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Clueby

My first trip to distilleries

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Clueby

Long post...Been a bourbon fan a long time but had never made the trip to any distilleries. Mrs. Clueby and Icame over this weekend for my birthday..which is today. We drove straight to Bardstown yesterday but didn't get there till the early afternoon. I really just wanted to hit the gift shops for special bottles and look around. 

Stopped at HH and Willett. Maybe it's the rush of the holiday season but both store's employees were pretty rude and condescending when I asked if they had anything special release. HH had WHH12 and ECBP only and passed on both of those. Willett had all their brands but the only WFE branded bottles was their 4 Year Rye. Picked up a bottle for a friend. When I asked if there were any WFE bourbons they laughed at me.  Wasn't a great start to my first Motherland trip.

Drove around Bardstown a bit and stopped at Toddy's for a laugh.  Tried to stop at the 4R bottling plant gift shop.  Google said it closed at 4 but it closed at 3 so we missed.

Went to the Bernheim Forest and hiked around looking at the "Giants". Very cool.

Came back to Louisville and hit Westport Whiskey and Wine at the suggestion of an SB'r. They have a tasting room with great allocated pour pricing. The 2019 4RSmBLE is outstanding! Had to have a Birthday Bourbon..well...because.  Hit a TW for some KY only bottles to take home.

Today did a Mint Julep tour. First stop was at SW for a tasting only. Awesome historical place. Tasting was meh...Bulleitt bourbon and rye, IW Harper, and Blade and Bow.

On to Woodford. Beautiful place in a beautiful setting. Bourbon production is actually shut down but was still a good tour. Tasting was regular WR, DO, and their rye. Bought a bottle of their wheat whiskey.

On to BT. Its HUGE. Gift shop only had regular BT and Bourbon Cream.

But..the highlight of the trip...our tour guide was Freddie!! He was awesome in every way and really made it personal.  Since we had already seen the distilling process at WR he wanted to show us things we don't always see. Went to the branding room. He talked a lot about the barrels. Shared stories about his father, etc. We went into Warehouse P, and into "The Last Drop" section and the cold storage experimental section.  There were barrels there from the early 90s. (No pics in there)

We did a tasting led by Freddie of vodka, BT, ER, and Bourbon Cream..ending up with it mixed with his namesake rootbeer.

We went into the Blanton's bottling house and Freddie gave me a couple Blanton's stoppers straight from the line because someone had pointed out it was my birthday.  Was a great day and totally made up for yesterday's distillery visits.

We will be back.

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fishnbowljoe

So, see you in April?  ;)

 

Biba! Joe

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smokinjoe

Your disappointments with "special" bottle availability in 

the gift shops is the reason I hardly ever even look there, and simply enjoy the tour experiences.  That's what it's all about, really.  I'll buy the crap out of t-shirts, coasters, hats, and all kinds of other swag, but only seldomly pick up any bottles.  

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Clueby
On 12/30/2019 at 9:28 PM, smokinjoe said:

Your disappointments with "special" bottle availability in 

the gift shops is the reason I hardly ever even look there, and simply enjoy the tour experiences.  That's what it's all about, really.  I'll buy the crap out of t-shirts, coasters, hats, and all kinds of other swag, but only seldomly pick up any bottles.  

I don't know that I was that disappointed that they didn't have any "special" bottles, but more in how they treated me when I asked. I was HOPING for an OFBIB but wasn't surprised I didn't find any. I was also kinda surprised that there wasn't anything else in the BHC/gift shop besides the gift shop that you could see without taking a tour. I thought there were history exhibits, etc. that you could just view.  I did get a bit of swag. The wife collects pins.

I really only went to Willett for a friend that wanted a 4 year rye (I've already got a few.) I doubt I would have actually purchased a WFE bourbon had there been any but again, it was their reaction when I asked. Willett seemed very "hipster-ish".

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flahute
On 1/3/2020 at 10:33 AM, Clueby said:

I don't know that I was that disappointed that they didn't have any "special" bottles, but more in how they treated me when I asked. I was HOPING for an OFBIB but wasn't surprised I didn't find any. I was also kinda surprised that there wasn't anything else in the BHC/gift shop besides the gift shop that you could see without taking a tour. I thought there were history exhibits, etc. that you could just view.  I did get a bit of swag. The wife collects pins.

I really only went to Willett for a friend that wanted a 4 year rye (I've already got a few.) I doubt I would have actually purchased a WFE bourbon had there been any but again, it was their reaction when I asked. Willett seemed very "hipster-ish".

The BHC is currently under renovation/expansion construction so the history exhibit is put away because it used to exist in what is now being used for the t-shirts and swag which is also temporary.

 

As for Willett, welp - welcome to taterville. They get asked constantly about special bourbon so they're all kind of jaded. I wish they wouldn't have laughed, but I get it. They get the delivery truck chaser types in there every day hoping to score a WFE bottle that they will flip before leaving the parking lot. Willett is tired of it as well as they are tired of the people camping out and storming the gift shop so they've changed their model to bring more sanity to the day to day operation of a visitor experience that outgrew the gift shop expansion before it was even complete. (Another expansion is already in the planning stages.)

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