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Kentucky Bourbon Trail Day 3

I can’t believe we were taste testing bourbon on a Monday morning at 10am. Flash backs to college perhaps?

Day 3 of our Kentucky bourbon trail tour found us at Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg Kentucky. An oddity of sorts, the 1910 Spanish Mission architectural style of this distillery sets it apart from the Kentucky landscape. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Four Roses one of the few distilleries allowed by the federal government to produce Bourbon for medicinal purposes during the prohibition.

Just up the road you see all of the warehouses where the bourbon is aged before you see the entrance to Wild Turkey Distilleries.  Wild Turkey will soon be a fully operational facility as they are currently constructing a bottling plant. We were lucky to have the grandson of the master distiller, Jimmy Russell, as our tour guide. Bruce was able to give us insight to the company and stories of his youth at the plant as he hopes to some day become a distiller at Wild Turkey.  Wild Turkey is known for their 101 proof bourbon and as they say, “Give em the bird”

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Before we wrapped up our tour of Kentucky bourbon country, Steve had to obtain a bourbon barrel. Lo and behold, one was waiting for him at Wild Turkey. After a great tour by Bruce and a phone call, Bruces’ father, Assistant Distiller Eddie Russell, the son of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, joined us at the tasting room. After some terrific conversation, Eddie graciously signed Steve’s newly obtained bourbon barrel. What a fantastic afternoon! But the day was not over!

We could talk about our brief experience at Waffle House, but more importantly, 2 hours north, the city of Cincinnati was waiting for us as we were going to try to see the Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers game at the Great American Ball Park.

Did you know that the Reds were the first professional baseball enterprise and originally the named the Cincinnati Red Stockings? I didn’t.

Tickets were easy to obtain. We scored some left field seats just past 3rd base in the lower level. It was an exciting game as the Reds beat the Brewers 3-1. As a Cub fan at heart, any team who beats the Brewers is the team for me. It was also a thrilling game because Mat Latos of the Reds pitched his second complete game with a whopping career high 13 strike outs. The crowd went wild! All the strike outs also guaranteed that everyone at the game would receive a free pizza and icecream from LaRosa’s. Cant beat that!

What a weekend. Bluegrass, bourbon, BBQ and ballgame. That about sums it up.

Things I learned about Kentucky Bourbon; don’t quote me – this is what I remember & yes I was enjoying all of those bourbon tastings.

1 – Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon

2 – Bourbon must contain 51% corn, of which most distillers obtain from local farms

3 – The new oak barrels must be charred inside to obtain the caramel color and distinctive flavor and can only be used one time

4 – Used barrels are sold to Canadian and Irish whiskey companies who age their whiskeys longer than Kentucky bourbon

5 – Kentucky bourbon is unique because of the heavy influence of limestone in the geographical area. The water used in the distilling process passes through the pure limestone making the end product among the world’s best bourbons.

6 – Over time as the bourbon is aging, enough evaporates so that the result of remaining bourbon in the barrels is only about 2/3 full, hence the term Angels Share, the wonderful scent you encounter in the aging warehouses.

I hope you consider traveling to Kentucky bourbon country.  Catch up on our road trip and read about Day 1 and Day 2. The weekend was full of great memories to not be forgotten and to think this was practically in our back yard.

What was one of your favorite state side weekend trips? I would love to read in the comments below!

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