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PowderKeg

Bourbon Pilgrimage to C&K, AE, and L-R

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PowderKeg

Made a Bourbon Pilgrimage back to the Holy Lands late last week and over the weekend.  Actually also went for the Thunder Over Louisville airshow and monster fireworks show on Sat, as well as a catch-up with a few friends, walk across the Ohio on The Big Four for dinner and back for a Bats ballgame, and a couple other sights.  But the really important stuff (Bourbon!!!) follows:

 

Castle & Key - Along with Old Forester, this is one I'm really looking forward to when they officially open later this year.  Fortunately C&K has been doing Restoration Tours for the past several months, which they will stop giving at the end of May.  Runs @ 1.5+ hrs and is really worthwhile if you can swing aThurs or Fri off to go.  The Resto tour goes all around the grounds and into the operating distillery (castle), Warehouse B, the ND "concrete bunker" warehouse, the springhouse, sunken garden, train station/bar/snack shack, gift shop (boiler room), and elsewhere.  The focus is on the history, what they're doing, what they've found, the future plans, etc, and not so much on the distilling process.  They're really trying to follow in EHT's footsteps by providing a destination to spend a day with family/friends rather than a bourbon factory to just stop and tour.  This was the 2nd time I've gone - def saw improvements from the last trip, went deeper into some places, not as deep into a few others, and all-around really enjoyed it (again).  This time they did have a tasting - no bourbon until at least 2021 (if its ready), but they just started bottling their vodka and gin, so a couple cocktails using them.  Oh, and a healthy taste of the new make coming off the still...  Word is the official tours starting @ planned Sept opening won't go everywhere the Resto tour goes due to ADA and other possible concerns.  My gut feeling is that once all the landscaping and resto work is completed and has had time to settle in, C&K may blow MM & WR away for appearance - its still rough with lots of ongoing work, but there's soooo much potential....

Lux-Row - just opened for tours @ a week or so ago.  Modern light industrial bourbon factory (not meant as a dis, think much smaller scale WT) - steel framed distillery, all shiney new equipment, new rickhouse (with no aroma yet, only @ 8000 barrels aging and adding daily), grounds should be nice and rural/farm appealing on the edge of Bardstown once landscaping matures.  Tour went all through the facility and to the still room (rather than looking at it behind glass), young-ish guide was well informed, well spoken, covered process really well, very talkative, very open/transparent with mash bills, process, etc, and got the occasional answer he couldn't provide as soon as able.   One really neat thing about L-R is the rickhouse you visit - instead of a dark narrow hallway with a 6.5' ceiling, you walk in to a well lit floor-to-roof side view of the racks and barrel ends.  Just needs the aroma after a few years of aging.  Unfortunately they're not bottling here though.  They're also not operating on weekends yet, so that was a bit of a bummer.  They did have the first run of the wheated mashbill in the fermenters, and will be producing it for the next month or more IIRC.    Combine L-R with the other current Bardstown opportunities of Willett, Barton, and HH and you can have an easy full day of tours/tasting seeing different sizes/ages/styles of distilleries literally within minutes of each other.  Bardstown Bourbon Co might be opening up for tours soon too.

Angel's Envy - WOW!  I gotta admit I was a little skeptical and resisted coming here earlier mostly because of the higher (compared to most) cost - and you'll also search and pay for parking on any day but Sunday on top of that.  But they built this place to tour with the bourbon gee... er, tourist in mind.  The guide was IMHO really great, no shortage of stories, no spin or re-invention of history, no reluctance to discuss or mention some things, didn't feel overly scripted.  Great views of the operation, a fantastic mixing of new distillery in a beautifully refurbished brick factory building.  This was a great tour!  Unfortunately they don't (obviously) have a rickhouse in downtown L-ville.  Louisville is shortly gonna be a solid two day tour stop, once OF, RH, Micht, and the Frazier's Bourbon Trail exhibit all open, to combine with the current AE, EW, JB Urban Bourbon, Bulliet, Peerless, and Copper & Kings (to veer just a little off of bourbon).  Travel time with traffic won't be quite as quick as Bardstown, and meshing the very variable open days and tour times between all the sites will be a challenge but should be do-able.

All-in-all a great - and busy - 4 days spent in the Holy Lands.  Can't wait for the next trip back, but the wallet requires a significant recovery period....

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PowderKeg

And 2 more quick pics.

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