Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Kentucky Whiskey Bourbon Distilleries

(Our southwest trip started May 1. All of my posts were written as the trip went along but were not posted live until we returned. If you want to read all the posts related to the trip, click on "southwest" in the label section below).

We visited two whisky bourbon distilleries on our trip: Historic Tom Moore Distillery and Maker’s Mark Distillery. Want to know what makes a whiskey a bourbon? The mash must be at least 51% corn. Learn something new every day.

The Historic Tom Moore Distillery advertises itself as the only full distillery tour in Bardstown. But it was a disappointment as we learned they do not ferment in the summer time. It was a short tour but they did give us a generous tasting of two bourbons.

We decided to swing by a second distillery and I’m glad we did. Given on the half-hour in the spring, summer and fall, the Maker’s Mark Distillery tour was excellent. It lasted about an hour and, unlike the previous distillery, they ferment all year long. Not only that, but they ferment for three days in open vats and we were allowed to put our fingers in the one-day old vat, the two-day and the three-day to taste the difference in the fermentation.

The bottling area was in full operation. They are a small distillery and have just one line. Their ‘signature’ is the hot red wax that the top’s of the bottles are hand-dipped in and then the wax is allowed to run down the bottle before it is then put in boxes to be shipped. Our samples were waiting for us in the tasting room and they were not as generous as that served in the Tom Moore distillery but it was enough. (And both my husband and I liked the Maker’s Mark bourbon better.) And then the bourbon samples were topped off by a piece of chocolate bourbon candy, which was excellent.

A unique feature of buying Maker’s Mark bourbon at their factor store is that you can dip your own bottle in the signature red wax. Several people did that and I can see where it makes a neat souvenir. We didn’t buy anything but I did price several items. And just as an FYI, I did find one item cheaper elsewhere.

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