Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Around the holidays we like to stay far enough south that we don’t get the snow and ice but close enough to Ohio that we can drive up for the holidays. This year we chose Frankfort, KY as our stopping point. Well, Lee picked it and I think I know why. The RV park is only 10 minutes from Buffalo Trace Distillery (one of our favorite distilleries).

One of the first things we did when we got to Kentucky was finish the Central Craft Bourdon Trail, so Carolyn could get her second token.

To get her token, we visited Kentucky Artisan Distillery and Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Kentucky Artisan Distillery is home to Jefferson’s which is best known for their Ocean bourbon. We bought a bottle of Jefferson’s Ocean but haven’t tried it yet. We are curious if a barrel being stored at sea traveling the world tastes differently than one stored in a rick house on land. At Kentucky Artisan, we took a tour, we were able to see them bottling the bourbon. We weren’t able to finish the tour by going into the fermentation room because they were moving things around back there but to make it up to us, we got an extra tasting of Billy Goat Strut Bourbon, which really wasn’t bad.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company is a family run distillery that goes back five generations. The latest generation has restored the distillery and returned to the family heritage that is Peerless. Lee and I only did a tasting. The bourbon wasn’t bad, but we were disappointed in the prices. The cheapest bottle was $79 and all others costing $124.

Due to Covid, other distilleries in Louisville were closed, so we focused on Buffalo Trace which was right down the road and open. One thing we learned is that they generally always have their Wheatley Vodka, Buffalo Trace and Bourbon Cream available in the gift shop, but daily the put out different product which includes Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor small-batch, Blanton’s and Weller special reserve, with the occasional surprise such as Goose Island Bourbon Beer or the Single Oak Product. Since we were here for 2 months, we were lucky enough to be able to get them all. To be fair, Buffalo Trace limits all the daily products to one per customer, and Weller and Blanton’s is limited to one per customer every three months.

We also learned that if you collect all the Blanton’s bottles. Each bottle has a horse on it and is labeled with B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S and the horses looks like it’s running a race. Once you collect at the tops, you can send them to Buffalo Trace that they will put them in a barrel stave for free and send it back to you. So that it my next mission, which will clearly take a few years. But I already have B and L.

The best part about Buffalo Trace is that their tours and tasting are complimentary. So we took advantage of that and booked every tour we could. Due to covid, tours and tasting had to be booked ahead of time and had limited spots available. While there we were able to take 4 tours, which all included complimentary tastings.

Trace Tour – focuses on the history and science of bourbon making at Buffalo Trace.

Expansion Tour – walks you through the massive expansion Buffalo Trace is in the middle of. They are spending 1.2 billion dollars to double production of all their products.

Old Taylor Tour – focuses on E.H. Taylor the man who helped revolutionize the bourbon industry. Explore the original distillery and rick house he built on the property.

Bourbon Barrel Tour – takes you on the path the barrels go. Starting at delivery/inspection to filling and being loaded into a rick house. Learn about where the barrels come from, where they are stored and what happens to them when the distillery can’t use them anymore.

Buffalo Trace decorates for the holidays, and is the drive through light display in Frankfort, KY.

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