Distillery Tour Days 2 & 3

As expected, I didn't live blog well enough in KY.  I tried, but just didn't get enough sleep to warrant staying up even later to write.  We did have a really amazing time and it opened my eyes to the experience of RVing.  I always thought it would be fun, but never occurred to me that having a house on wheels means you're always at home... even when the A/C goes out at 4am.

First on the schedule Saturday was burger king... please note that not only do they NOT serve breakfast after 10:30, they also do NOT serve breakfast at 10:29 apparently.  Who eats lunch at 10:29!!!  Idiots and Burger King employees- that's who (really, all major fast food chains too).  After breakfast (Whopper JR and fries), we headed out to Woodford Reserve which turned out to be one of the favorites on the trip.  Good tour, good bourbon.  Here is the cooker that mixes and cooks the first step to make the "distiller's beer."

And here's a fermenter where it gets pumped into, followed by a photo of the guys smelling it.  Smelled more like beer than anything else.

One of the big differences between Bourbon and other types of whiskey is that they are distilled twice in copper stills before aging (3 times at Woodford Reserve as shown here).

All Kentucky bourbon must be aged in new (not used) american oak barrels.  They are also required by law that the ingredients must have at least 51% corn.  They are all charred on the inside to help mellow the flavor.   When they are aged, they are placed in "rick houses" that are always open to the elements.  In the summer, the bourbon expands while the oak pores open up.  The bourbon soaks into the wood extracting flavors.  In the winter, the pores close and squeeze the bourbon back out.  This process goes on until the distillers decide when to bottle.  Once in bottles, the bourbon doesn't age any further- so if today you you sip on a 10 year old whiskey bottled in 2000 versus a 10 year old whiskey bottled in 2010, the two will have very minor flavor differences.  All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon.

One of the other interesting items found on all of these tours is something called Torula.  It is a creeping fungus commonly found at whiskey distilleries and it eventually coats all of the trees and rick houses.

To be honest, I'm not used to all these "words" on my blog, so I'm just gonna finish up with some pix for the rest of the post- these two of "whiskey creek" at Maker's Mark.