If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve become quite the bourbon drinker. I got into it thanks to my boyfriend Ryan – it’s just one of the many wonderful contributions he’s made to my life! Anyway, I drink bourbon with one ice cube and it’s like a maple brown sugar treat with a kick. I love it because I can skip all the sugars and calories of mixers and it goes down so smooth.
The bourbon market is HOT right now though. Bottles are going for 3 to 4 times their retail value due to the low supply and high demand. We’ve been lucky enough to score a few rare bottles like Weller 12, E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, and Blanton’s – all at retail. But it’s not an easy feat. So when we saw that Buffalo Trace, one of our favorite distilleries, was having a farm to table supper event on Ryan’s birthday, we knew we had to make the trip to bourbon country!
The event itself was alright, but the best part of the trip was the bourbon hunting. We thought that going to the source–bourbon country–would increase our chances of finding some gems. Nope, not the case at all. Our first stop was Justin’s House of Bourbon in Lexington. We knew this place was overpriced, but we were still blown away by the audacity. The little shop itself is very cute and well decorated. If you view it more of a museum, with its antique bottles and endless Pappy, then it’s an enjoyable experience. But if you want to taste something or buy it, you will be getting ridiculously ripped off. A bottle of Weller 12 retails for $40-$50. They are selling it for $300. No thank you!
Next, we went to the Four Roses Distillery. Four Roses is one of my favorite brands not only for the awesome name, but also because I swear I’m a distant relative of the Master Distiller there. His name is Brent Elliott and it can’t be a coincidence that my grandpa Elliott is from Louisville! You can’t buy any of the rare bottles at the distillery, but they do offer a tasting with a really cute history lesson about how they got their name. Hint: it involves a love story, of course! We also got to keep our tasting glasses. Score!
The highlight of our trip was, as surprising as it sounds, a liquor store right outside Louisville. It’s called Evergreen Liquors and we were able to try 8 amazing and rare bourbons right in the store! Unlike Georgia where it is illegal, liquor stores in Kentucky can give samples. And boy do they! Here’s the list of what we tried in order of my personal preference:
Four Roses 130th Anniversary
Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year (tastes exactly like Weller 12)
Elmer T Lee
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year (tastes like Eagle Rare)
Old Fitzgerald 9 Year
1792 Full Proof
Rock Hill Farms
Old Forester 1920
After a few more liquor store pit stops, we ended up on Whiskey Row on Louisville for a quick bite at Doc Crow’s followed by a drink at Sidebar. It was a fun, bourbon-filled weekend, but next time, we won’t go in the sweltering heat of summer!
Have you ever been to bourbon country?
Photos by Ryan Carpenter.
Check out my other domestic travels here.