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The Bourbon Trek

So after having tried many bottles of bourbon and rye I decided it was time to actually visit where this magic juice comes from, Kentucky. The land of 95% of the world's bourbon. Since I'm from the Cleveland Ohio area the trip via car wouldn't be too much of a big deal despite the ridiculous and out of control gas prices. Our trip would be 403 miles and around 5.5 hours at a considerably brisk pace.

A 3 night trip booked at the Hampton in Bardstown, the bourbon capital of the world, and we were off.

Being a big Lux Row fan this was really the only official tour that I booked and there was an underlying reason for this, the release of the nearly impossible to get, Lux Row 12 Year Double Barrel. This release is only available at the visitor center and this year they only release 42 bottles per week on Tuesdays. They sell out within a few days in March and I believe these odds get worse as the season gets along. So getting a bottle of this stuff is not easy to say the least. Even with connections set up, something like a delivery delay to the visitor center can throw a wrench into the availability.

Bardstown / People / Vibe

Putting some 413 miles into just driving around KY made me feel like I kinda know Kentucky a little better now. Rolling hills, cows, deep valleys, twisting roads....it's all very beautiful and it makes me wish I came here in the fall. Going about in towns and talking to the local people you seem to stick out a bit the moment you open your mouth as the Ohioan neutral accent gives you away leading to the next question of, "so where y'all from?"

Aside from the big geographical differences KY has from Ohio there were some other regional types too. In the Bardstown area and really within one of hour in any direction of it there is an ever present smell of whiskey mash in the air. From pumping gas to getting out of your hotel room, there it is. The smell is hard to explain but it's this bready, yeasty, food-like smell that is pleasant and kinda makes you hungry. When at a distillery, this smell is ten fold greater.

Another thing that I noticed was while at a Walgreen's to pick up some miscellaneous goodies for the hotel, there was a pretty decent selection of high proof liquor available to purchase behind the counter.....at a Walgreens. Cracked me up. Another thing was when I purchased an Elijah Craig Single Barrel, Barrel Strength store pick from Toddy's Liquors, the woman behind the counter asked me if I'd like to sample some first. Nothing like sampling 131 proof bourbon at a liquor store at 10.00am. So funny and awesome. Another place that we stopped at was Keystone Liquors where I found a bottle of Old Forester Rye which has become pretty hard to come by in Ohio.


"Now I'm not sure what the deal is with Google maps but holy sh!t. Dialing up MM's location, we were led on the most bizarre, backwoods, Deliverance inspired path ever."