We’re the Best of Friends… Buffalo Trace Distillery

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MARCH 30, 2016

Laundry and bourbon and present wrapping, oh my! And tomorrow we leave for Ollie Land!

As I drink my morning coffee and write, Jeff is dusting, sweeping, wiping, and “windexing.” I know I should feel guilty but it’s my coffee time. I can’t help it if he wakes up earlier than me. Our routines are so out of synch – another new discovery about each other…

We gather our laundry and head to the washing machines. Bad timing – Henry’s Mom just loaded all 3 machines. Henry is the 6-month-old Schnauzer whose leash is attached to the outside door handle. So we decide to visit the distillery  and come back later to do laundry. While Jeff showers, I take some pics around the campground.

Look at this cute little houseboat!

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It’s a warm, sunny day on the river.

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Buffalo Trace Distillery

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Since 1787 there’s been a working distillery on these grounds. In 1857 a “modern” distillery replaced the old. It also became the first distillery in the nation to use steam power to produce bourbon. By 1886 the whiskey was aged in a climate-controlled warehouse.

During Prohibition the distillery was one of only 4 allowed to operate for medicinal purposes. (buffalotrace.com)

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In 1999 the distillery was renamed after the new owners researched the history of the area. Migrating buffalo carved wide paths, called traces, in the wilderness, opening up travel routes for explorers and pioneers. The Great Buffalo Trace led to the banks of the Kentucky River.  The abundant limestone springs and fertile soil of sand, silt, and clay made it a perfect area for growing grain.

Bourbon Basics:

  • Ingredients – corn, malted barley, spicy rye, yeast, and water
  • At least 51% has to be corn.
  • Bourbon has to be at least 80 proof.
  • The aging process has to take place in brand new white oak barrels. The wood inside is then charred to add flavoring.
  • 8-13 years best amount of time for aging… Less=too green, More=too tannic

The aging warehouse smells heavenly. Each barrel holds 53 gallons of bourbon and, depending on how long it is stored, evaporation reduces its content. This loss is called the “angels’ share.” (buffalotrace.com)

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As they age, the barrels extract the color and flavoring of the charred wood inside as each barrel is exposed to the 4 seasons of Kentucky’s climate. Of course, barrels that age on the middle floor experience the most temperature changes. The top floor barrels mature at warmer temps while the bottom floor barrels encounter cooler temps.

After the proper amount of aging, 40 barrels are selected for a taste test. Each barrel is sampled by a panel of judges. Every judge must give a thumbs-up for that barrel to  pass inspection. After 40 barrels make the cut, the bourbon is blended and bottled.

Meanwhile… After Prohibition, Albert Blanton took over the distillery. He began producing single barrel bourbon for his own enjoyment and the pleasure of his friends. In 1984 Buffalo Trace was the first distillery to commercially market a single barrel bourbon appropriately named, Blanton’s. (buffalotrace.com)

Blanton’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is hand bottled.

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Today’s labels on the assembly line are green because they are being shipped overseas. No bottles are available for our purchase today because the limited run is sold out.

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There are 8 Blanton’s collectible horse toppers.

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The highlight of the tour is the sampling… and for dessert, Bourbon Cream and candy!

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