Woodford Reserve distillery tour
When you’re hanging out in the Red it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. It’s easy to forget that in about two hours you can make it to several large cities with all the amenities you need. This enables you to take full advantage of your rest days to have some fun.
We were on our way to Louisville, when we realized we were on the Bourbon Trail. For those of you that don’t know, bourbon is only made in Kentucky. Many of the distilleries give free tours and samples. We decided to sample the real Kentucky at the Woodford Reserve distillery.
We had been home brewers in our former lives so it’s always exciting to see the brewing process on such grand scales. On the tour learned a lot about bourbon and why it only comes from Kentucky.
You start the tour with a video as is usually the case with these tours. You get to learn about the history of the distillery and what makes their bourbon unique. After a brief Q and A you get to see were the magic happens.
The buildings are all made out of limestone which helps keep the rooms at a constant temperature.
Here is a picture of the fermenting barrel of sour mash. We’re on the second story here so these barrels are like 20ft high.
From there you get to see the pot distillers.
Each pot goes into the testing station where the master distiller determines the right time to transfer the product.
While we were there they were getting a shipment of barrels and we got to watch them roll the barrels down the ramp and stack them for filling.
It’s really amazing to see that the process hasn’t changed in over 150 years. They still use the old rails to transfer the barrels from the fermentation house to the storage facility.
The storage house was really amazing. They just have barrels stacked on barrels and when you walk in your nose is hit with the “angel’s share.” That’s what they call the bourbon that evaporates through the barrels and fills the room with sweet bourbon scents. Delicious.
We toured on a week day so everyone was working. The bottling process is not running on the weekend and it’s always fun to see the machines filling up the bottles. There is nothing added to the bourbon after they enter the barrels. All the flavor and color comes from being aged in the barrels.
At the end of the tour they give you a sample of Woodford Reserve and some bourbon chocolates. The bourbon chocolates run like $5 for two so we had three for good measure while we sipped on some bourbon to end the tour.
For a touristy distillery tour the Woodford Reserve tour exceeded our expectations. You really get to see the whole process and the traditional manner in which they produce their bourbon is fascinating. The sample at the end of the tour ain’t too shabby either.
Woodford is an hour and twenty minutes from Miguel’s and costs $5, which makes a perfect rest day activity!