Woodford Reserve

Kentucky Bourbon Trail via Pinterest

Kentucky is a place where men carry on about the soil, being married to the land and being buried in it. It's also home to the world's finest burley, cradle of the best Thoroughbreds and birthplace of MR's favorite bourbon.

Photo | Lisa Porter

A year ago my daughter mentioned that she had been invited by a gentleman friend to visit The Woodford Reserve Distillery. MR. recalls watching one of my eyebrows raise from across the room. He told me that he admired the way that I casually gathered all the pertinent information – who, what, when, where, and "WHY on earth would you want to visit a distillery?"

Photo | Lisa Porter

This one said it sounded like fun and wanted to go too - of course he did. We took MR. for Father's Day and we all loved it! Some of us more than others.

Photo | Lisa Porter

All Kentucky distilleries are steeped in tradition; Woodford Reserve is a showplace of the distiller's art and Kentucky bourbon heritage. This small, picturesque distillery is nestled along Glenn's Creek at the site where Elijah Pepper, one of the famous early Bluegrass distillers, set up his distillery in 1812.

via Insider Louisville

The L & G on the smokestack goes back to 1878 when James Graham and Leopold Labrot bought the property. 

Photo | Lisa Porter

In 1995, the distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.

Photo | Lisa Porter

As the founding member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, the Woodford Reserve Distillery gives visitors a sense of what bourbon making was like in the 1800s.

Photo | Lisa Porter

Photo | Lisa Porter

On our tour, we learned about each aspect of the bourbon-making process, starting with fermentation. Making whiskey at this stage is a lot like making bread. Woodford uses its own unique yeast strain which is added to the mix to start the fermentation process. The average fermentation time for bourbon is three days, but Woodford Reserve ferments for a full 6 days, one of the longest fermentations in the industry.

Woodford Reserve Fermentation Tank Photo | Lisa Porter

According to master distiller Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve has its roots as a 500-acre working family farm with cattle and grain. Here he breaks down five sources of flavor in whiskey to grain, water, fermentation, distillation, and aging.

After fermentation, Woodford Reserve is distilled three times in these massive copper pot stills.

Photo | Lisa Porter

Woodford then ages their whiskey in stone rack houses that date back to 1870. They use a process called cycling which involves heating and cooling the warehouse to manage the maturation.

Photo | Lisa Porter

The summertime heat expands the whiskey, pushing it into the charred layers of white oak. During winter the cold weather draws the liquid back into the barrel.

Photo | Taylor Porter

These cycles give bourbon its characteristic color, flavors and aromas. 

Photo | Lisa Porter

Woodford is aged for an average of 7 years before it’s blended and hand bottled.

That's why it's called "small batch."

Photo | Lisa Porter

At the end of the tour we sampled two of Woodford’s offerings.

Photo | Lisa Porter

and a bourbon ball ~ sweet!

Followed by some golf and a nap. A good Father's Day indeed!

Photo | Lisa Porter

The Woodford Reserve Distillery

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

via wandering tastebud

Don't forget to mind your manners & drink responsibly.



Francine Gardner said...

Being born and raised in French wine country, i know so little about Bourbon, and so enjoyed reading your post. My dad, however, loves his Bourbon to be shared with friends.

Karena Albert said...

Wonderful post Lisa; this sounds like a Bourbon one of my favorite brother's would enjoy tremendously!

The Arts by Karena

Catherine Robinson said...

Hi LIsa...It sounds an interesting tour, Lisa...I know very little about Bourbon...my husband would have loved it ;)
Have a good day xx

pve design said...

You can take a gal out of Kentucky but you can't take the Kentucky love of bourbon out of this gal. I love a wee sip when the winter comes. You have inspired me to make some bourbon balls and truffles for holiday giving!
Gorgeous spot. Next trip, I will surely make it there.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

A trip to a distillery is great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed your story Lisa. I find learning this history behind the brand and it's process. I hope I can visit Kentucky some day and and Woodford Reserve will be on my list; that'd be 2nd to visiting the Porter Ranch! Now I am fascinated by the differences between bourbon and scotch whiskey's! I have some sampling to do!! Thanks Lisa :) xo