This post is the second installment of Bourbon & Banter's recent trip to Kentucky to pick a private barrel of Russell's Reserve at Wild Turkey. Please make sure your read Day 1's post about our visit to Wild Turkey, Castle & Key, and Michter's before reading our Day 2 recap below.
LUX ROW DISTILLERS
Lux Row Distillers is a new distillery, having had their whiskeys contract-distilled for over 40 years. We pulled up on a cloudy day, but the distillery site was still gorgeous. The location is prime bourbon real estate, in Bardstown, Kentucky, and it fits right in with the newer distilleries in Kentucky: rustic, clean and much fancier feeling than places like the close-by Barton 1792 distillery.
We were greeted by the distillery staff very nicely and taken on a tour. Thankfully, our guide caught on that we weren’t first time distillery visitors, and he skipped some of the standard tour info about what a mash bill is. The rickhouse we went into was 6 floors, floor-to-ceiling, of barrels, a really impressive sight! And with the changes in Kentucky laws, just about every distillery now also has a bar; the copper bar at Lux Row wasn’t a disappointment at all. I may pick on the “Restoration Hardware” look that distilleries are all going for, but I have to admit it looks great.
The important part of the visit was waiting on the bar for us, where we got to taste the whole line of Lux Row offerings: Rebel Yell, Ezra Brook, and David Nicholson were tier standard offerings, followed by Blood Oath and Lux Row Distillers Double Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon. While I’m not a fan of the low proof Rebel Yell, the single barrel and 100 proof are really nice, but the Double Barrel was really something! I personally ended up getting a bottle of the Old Ezra Barrel Strength, a 7 year-old Ezra Brooks that’s worth the money, too.
All-in-all, Lux Row is worth a visit, or two, even. Good whiskeys, a gorgeous site, a great location (Bardstown is hard to beat). And you can stop in the bar for a cocktail or a taste.
BARDSTOWN BOURBON COMPANY
Our last stop on the official Bourbon & Banter, 5th Anniversary redo tasting tour was to the Bardstown Bourbon Company, 1500 Parkway Dr, Bardstown, KY 40004. This modern distillery was built to be both an active production operation as well as a guest destination. It combines a metal and glass modern aesthetic with the needs of a functioning contract distillery. From the beginning, it was the intention to distill spirits for their brands, do contract distilling for others, and to create unique collaborations between brands. Having recently doubled its production to 7 million proof gallons per year, it is clear that this business model is working.
Our visit to BBC was intended to be a meeting of minds after there was some disappointment by them regarding Bourbon & Banter reviews of Bardstown Bourbon Company's bourbon releases. During the tour, we were hosted by Sam Montgomery a BBC Manager and were visited during lunch by their President & CEO Mark Erwin.
Part of the attraction of BBC is the elaborate restaurant, with unique menu items and a board offering of Spirits to sample. We had lunch and were not disappointed with the food (the cornbread, is highly recommended). The drinks were good with some unique offerings and the entire meal was at a very relaxed pace. The distillery tour was well set up with the viewing of the process easy to access. After the tour, we went into a rick house for tasting from an experimental barrel (exactly who and what were not disclosed). They have set up a very nice tasting room inside of one of the rick houses (although we did not get a chance to taste any of their products). We did receive a logo rocks glass and appreciate BBC’s hospitality.