Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Yesterday the four of us headed to Versailles, Kentucky for a tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery.   It is the oldest and smallest working bourbon distillery in the nation and a National Historic Landmark.   Its Reserve Select Bourbon is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.
Woodford Reserve makes only two types of Bourbon, Reserve Select and Double Oaked.

  First.....we stopped for lunch at a little local cafe, Wallace Station Deli and Bakery not far from the Distillery.   I had a wonderful country ham and pimento cheese panini.    I tell you this for two reasons.   The first is that I've always wanted to taste the south's ubiquitous pimento cheese sandwich, and second because I'm evidently the only person in Kentucky who doesn't know the difference between city ham and country you?     The clerk rocked back on his heels in mock horror when he discovered I didn't know the difference.    He took me to the prep area, told all the workers there, in a loud voice, that "this lady doesn't know the difference between city ham and country ham!"     They offered me a taste of both and I quickly figured out that I was to order the country ham.     It was good, they were right.

So, back to the bourbon.  We were lucky to arrive just as a tour was getting ready to start so we didn't have too much time to become tempted by the gift shops offerings.  We were handed an amplifier and ear buds on a lanyard and we boarded a tiny bus for the short drive down to the distillery buildings.

The buildings are a beautiful combination of Kentucky Limestone and old red brick.

outside the fermentation building

Seven cypress fermentation tanks
each holds about 7000 gallons

corn, rye, barley, water and yeast combine
to form a live, boiling cauldron
three large copper distillers make Woodford Reserve distinctive

filled barrels move to the warehouse all on their own
via a gravity powered track
barrels stay in the warehouse for
6 to 9 years

and then we taste......

as you can see we clearly enjoyed our tour
and, most especially, the tasting....

Tomorrow, the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, after lunch of course.....


  1. Looks like fun! I'd like to understand the subtleties of bourbon, whiskey, rye, etc. It's not a liquor I've much experience with.

  2. I love touring anything even if I don't drink, eat, or drive it. Such fun to see how things are made. But I think I would like to taste that little chocolate treat with the nut on top:)

  3. We did the entire Bourbon trail. Loved it. The only problem is now I am hooked on Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon...hehe

  4. Love the copper distillers, they're almost whimsical. Not being wine drinkers (don't judge) we aren't ones for tasting tours - but this is one we could get excited about :-).

  5. I think you can already guess my excitement at getting to go on this virtual tour. Woodford Reserve has a great reputation among bourbon drinkers. It would be fun to do a blind comparative tasting of the different bourbons on the trail as I imagine they all taste good at the end of the tour.

    I had to look up the difference between city ham and country ham. I think I would prefer the country ham too.

  6. I will keep your tour handy, in case our route takes us to this part of Kentucky. Im sure Steve would love to do the tour and so do I.