On to the Woodford Reserve…. Distillery that is.

Spending a Sunday afternoon touring a historic distillery and sampling the some very nice bourbon.

Cut stone buildings define the character of this distillery.
Cut stone buildings define the character of this distillery.

The tour begin with a ride from the Visitor’s Center down the hill and across the tracks used to roll the barrels to the rickhouse.  The tracks and the barrels come out of the side of the building where they are filled and bunged.

Not a small gauge railroad, tracks are to direct barrels to be aged.
Not a small gauge railroad, tracks are to direct barrels to be aged.

Once inside, I was struck by the rather small size of the interior of the building.  But realizing that this is small batch bourbon at it’s best, that really made sense.

No huge distilling towers here, only the "pot stills" fro the small batch production.
No huge distilling towers here, only the “pot stills” for the small batch production.

An interesting note is these stills were made by copper-smiths in Scotland.   There is another spot on the floor for a future still that will be made this time in America.  And where but the town of whiskey road… Louisville Kentucky.

Forsyth & Sons Coppersmiths in Scotland
Forsyth & Sons Coppersmiths in Scotland

Even the “proof box” had a unique sort of charm matching the large copper stills.  Here is where the whiskey is sampled for proofing before being put in the barrels.  Remember at this point it’s still just whiskey.  It is the aging in the charred oak barrels that does the magic of making bourbon.

View of the proofing box where the whiskey is sampled.
View of the proofing box where the whiskey is sampled.

After the proof is set the whiskey is put into barrels and labelled with the date and batch number.

Remember that whiskey has to be aged to make bourbon.  So the date it went into the barrel is very important.
Remember that whiskey has to be aged to make bourbon. So the date it went into the barrel is very important.

From here the barrels follow those tracks we crossed coming down the hill.  And this is where they end up, the rickhouse.

It's pretty amazing to think that these barrels are going to remain here to mature for years.
It’s pretty amazing to think that these barrels are going to remain here to mature for years.

And the last step after it’s aged to maturity is to put it in bottles that are easier to handle than those big barrels.

Bottling and boxing line.
Bottling and boxing line.

Well the tour ended with an explanation of where this unique bourbon gets that special flavor.   The limestone rich water, the quality grain mix, the fermentation, the distillation, and finally the maturation in the oak barrels.  These five elements combine to make this bourbon.

The five essential elements of Woodford Reserve bourbon.
The five essential elements of Woodford Reserve bourbon.

This wonderful tour was completed with a very nicely done tasting of this fine bourbon.

The perfect end to a perfect tour.
The perfect end to a perfect tour.

 

Where will we go next?  I’m not sure.  I’ve got several projects going at the same time including an upgrade to a larger van to pursue our travels.  So, I guess you’ll have to come back by and see where we end up.

 

Until next…

Get out, Be Safe and Go adventure.

Get away trip to the Gorge

Ok so I couldn’t stay on the Bourbon trail with another trail calling.  Besides, Layla wanted to camp out.

Layla leading the way...
Layla leading the way…

We started hiking in search of a place to stay the night and camp when we came upon a very unusual camp…

Tentsile in the trees, a newer way to camp.
Tentsile in the trees, a newer way to camp.

I’ve seen pictures of these but never one “in the wild”.   I can see some real advantages to this, the greatest being not having to find level ground.  It has a “hatch” in the center for access.

Out the hatch!
Out the hatch!

I apologize for the quality of the video, it was shot with a Nikon CoolPix because I was not carrying any actual video gear.  But I couldn’t pass the opportunity to share this with everyone.

Talking with them about this unique form of shelter was great, but we had to find a place of our own.  It was only a short distance around the trail that I discovered why they choose that spot.

When solo hiking it’s best to not take unnecessary chances, regardless of what you may see on the TV reality shows.  Which those shows are not reality but entertainment.  So, we passed the tentstile camp and continued to where this trail ran out for us.  I didn’t want to take a chance of a tumble down the cliff trying to traverse this edge.

Layla says it's the end of this trail
Layla says it’s the end of this trail

So we backtracked a bit and found a place to stay for the night.  Put up the hammock, laid down the ground cloth, and strung up the tarp for cover.

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

It was cozy and warm and a perfect way to rest from a great day on the trail.

Layla living the good life.
Layla living the good life.

So we crashed for the night.  Yes, Layla does sleep with me in the hammock.  She leads such a hard life.

 

Well maybe next time we’ll be back on the Bourbon Trail, if we don’t get distracted.    😉

 

Get out, Be safe, and go adventure.

See ya soon

 

Back on the trail of Bourbon

Back on the trail and this time in Anderson county near Lawrenceburg Kentucky.

Four Roses near Lawrenceburg Kentucky
Four Roses near Lawrenceburg Kentucky

This tour starts just like the bourbon with the corn.

Receiving area for the grains
Receiving area for the grains
Grains are checked for quality and moisture content
Grains are checked for quality and moisture content

There’s a lot of decision made in this little shack.  A whole truck load of grain could be rejected if it does not measure up.

From there it is sent to the mill to be ground and stored to make the mash.

Here it is ground and stored as meal
Here it is ground and stored as meal

It’s then mixed with the yeast that begins the fermentaion cycle.  They have been using the same yeast recipe since it requires a very small amount of yeast to start.  I guess a little yeast not only leavens the whole loaf but the entire pot.

Where the working yeast is stored
Where the working yeast is stored

And now the magic begins…. fermentation!

Fermentaion vat
Fermentaion vat

And then the process of cooking of the alcohol begins in the stills.

Vertical still
Vertical still

Now just because it says “beer still” don’t be misled.  this is not actually beer but rather one of the first stages of the process.  it will go from here to the doubler and then be placed in the barrels.

Doubler is where the proof is raised once more before being put in the barrels.
Doubler is where the proof is raised once more before being put in the barrels.
Yes the liqour is still clear at this stage
Yes the liqour is still clear at this stage

It’s only after being put in the barrels and taken through the maturation process by aging that bourbon takes on that color and flavoring.  The true magic is in the barrels and how they are charred and how they are stored during aging.

As with all bourbons they must be stored in charred oak barrels for at least two years to be called straight bourbon.

The next stop???  Well for me it will be the Woodford Reserve near Versailles Kentucky.

So until then…. “Get out, Be safe, and go Adventure.”