"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Back on the Bourbon Trail - Kentucky

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

It's been four years since we've been back in Kentucky on the Bourbon Trail and Steve really wanted to go through it again. I had us routed through Ohio but made some changes.  That 's the best part of not having reservations.  We can make last minute changes if we want.  Of course it's not always possible to go without them, but we do as much as possible.
Steve was happy to be back on the trail!

We continued along on I-64 and found a huge, quiet Walmart in Mount Sterling, Kentucky and arrived just before dark.  We parked alongside a nice grassy spot at the end of the lot.  If the temps or humidity were going to be high, we had a backup campground we would've stopped at.  Luckily it was fairly cool.  We got up early, took a pic and continued west.

We drove past this castle in Versailles so I looked up what it was.  It is called The Kentucky Castle.  Makes sense.  It's a hotel/spa/restaurant/event center.  Looked pretty cool.

Lexington, Kentucky
Camp on the Kentucky
Steve found one of the few campgrounds in the area called Camp on the Kentucky  It's a bit out in the country down some narrow roads but it was beautiful countryside.  It's a small, private park run by very nice folks.  We barely fit in the back in site though.  The river is down the hill behind us.
Steve really wanted to visit Wild Turkey.  It was Father's Day weekend and he was lucky to get the reservations he made.  Most of the distilleries are only doing the tasting portion of their usual tours.  If you haven't been here before and want to do the tours, I'd wait until next year when they are 100% open. Half the fun is touring the beautiful grounds, mash rooms, bottling areas and the rickhouses where the barrels are stored.
This is one of many rackhouse/rickhouses you'll see at the distilleries.  Some can have 20+ buildings like this.  One rickhouse can hold up to 20K barrels!

Walking through to the tasting room.  It was $11 each for the tour with 5 samples.  It's just not the same without the full tour.  I don't care for hard alcohol but I LOVED their Honey Bourbon and got a bottle for myself.  It's in the freezer and it's my new go-to for dessert instead of my Limoncello.

As we drove back over the Kentucky River to head for dinner, we noticed there was something up on top of the bridge that looked like easy-ups.  Are they serving some type of Farm to Table events up there?
Nope, it's a bungee jumping platform called Vertigo Bungee.  The High Bridge is 275 from the river.
We had dinner at OBC Kitchen in Lexington.  They are known for their rare collection of Bourbons and really good food.  Steve had the 25th Anniversary Knob Creek single barrel aged 13 years was his favorite of what he tried that night.

Lexington, Kentucky
Elks Lodge
We move over to the Elks Lodge in Louisville as it was right where Evan Williams, Heaven Hill and Angels Envy are located.  This Lodge is #8.  The 5th oldest lodge now as 3 others have closed.

We spent the afternoon in downtown Louisville and went to Angels Envy first.  We both thought it was big disappointment.  It was $20 a person and the tasting was only 1 1/2 samples.  We were impressed that it's family owned with 3 generations including 6 sons of youngest generation.
Here is an example of different charrings in the barrels.

We walked around town which was fairly quiet for a Friday.  We walked past the Louisville Slugger Field and went inside.  They play Triple A here.

I walked through one of the gift shops and snuck a peek at the field.  
There is a brew pub downstairs with some nice chairs just outside.
The downtown is very cute and most buildings are occupied but not many open.
We walked past the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  $16 for adults.  We took the kids here when they were small so we didn't go in this time.

The architecture, like most old cities, was beautiful and being rejuvenated as well.  There were many pieces of art scattered up and down the streets too.
There was an interesting mirror in front of the Children's Museum.
David stands outside the unique 21c Museum Hotel.  It is a contemporary art museum with 90+ rooms with more art.  David is 30 feet tall, twice the size as the original in Italy.
Not sure if this old limo covered in those glass beads people put in flower vases is part of the "art" or not.

We went home after and went swimming at the Elks pool.  It was a very nice lodge and pool.  It was so hot and humid out though that an hour is all we could handle before retreating to the A/C.

On our last day we stopped at the store before the tour at the Evan Williams Experience.  We were wondering what this car was doing driving up to the back of the store.  Then this older woman got out and cats and ducks came from all over for a hand out.  She must supply them with food and water regularly.
There are many bridges that cross the Ohio River.  They are all different.

The Evan Williams Experience is not at the actual distillery it's at the Tasting Room downtown.  This turned out to be one of my favorites of all of them.  They started out with a movie then you walked through a screen that surrounds you telling you the story of Evan Williams and the founders of Heaven Hill.  I really enjoyed how they did the history.  They do produce one batch here per week.  They have a nice gift shop and while Steve picked out a bottle of 12 year old single barrel 101 proof, I was more excited about the goat milk soap and barrel aged coffee!
The tour was $15 each and had 4 samples and chocolate.

Later in the afternoon Steve took a Connoisseurs Tour at Heaven Hill.  It was $20.  I wasn't interested so Hurley and I walked around the grounds and found a geocache.
Above is one of the new rackhouses built.  Several were lost in a huge fire a few years ago.
See the black stuff on the rackhouses?  It's a harmless fungus that grows in distilleries from the ethanol escaping from the barrels as they age and go through the extreme temperatures.

That ends our short trip through Kentucky.


  1. Cool history. It is neat to learn about things you would have never known about before.

    1. We love the outdoors, but the history is great too!

  2. Quite interesting! We stayed overnight at a distillery in Tennessee (Harvest Host) last week. They give free samples. We bought two bottles :-)


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