Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bourbon Trail

The lack of posting the past few days is due to the fact that we have been travelling, camping, and without computer access.  We are currently in Indiana visiting my inlaws, but the past few days have been visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  When we return next week I plan to do in depth reviews of each but for now I thought I'd give a brief overview of our trip.  We visited 8 distilleries in essentially 3 days, 7 in Kentucky and 1 in Mt. Vernon, VA (George Washington's).  The thing that jumped out the whole time is that every distillery has their hook, or marketing slant.  Maker's Mark was like Disneyworld, with a recreation of the house where the Samuels family developed the brand.  Conversely, Wild Turkey was proud of their dillapidated apprearance.  As our tour guide said, "We're making bourbon here, not a tourist attraction."  Woodford Reserve was the country club of the industry, and so on.  Also, what was regarding as essential to the process at one distillery was laughed at at another.  Keep in mind that they are all using almost identical ingredients and overarching processes, a fact of which they are all very proud.  But they are equally proud of their supposed uniqueness.  Here is a list of competing claims by our multiple tour guides.  "We hammer our grains."  "Rolling the grain produces the best flavor."  "We ferment only in cyprus harvested from swamps."  "We think cyprus adds nothing and stainless steel does the trick."  "We are showing you the cool looking cyprus vats but there are actually 38 stainless steel ones behind that wall."  "We age in a multi story warehouses and then blend for optimum flavor."  "We age in a single story warehouse for consistency of flavor."  "We have one recipe."  "We have 10 recipes." 

And so on.  I am going to try and sort through the hoopla and rank and review the tours for you soon.  But at the end of the day, the tours were a lot of fun and we got to try some fine bourbon. 

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