Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Woodford Reserve....On the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Visiting Jordan in Kentucky this past weekend was such fun! It's great to visit and see her of course, but beyond that, she is getting to work in one of the most beautiful areas of our country. If you haven't been to the Lexington area in Kentucky, you just must do so. Of course I'm a bit partial and I freely admit it that, but those horse farms are some of the most beautiful places!

There are some other things to do as well and this weekend we decided to visit one of the distilleries that is in Versailles, KY, Woodford Reserve. It is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. ALL of the bourbon available is made within 75 miles of this distillery. Woodford is the smallest of all of the distillery's, but it's one of the older working distilleries in the area. It's nice to see such a small operation doing very well.
We visited on Sunday, which doesn't open until 1pm, however there were enough people there at noon, that they actually opened early! We got in on Tour #1 of the day, and learned all about bourbon making!
Did you know that All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey's are bourbon?? They have been brewing bourbon here on this property since the early 1800's.
Start at the Visitors Center which is where you purchase your ticket and can see the story of bourbon making visually here with some nice displays. Also the history of spirits in the U.S. history which have affected their industry.

 The tour begins in the distillery. The buildings are made of the limestone found all over Kentucky and they are gorgeous! They are on the National Historic Landmark registry as well.

It all begins with the corn.....and grain of choice.
Next is the fermentation process. This is why Woodford Reserve is so small, they only have 4 vats with which to work. They don't mind being small, they prefer and market the quality.
These are the three still used for making the bourbon and this is what makes Woodford Reserve unique. They are the only bourbon makers that still their mash three separate times.

Now's it's time for the bourbon to go into the barrels. All barrels are made of white oak by coopers. Do you know what a cooper is??? They are the artisans that make the wooden staved barrels by hand out of the white oak. These barrels are what give the bourbon their flavor. The bourbon will remain in these barrels for a period of years.....not a specified time at Woodford, but must pass the taste test prior to being bottle and available for sale.

This is the barrel storage warehouse!! Again another old beautiful limestone building. It is heated to be a part of the evaporation process of the bourbon flavoring as the temperature heat and cool.

 This is what one section of the barrel storage looks like inside the warehouse!

When the tour is complete it's back to the Visitor's Center and if you are over 21 you get a shot glass of Woodford Reserve Bourbon. We also decided to eat lunch here and they have a number of great lunch choices. They have a great deck outback and wraps around to the front porch so there are lots of places to enjoy your bourbon and lunch!
The views are quite nice as well since they are surrounded by horse farms as well. If you've ever been to Lexington you are aware that you will find horses of all shapes and sizes and made out of or covered with all sorts of items. These are two that were on the Woodford Reserve property.

Very enjoyable tour and learned more about Kentucky as well. Soon I will have to continue on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and compare the other distilleries to Woodford Reserve.


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