As a frequent and enthusiastic visitor to the famed Bourbon Trail, I have had the opportunity to work with Mint Julep Tours, a tour company based in Louisville, KY that offers both custom and public bourbon distillery tours. I have used their services on four different occasions, and I have to say that they are fantastic (although I should mention that I have only used their custom option and have not experienced their public tours). Every time I have used them I have had a large enough group to be able to use the custom option, which can include anything you could reasonably want, but it starts with your private vehicle and itinerary and goes from there. They do offer public tours which are similar, but you are grouped with other people, ride in the same vehicle, and the tour options are predetermined for you.
Blanton’s Gold is a higher proofed version of Blanton’s that is only available in International markets and duty-free outlets (if you are lucky). Truth be told, Blanton’s is my favorite higher end bourbon and pretty much my standard when trying something new. Not necessarily on taste and flavor profile but more along the lines of value and bang for my buck. For example, if I come across a new bourbon that costs $100/bottle, would I rather have a bottle of Blanton’s and a bottle of something else or even a bottle and a half of Blanton’s or would I prefer to spend my money on the new $100 bottle. The Gold version is bottled at 51.5% while the standard version is bottled at 46.5%. The additional 5% makes a huge difference. The bottle is the same, but the label is different. The Gold version has no paper label, and the text is printed in gold directly on the bottle. The Gold version also has a gold colored bottle topper instead of the standard pewter topper that sits on top of the standard release.
This past Monday evening I got to hear Michael Veach speak to the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis. The Bourbon Society of Indianapolis usually meets once a month. Due to our proximity to Kentucky, we have had the opportunity to have some amazing guest speakers in our first year, and this was another opportunity to hear from one of them. It just so happens that this guest is widely regarded as the foremost authority on the history of bourbon.
About five and a half years ago my wife bought me a smoker for my birthday. Sometime before she had brought up the idea to me and I was a bit lukewarm to it. You see, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put the time and effort into another new hobby and have it become a bit of an obsession. Besides, I already had a battle tested Weber that keeps going like a German automobile and that doesn’t even take into account my less than healthy relationship with bourbon and cigars. If you know me, I’m a HUGE carnivore. I LOVE meat. All kinds. Basically, I’m an animal lover. I LOVE eating animals. Healthy or not, I don’t do lots of fruit and vegetables. At least not nearly the amount that I should be eating. I just kind of feel like vegetables are what my food eats.
In all honesty, I chose this bottle for my review submission to be a bit contrarian. I’ve had this bottle on my bar for a while and when I first cracked it I was not a fan of it at all. In fact, I think I’ve only had 2 glasses at most out if it. I know I’ve poured at least that many if not more from it to give to guests because I didn’t care for it. I went into this ready to write a less than favorable review based off of my past memory and experience. If you know me, I don’t care to admit it, but I was wrong. I’m not sure why I didn’t care for this the first few times around but I really enjoyed it now. I remember it being very oaky and I didn’t pick any of that up this time around. The one thing that I can say is that the previous times I tried this, I used one big cube with it, and I HATED it. The last time I tried this bottle, I had not yet purchased my NEAT glasses and I drank it out of a standard rocks glass with one big cube. I’m not sure the NEAT glass was the game changer but I can say the cube was.