Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bourbon Road

As I rode out of Bardstown, KY, yesterday morning a sweet and distinct smell hit my nose. The smell of Bourbon. Unknowingly, I was leaving the "Bourbon Capital of the World." I was only about a mile into my ride but a sign for tours and tastings at Heaven Hill distillery beckoned. I pulled over and signed up for a tour. As it turns out Heaven Hill's distillery burned to the ground over three days in 1996 and ever since production has taken place in Louisville. The company now uses the Bardstown location for bottling and storage. After learning about the history and process of Bourbon production, we toured one of the warehouses.

Allegedly, the discovery that aging corn whiskey in charred casks improved its taste and color was a happy accident that occurred when a distiller was too cheap to replace casks that had burned in a warehouse fire. The process for handling, aging, and storing bourbon is surprisingly old-fashioned and labor intensive. The tour ended with a tasting of 13 and 18 year-old whiskeys.

With a belly full of bourbon, I started my ride in earnest after 1 pm. I was headed for Mammoth Cave, a detour to the South of the Transam. On the way, I passed Abe Lincoln's birthplace. I was hoping to get a look at the humble, log cabin that we all heard about in grade school history class. I pulled into this national historic site at 4:45 pm to find that it closes at 4:45 pm -- truly a government closing time. I rode around the site in a quick loop unsure what I was looking at. I saw several log cabins but I'm not sure any of them can claim to have been Abe's first home. The remainder of my ride took me through Kentucky's rolling hills and farmlands.


Anonymous said...

Hey there! Wow, what a week you have had. I am glad that you could enjoy some bourbon and interesting delicasies along the way.
Keeping you in prayer!
Cousin Colleen

Anonymous said...

We've been enjoying your updates, although I had some catching up to do tonight. Sounds like you are doing great, taking it all in when you can. Stay strong, continue eating those corn dogs and pop tarts!
Go Wings 1-0 in finals!
Megan and Paul

Grace said...

Why no new update yet? Taking an early holiday?

Anonymous said...

I was happy to read your latest entry and the bourbon tour and tasting -- if only there was a Guinness to go along with it.
Keep up the good work.