Kentucky Bourbon Trail Part 1: Woodford Reserve

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Due to my latest work assignment, I’ve found myself in Kentucky for a while. One of my colleagues sent out an Outlook meeting notice for Sunday afternoon. The meeting was slated to start at a Bojangles fast food restaurant in Frankfort and include a tour of the Woodford Reserve Bourbon distillery. I was a little late, and work intruded for much of the afternoon, but the effort was rewarded. The tour was great!

Woodford Reserve Distillery

The tour cost $14.

Wall of Bourbon

It’s amazing how many different alcoholic beverages can be made with just a few simple ingredients and time.

Five sources of flavor

The ingredients are mixed in this big container.

Stage 1

I was surprised the fermenting process took place in these giant wooden barrels with open tops. We were offered a taste of the wort.

Stage 2
Stage 2

The fermenting wort smelled awesome. The surface was bubbling with escaping carbon dioxide.

From there the mix went in to the distillers.

Stage 3
Stage 3
Stage 3

According to the tour, Woodford Reserve is distilled three times, which is one more distillation process than most other bourbon distilleries.

Test station

After it gets to the proper alcohol level, the mix goes into barrels.

Barrels
Barrel ready for bourbon
Barrel filling station
Newly filled barrels

Barrels are rolled downhill on tracks to the warehouse. Each barrel, when aged, is worth around $13,000.

Warehouse
Warehoused barrels on shelves.  These were filled in August of 2011.
Finished barrels filled in May 2010, ready for bottling
Barrels of bourbon
Bottling machinery
Bottling machinery
Bottling machinery
Historical plaque

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select is aged in barrels for over six years. Some is moved into a new cask and aged again to make Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. We headed back up the hill to the visitor’s center for a tasting.

Visitor’s center
Tasting

The chocolate really enhanced the flavor of the double casked bourbon. It was a nice end to a great tour. Total time was roughly an hour. New tours start every twenty minutes.

I titled this part 1 of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail because there are nine member distilleries and a visit to each earns a stamp in a special passport. Nine stamps and you’ve earned a commemorative t-shirt. I have a new goal. Details at www.kybourobontrail.com.

The list is:
Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
Four Roses Bourbon
Bourbon Heritage Center – Heaven Hill Distilleries
Jim Beam
Maker’s Mark
Bourbon Town Branch
Wild Turkey
Woodford Reserve

Here’s a video I found from the Woodford Reserve marketing group explaining their bourbon.

 

Woodford Reserve
7855 McCracken Pike
Versailles, KY  40383
859.879.1812

~ Freddy

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Freddy

I’m an engineer, a veteran, and an avid traveler. I agree with Robert Louis Stevenson – “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

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