Posted by: Jessie | June 19, 2010

First Stop: Woodford Reserve

The roads up to Woodford Reserve were lovely little windy two-lanes with very little traffic.  That is my favorite kind of road.  We took it easy since the roads were wet.  This part of Kentucky is so scenic. 

Woodford Reserve Visitor Center

The whole Woodford Reserve property is beautiful.  The people are friendly and helpful.  The buildings are very old.  The tour was excellent.  I wish I could remember more details, especially dates. 

The old buildings were built in the Scottish style

 This building is the distillery.  I don’t remember what year it was built, but the master distiller at the time was a chemist from Scotland.  This guy, whose name I can’t remember, was the first guy to figure out how to consistently make good bourbon.  He was the first guy to not only make good bourbon, but he knew why it was good.  He was instrumental in defining what makes  bourbon bourbon, as opposed to some other kind of whiskey. 

First they cook the grains. Woodford Reserve uses a mix of corn, rye, and barley malt.

Then they ferment it in these huge cypress vats. In this picture we are standing on the second floor. The bottom of the fermentation vats are on the first floor.

After it is done fermenting it gets distilled three times in copper pot stills. The pot stills preserve the flavor while reducing the water content and increasing the alcohol percentage.

It then goes into this vat to be adjusted to exactly the right proof before it goes into the barrels.

The barrels are rolled out of the distillery on iron tracks to the warehouse.

The warehouse also has Scottish architecture. They only have one warehouse.

Inside the warehouse.

This is the bottling and packaging area.

Our charming tour guide let me hold a medal-winning bottle while he took our picture at the tasting area.

This tasting area looks like a bar, but it’s not.  They are only allowed to give us each one taste.  No seconds.  They can’t sell you a drink.  Just one taste.  1 taste = 1 tablespoon of bourbon.  That’s all you get.  One tablespoon.  You are allowed to add water or ice if you want, but you only get one tablespoon of bourbon.  If you want more you can buy a bottle at the gift shop, but you are not allowed to open it on the premises.

If you ever go touring bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, be sure to stop at Woodford Reserve in Versailles, KY.  Everyone is friendly and charming, the tour guide is very knowledgable, and the bourbon is really good.  The staff has a lot of pride in their product.


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