Friday, October 22, 2010
SEGMENT 15--Nashville, TN to Bardstown, KY
Driving North on Highway 65 we pass through Bowling Green, KY where they make the Corvette. I heard about Bardstown, Kentucky in the book 1000 Things to See Before You Die which is the Whiskey capital of the world and the area surrounding Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Trail. There are numerous Distiliearies here such as Jim Beam and Makers Mark. It's kind of like going to the wine country in California. We arrive in Bardstown at the perfect time of year when all the oak trees are turning their fall colors and all the tourists have left for the winter. Bardsown and this entire region is absolutely beautiful with little farm houses made of red brick set on huge sheets of grassy land with weathered and worn barns propped up next to rusty grain silos. The autumn leaves are starting to fall, which enhances the halloween decorations installed on the wrap around front porches.
Grandpa and I toured the Heaven Hill Distlierry upon arriving in Bardstown which we thought was quite informative and of course we looked forward to some after tour bourbon tasting.
The difference between whisky and bourbon is similar to the difference between coffee and Kona coffee. There are certain stipulations that make it a bourbon as oppesed to a whiskey. It needs to have at least 51% corn in the mash, it needs to be 190% proof after distilling, and it needs to be aged in single use white oak charred barrels. It does NOT, however, need to be produced in Kentucky. Now each distilary has their own special recipe and their own process for making each batch of whiskey. The longer it is aged in the barrels the more mellow the taste and the pricier the bottle. We sampled bourbon that had been aged 18 years. Bourbon does not continue to age once it has been bottled, and adding a splash of water or an ice cube to the shot helps to bring out more of its flavor. Whiskey from this part of the country gets it's distinctive taste from the water that is purified natuarally through the limestone.
The Makers Mark Brand Whiskey is still hand dipped in red wax by factory workers. I got to see this first hand.