrels, each sits on 1 acre of land. The moats are so if one was to catch fire and roll out, it will only go into the moat, same reason for having buildings set so far apart. Single level 6-7 degree difference in natural or ambient temperature, if taller than they can get a 37 degree difference. Mother Nature is the only thing governing the barrel control on ageing.
Ahhhhhh, the smell as you walk into the rick house! Look down the walkway, yes it's a walkway! 69 barrels in length.
Yes, the barrel handler guys, actually walk this narrow walkway down the rick and make sure they are bung side up.
We had 3 samples of bourbon at the end of the tour, you get to keep the glass and of course we bought a couple different bottles and souvenirs.
From here we did a quick trip to the Jim Beam factory, took some pics and I know his would be a sensational tour too but we've done the Jack Daniels one and really wanted to do something different. No offence, as we do drink it often.
Here's cheers! With whatever you're drinking!