May 29, 2012

#79 - Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Part 5 (Buffalo Trace)

Bourbon Trail 

We kept having people ask us if we were going to visit Buffalo Trace - and I, having never heard of it, kept saying no.  On our last night in Kentucky we were talking about the next days' schedule and Buffalo Trace came up again.  We were trying to decide how many distilleries were open to the public in Kentucky and when we Googled it and found out there were only eight (and we had already visited seven) it was decided.  We would go to Buffalo Trace before heading out to Tennessee.

It was a great decision.  Buffalo Trace is awesome and I'd recommend a visit to anyone heading to Kentucky.  First of all, it smelled DELICIOUS - like baking bread.  We went in, not planning to tour, but the gift shop lady and the guy who turned out to be our tour guide, Jimmy, talked us in to going.  Again, a great decision.  Jimmy was an excellent guide, full of interesting facts, fun jokes, and witty remarks.  



Buffalo Trace has been continuously operating since 1787 making it the oldest distillery in operation today.  It was one of the four grants by the government to continue medical production during prohibition.  Because it has been continuously operating their warehouses are a hodge-podge of various styles and materials.  They house different kinds of Bourbon in different warehouses because the style and building material affect the aging and the taste of the finished product.

This is the smallest bonded warehouse in America.  It's built to age one barrel at a time and is currently home to the 6,000,000th barrel of Buffalo Trace.
The railroad tracks are actually barrel crossings for rolling barrels around the grounds.  Jimmy made a funny joke that reminded me of Pa Ingalls getting run over by the millstone.

Single barrel Bourbons are still bottled and labeled by HAND, on the world's slowest moving conveyor belt.



Buffalo Trace also produces their own root beer, which is super delicious.

So let's recap what makes a whiskey a Bourbon:

  1. Made in the U.S.A. - while Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States it is currently exclusively produced in Kentucky.  This is mostly due to the amount of limestone in Kentucky.  It provides clean, fresh, filtered water that is known as "sweet water".
  2. No Additives
  3. 160 proof max off still
  4. 125 proof max in barrell
  5. In barrell for at least 2 years
  6. Virgin oak charred barrel every single time
  7. 51% Corn - minimum
This was one of the funnest things I've crossed off the list so far!