Our next stop was Bardstown, KY, more commonly known as the home of Bourbon. Since we were in the area, of course we had to do the Bourbon Trail again. It's not the free t-shirt, it's the quest. Most of our distilleries were nearby, but we did have to go into Louisville for 2 of the places required on the Bourbon Trail. But anytime I am in Bardstown, I have to make it to The Old Talbott Tavern at least once. Although the stone portion of the building dates before 1790, the first tavern license was issued in 1805. Now it is a nice place to have lunch, and it is still an inn.
Wandering around town (trying to find one of the distilleries), I turned down the wrong road and found this home, built in 1815. General Polk used this home as the Confederate Headquarters during his occupation of Bardstown during the Civil War.
But right next door was a home I liked even better, although there was no info on when the home was built. It looked quite old and it seemed more friendly than the house next door.
This is the still for the Barton 1792 distillery. And no, it doesn't mean the distillery started in 1792. It is named for the year Kentucky joined the United States since Kentucky is considered to be where good American whiskey started. Just a note, when I was here in 2009, this distillery wasn't here, instead, it was a bottling operation for a large corporate alcohol distributor.
In 2009, I visited the distillery for Four Roses, which is located outside of Frankfort, KY. But they now have a visitor center and warehousing operation with tours located outside of Bardstown. I like their use of whiskey barrels.
Heavens Hill has the largest of the warehouses we saw. They are not just one distillery, but they produce numerous brands of whiskey. I wondered how they did this and found each brand has its own distinct recipe and yeast, which Heaven Hill bought up at some point over the years. So each of their brands, really did start as individual distilleries, but now are owned by a big conglomerate.
I did think their museum and visitor center was better this time than in 2009. I especially liked their reference to liquor being the reason for the American Revolution.
These are the high wine and low wine (moonshine) for Jim Beam. In 2009, Jim Beam was remodeling and no tours were given.
And this is at Makers Mark. I do have to say their facility is, for me, the most impressive. Maybe it's all the brass. And they let you stick your fingers into the mash while its fermenting!
And this is Willets, another new distillery on the Bourbon Tail. This is their first year open and they are very small. Below is their entire operation.
But they did have the coolest still. They use the old style pot still.
Two of the required stops were in Louisville. We drove out to Bulleit, but between the wait for a tour and their charge, we decided to just get the stamp and move on. We didn't even get a taste.
And our other stop in Louisville was the Evan Williams Experience. Now Evan Williams is one of Heaven Hill's brands, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was a tour of the underground speak easy's which sprang up during prohibition. I just like the big glass.
This isn't all the distilleries we visited, more are in the Frankfort, KY, area, which is our next stop.