Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bourbon Trail, Buffalo Trace

We landed safely at Buffalo Trace after a lovely drive through the Kentucky countryside. Katiecakes and fine bourbon. Such a good pairing. Buffalo Trace is know for Blanton's, Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace bourbon and as we learned later, Kentucky Vodka.

Our guide, Freddie, made this whole trip worth it. He bragged about being conceived in one of the warehouses. His family has worked at the distillery for generations. He was so upbeat, so proud of his heritage and loved this place. We all fell immediately in love with Freddie. The tour was free too!

Warehouse H, where Blanton's is stored.

There were a series of overhead pipes everywhere we turned. They pumped steam into the warehouses to regulate the temperature all year long. The knocking of the steam is the sound I will associate with Buffalo Trace.

The history of the name of the distillery is a bit sad actually. The trail that the buffalo left behind was the trace. I remember learning that Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown in DC was the Buffalo Trace down to the Potomac River. Weird how those nuggets of knowledge pop up when you travel. 

Freddie staged the group for this great photo. I'm assuming all of the steam is pumped with water from the water tower.

Since we weren't on the official Bourbon Trail, he even stamped our passports.

We learned here that the hole in the barrel is filled with a bung, a wooden piece made out of a different type of wood, I think pine, that doesn't shrink as much with temperature changes as oak.

This is the bung and the hole is called the bung hole. Silly, but we all cackled with laughter. Bourbon can only be oaked in a barrel one time. Meaning the barrel can be used only once after it is charred. There are however double oaked bourbons that have been oaked in two different barrels. They are tasty.

That little building at the end of the lane holds every one millionth barrel of bourbon made on property. 

E walking.

Did you ever notice the differences in the tops of the Blanton's bottle stopper? There are eight different stoppers that spell BLANTONS.

The first is the letter B, and you can see the B on the back of the stopper. This stance is the stage where the horse is led to the gate of a horse race.

L- out of the gate, tail still lower.

A-tail straight back and the horse is flying down the track.

N-digs into the turn

T-the jockey gets the crop ready.

O-jockey uses the whip in the race. "Ooooo".

N-and down the stretch he goes, nose forward to win.

S, riders hand up in victory. For this horse race lover, I was thrilled.

The most disappointing part of the tour was the tasting. We tasted vodka! On a bourbon trail. It was weird. They didn't have any Blanton's for sale either. I know I saved all my dollars to spend here so it was a let down. Do ask for the private room here too. It's way more fun if your group stays private. 

Freddie poured a little bit of the White Dog Vodka into everyone's hands. We were told to smell it.

Then instructed to "smack the dog" by clapping our hands together.

Rub our hands together.

Smell them again. It smelled exactly like corn.

It was messy but entertaining.

This looks like bourbon, but I don't think it was. I think I blacked out at this point. Kidding, but I don't remember drinking any dark liquor on this tour. 

Troy got the bung as a souvenir. 

For the bung hole...tee hee! We also tried Bourbon Cream with root beer. Really nice combination but too sweet after a full day.

We went to three distilleries. It wasn't too much and you were crazy wreaked because each place only poured a tiny taste. So like the wine country, pace yourself and bring amazing friends. It was such a great group and the only thing missing was music in our crazy bus. It did take a full eight hours because of the distance, time and tasting. It felt like a really good balance of a day.

Thank you again Scott and Hedda for the heavy lifting with the plans. It was so much fun, I'm ready to go again.

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